Our Own Game Website vs Steam

Hi guys, have you ever made your own website to host your games? I mean a website like crazygames.com, gamaverse.com, yandex.com and gamepix.com where people can play for free by watching ads, with optional paid contents, customization and membership.

Is it more lucrative than publishing your games on Steam, App Store and Google Play?

If you can get to the same amount of people, yes, since you don't need to pay steam or an app store a cut.
But in reality on mobile barely anyone runs games not from the play store and on desktop it's hard to get noticed without steam depending on the game.
You could do both and make prices slightly cheaper on the site to get people to there

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Word of warning,

Most websites fail in comparison to steam,

Bethesda for example rerouted to only steam. They gave to all their private customers steam keys for their product and closed down their custom universal distributor. Fans of the games give custom or universal distributors a hard time. Besides steam can detect piracy of games and provides a lot of the services a custom launcher or distributor provides.
But hey don’t take that as gospel! That’s as far as I understood on the topic. Steam is not on the stock market it is relatively secure as a company in its data privacy, management and ownership.

i agree with dev dunk that for many it’s suspicious to download an app for a mobile if it is not from the main stream stores. Though competition is healthy, I wouldn’t want to deter you from trying it if you think it’s a good idea for your specific goal here, to earn ad revenue for free games. Sites like mini clip once existed which in theory could be modified to the same end result. But you are heavily limiting your audience as devdunk says.

but hey I haven’t made a single penny from programming! So don’t take my word for it.

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The question is about making your own game-sharing/game-hosting website, not publishing a game on one of them, right?

It‘s an entirely different business from publishing a game and requires very different skills and priorities!
You can‘t compare apples with oranges, thus I find the question invalid.
Nevertheless it‘s a valid business strategy, perhaps even more plannable than a game‘s release which depends on one product whereas a game hosting website depends on the quality and quantity of the content that attracts and retains gamers and game publishers alike. But it requires paid online ads to get off the ground, and the amount of money that goes into these ads will easily be 5-6 digit figures depending on how fast you want to grow the site.

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Thanks. I just think we should make our game website popular in our local market first, before competing internationally

[quote=“LethalGenes”, post:3, topic: 908770]
Word of warning,

Most websites fail in comparison to steam,

Bethesda for example rerouted to only steam. They gave to all their private customers steam keys for their product and closed down their custom universal distributor. Fans of the games give custom or universal distributors a hard time. Besides steam can detect piracy of games and provides a lot of the services a custom launcher or distributor provides.
But hey don’t take that as gospel! That’s as far as I understood on the topic. Steam is not on the stock market it is relatively secure as a company in its data privacy, management and ownership.

i agree with dev dunk that for many it’s suspicious to download an app for a mobile if it is not from the main stream stores. Though competition is healthy, I wouldn’t want to deter you from trying it if you think it’s a good idea for your specific goal here, to earn ad revenue for free games. Sites like mini clip once existed which in theory could be modified to the same end result. But you are heavily limiting your audience as devdunk says.

but hey I haven’t made a single penny from programming! So don’t take my word for it.
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Thanks for the info. But based on people’s latest comments on social media, Steam can’t detect pirated games installed on their systems?

[quote=“CodeSmile”, post:4, topic: 908770]
The question is about making your own game-sharing/game-hosting website, not publishing a game on one of them, right?

It‘s an entirely different business from publishing a game and requires very different skills and priorities!
You can‘t compare apples with oranges, thus I find the question invalid.
Nevertheless it‘s a valid business strategy, perhaps even more plannable than a game‘s release which depends on one product whereas a game hosting website depends on the quality and quantity of the content that attracts and retains gamers and game publishers alike. But it requires paid online ads to get off the ground, and the amount of money that goes into these ads will easily be 5-6 digit figures depending on how fast you want to grow the site.
[/quote]
Yes. It’s about making our own game-sharing website where people can play for free there, not installing the games on their systems. I agree that the quality and quantity of the contents matter

[quote=“liquify”, post:1, topic: 908770]
Is it more lucrative than publishing your games on Steam, App Store and Google Play?
[/quote]
My only experience with hosting a website with advertising was assisting my dad with a site for articles he wrote and my conclusion was that the bog standard ways of advertising (eg Google AdSense) pay almost nothing. So if you want to go down this rabbit hole be prepared to make very little until you can attract custom ads.

