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Blitz Games: Sell Through Steam, Or 'You're Nowhere'

Blitz Games Studios is to close Blitz 1UP, the initiative originally set-up to help small devs bring their games to market, as it believes that good sales can only be achieved through Valve's Steam platform.
Blitz Games Studios is to close Blitz 1UP, the initiative originally set up to help small devs bring their games to market, as it believes that good sales can only be achieved through Valve's Steam platform. Talking to news site Develop, Blitz 1UP producer Neil Holmes explained that the online distribution market has now changed, and that the way games portals now work has led to 1UP's closure. "What’s changed is that the market seems to have shifted quite a lot in the way games are sold," he noted. "Two years ago you could go through all of the portals and you could get business in all those portals." "Now, if you go through Steam you can get good sales, and that’s about it; if you go through anywhere else you’re nowhere," he admitted. Holmes also cited various shifts made by online casual game portal Big Fish Games as a reason for 1UP's demise, including numerous price drops by the company. "After Big Fish [dropped its prices], everybody else panicked and followed suit. Prices dropped and portals started being far more picky about the kind of titles they were taking; so, for example, a portal would decide they were only going to do hidden object games, or just casual or just going to do core titles. So the whole thing got much more confused." "There’s not really a sustainable business model today for a lot of the indie studios," he continued, "which is such a shame because there’s really so much creativity and so much great stuff that is in that area that just isn’t being seen and isn’t getting the exposure it should." "It almost feels as if it’s an afterthought for most of the portals. They like the idea of indie gaming, but perhaps because they know the numbers aren’t necessarily there, there’s not a marketing spend behind them." Blitz 1UP will continue to support its current projects, eventually closing down fully in mid 2012. However, Blitz Games Studio is currently funding a brand new indies-only distribution website called IndieCity that is set to launch in the coming months. Talking to Gamasutra last month, IndieCity co-founder Chris Swan explained, "While the Blitz 1UP program provided a lot of services to developers, it distributed through the standard channels (i.e. Steam, Direct2Drive, Stardock Impulse, BigFish Games etc), and the overall sales were disappointing." "We wanted to do something that really celebrated the diversity and creativity that indie games have to offer, and ignore the generic mainstream behemoths."

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