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After 200K Steam sales, devs abandon unfinished game

by Mark Tyson on 8 May 2014, 11:03

Tags: Valve, PC

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A new report highlights two game development projects which have gone awry on Valve's Steam platform recently. What happens if you buy a Steam game and it is full of bugs, incomplete and then abandoned before it's fixed? Read on for a couple of different examples.

Towns

The Verge reports on 'Towns', a game which was "woefully incomplete" and never really fixed to anyone's satisfaction, being abandoned by its developers. This wasn't a Steam Early Access game "but it may as well have been," writes Sean Hollister on The Verge, highlighting the game's unfinished nature.

Towns arrived on Steam late in 2012 and promised a gaming experience with a mix of Diablo and Dungeon Keeper style gameplay with town building. Buyers were reportedly very unhappy with the game's quality yet fixes and improvements were promised and over 200,000 copies of Towns were sold at $15 each.

This February the lead developer on Towns quit as he was "so burned". His replacement has now also quit as there are so few sales of Towns it's not really paying the rent… Unsurprisingly the game sales were falling rapidly due to the Steam community disappointment. Now there doesn't look like much hope for existing Towns gamers in terms of polishing and fixing their game – however both of these deserting developers are pondering a possible sequel, Towns 2.

Earth: Year 2066

This game was marketed as an incomplete game in the Steam Early Access channel. So at least that was right. However the game was similarly "amateurish, ugly and broken," reports Polygon.

Killing Day Studios, the developers of Earth: Year 2066, have worked in various unprofessional ways and, luckily for these Early Access game buyers, Valve has decided to issue a refund to those that forked out the $19.99 asking price.

Killing Day Studios has been accused to purloining other people's artwork, deleting negative feedback comments and even creating various new accounts to drum up fake positive feedback. Contacting this developer is apparently not possible and it doesn't even have a website.

Valve wrote that Steam "does require honesty from developers in the marketing of their games," and thus Earth: Year 2066 has been removed from sale. People who bought the game can get a refund on until Monday 19th May via a 'Refund' button on the store page or in their account transactions page.



HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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I'm surprised it's only 2 titles.

The push towards indy studios and kickstarter projects meant this was bound to happen….You just got to take the rough with the smooth.
shaithis
I'm surprised it's only 2 titles.

The push towards indy studios and kickstarter projects meant this was bound to happen….You just got to take the rough with the smooth.

Pretty much.
Most games that are released are pretty terrible (just watch the Yogscast Trucking Tuesday, or read Chris Livingston's reviews of game demos), but people just roll with it and, for the most part, don't buy them.
Obviously trying to get themselves added to the ‘Crap Towns’ series.

This happens on Google Play, iTunes, and Windows Store. Its only inevitable it happens on Steam. But at least they have been open about it and offered refunds which can only keep confidence levels higher than trying to say well you agreed to the terms of purchase.
This is also the problem with early access. You spend your money on an unfinished product, with no guarantee that you'll ever get a finished product.

My beef with the Towns devs is that (if the numbers are correct) they sold 200,000 copies at $15 each = $3m. Three frickin' million. How could that cover the rent!? They made their money and done a runner with it.