2 Likes

[quote=“Ryiah”, post:8, topic: 908770]
My only experience with hosting a website with advertising was assisting my dad with a site for articles he wrote and my conclusion was that the bog standard ways of advertising (eg Google AdSense) pay almost nothing. So if you want to go down this rabbit hole be prepared to make very little until you can attract custom ads.
[/quote]
Thanks for the info. It does seem a very long way to make a return on investment

Traffic is your main deciding factor

How are you going to get people top come to your website and hand over cash? (or even just play your games)

People pay the Steam and Epic commission rates because ultimately those platforms are directing millions of game players straight to your door. It's not trivial to get them too your game there, and not trivial to get them to buy there - but the amount you would pay Google or Facebook for adverts to get traffic to your own site would be insane

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[quote=“jacksgamedev”, post:10, topic: 908770]
Traffic is your main deciding factor

How are you going to get people top come to your website and hand over cash? (or even just play your games)

People pay the Steam and Epic commission rates because ultimately those platforms are directing millions of game players straight to your door. It’s not trivial to get them too your game there, and not trivial to get them to buy there - but the amount you would pay Google or Facebook for adverts to get traffic to your own site would be insane
[/quote]

steam does not sell advertising space*
It promotes games from its own platform to users that are interested in those genre. Steam profit from sales of your game and nothing else aside it’s internal trading card stock market. A game on steam will be listed new release or EA and over the years it will generate exposure and may or may not naturally become popular.

[quote=“jacksgamedev”, post:10, topic: 908770]
Traffic is your main deciding factor

How are you going to get people top come to your website and hand over cash? (or even just play your games)

People pay the Steam and Epic commission rates because ultimately those platforms are directing millions of game players straight to your door. It’s not trivial to get them too your game there, and not trivial to get them to buy there - but the amount you would pay Google or Facebook for adverts to get traffic to your own site would be insane
[/quote]
Yes. I guess it will take years before the website gets recognized, so the business model isn’t good for someone who wants a quick profit

Steam will give you a lot more exposure than self hosting. I am a huge fan of Steam, both as a developer and as a user. Steam is trusted and used by many millions of people every day. While I am typing this message, 21.5 million people are connected to Steam. The peak earlier this month was 33 million people. It would be extremely difficult to generate enough traffic through self hosting to somehow rival Steam's level of exposure.

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[quote=“liquify”, post:12, topic: 908770]
Yes. I guess it will take years before the website gets recognized, so the business model isn’t good for someone who wants a quick profit
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It would take years in best case. Worst case it would simply not happen at all. Most websites get very little traffic. Steam has lots of traffic already, so you just need to focus on making an awesome game. If you self host, you still have to try to make a great game, but you would also need to build a great website. My advice would be to use Steam and simply focus on making your game.

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[quote=“ShilohGames”, post:14, topic: 908770]
It would take years in best case. Worst case it would simply not happen at all. Most websites get very little traffic. Steam has lots of traffic already, so you just need to focus on making an awesome game. If you self host, you still have to try to make a great game, but you would also need to build a great website. My advice would be to use Steam and simply focus on making your game.
[/quote]
Thanks for the advice. I think I will publish a game on Steam first, then make my own website if my game gets buried under other games of the same genre. Hopefully removing a game from Steam will not be a complicated process

Dear liquify, Just a 2 cents. TL DR: Some did and it worked (but very few...most devs make nothing outside Steam on their websites direct-selling); it's almost (today) a Necessity/forced/you have not much choice but sell there (if you seek a financial return out of your game/doing it as a business making games).

From what I gathered, it is not more lucrative (in general) and some devs who sold their outside steam saw little or no return. It was more profitable releasing on steam, than Off of steam. There are others like itch io, but there the 'purchasing'/'selling potential'/'audience number' much lower; devs said, in general, that on itch.io it was 1/10th the Steam sales, it matches roughly the audience numbers difference between the two websites. It's not so much the audience numbers it's the 'Purchasers' numbers; people that Actually Purchase/Convert into Purchase(r)s. You can have a (wish) list of 100,000 people; but if only 100 people out of them, actually, buy the game that is poor quality wish list/poor conversion to purchaser. It's better to have a smaller 1000 wishlist, and 500 people buy your game out of that 1000 (instead of 100 people out of 100,000). That, is Higher Quality Wishlist. So it's not just 'wishlist number', it's
Quality of wishlist (conversion to buyer/conversion-to-buy %ratio) that matters too/more.

As other said, there are extra-costs to maintaining a website of your own to sell your game (albeit Paypal is 5% cost, while Steam is 30% cost of your game's revenue; but Steam takes care of all the billing thing...it depends if you feel it is worth the services they offer you vs the cost they ask; for some, it's not, and prefer doing it on their own website).
And, as others stated, the fact that Giant game devs/publishers like EA are not selling their games through their own platforms...but through Steam...is demonstrative that selling your game outside Steam is seen a bit 'suicidal'...in the sense, that you are in 'barren/empty land'...with your 'unknown website' that no one will come to. Steam has 150 million user base, that's an immense audience potential, right ther on website. With your website, you have to make them come. That'S extremely hard to make people come to 'off-steam' website to sell a game. People only/mostly only go to Steam, Gog, itch io, epic and that's about it. You must (As others said) Market it, with ads, or you know find a way to market to as many eyeballs - so that people Know your website Exists (to care/to come).

More there are other Very important things...why they will come (or not), besides the marketing of it.
And that,S the Quality of it, the Exection of your game....like if it's polished/high-quality..like a AAA game. And that the audience cares/likes your game -- but specifically -- Wants your game. So, the 'wanting potential'.

If your audience (the targeted one for your game) is not interested in your game, do not want it...
almost, certain, it's pointless to do this off-steam -> you will sell nothing/almost nothing.
It will be even Worse..than selling on Steam (even if the results would be atrocious on Steam...they (nearly/assuredly) would still be better..than on your off-steam 'direct' website to buy your game there; where there they would be nill).

As others said, 'making the traffic come' is hard...on an unknown/obscure website by an obscure indie dev.
Don't trust -> no buy.
Some say: ''No Steam?..No buy.''.
It's that dire with some peolpe, it's Steam -- or nothing else. Which is extreme/ultimatumist about it; but, that'S how they feel -- they don'T want to 'spread' over 15 different websites/game launchers/platforms...they wish to stick to 2-3 ot so;;; so that means, Steam, Xbox, PSN, and maybe Epic....and, that's all she wrote home about/..that's about it.

I also think that 'F2P' games can be good/bad...like good for being free (F2P) but bad because they may think your f2p game/is obscure and like not worth bothering/or is crap...in essence...the fact your are Off Steam...reduces the trust and 'belief' in your game...Steam is like a sort trust booster and 'credibility' of your game -- because, you, are -On- Steam...the only reason. Like, there may be a certain : ''Not on Steam?...Don't Exist...''...in essence, if your game is not on steam they may literraly think your game is non-existent/not-worth-bothering -- Even IF - they know it does exist. Their mind - is made....your game does not exist (in their mind). Because -> not on steam.
No Steam -> Non-existence.

2 games tried so...and did actually well...One Hour One Life and Escape from Tarkov...both these games sold decently well (they are both indie games...high quality) they were sold Off of steam..on their websites. One Hour One Life sold about 20,000 copies while Escape from Tarkov sold 200,000 copies (that was a few years ago..I would say now it'S close to 500,000 copies); they decided to skip Steam. And it worked for them.

Mostly, because, of 'Wanting Potential' of their games...gamers Wanted tehir games...and Of Course..tehy both did Marketing to Attract the players to Their Website....and buy it there. So, It is combination of having an Excellent Game + Wanting Potential Audience/They want your game + Reputation (this is not mandatory..but helps).

Both these devs had experience and were 'known'..not really 'obscure' devs...so it helped a bit -- they foudn the audience real quick because audience 'knew them'....already. So that helps a lot too.

But it's not the entire equation...you may be Unknown to the audience..you just must become Known that Showing your game...and let your game speak of itself. They will Want your game -- or not.And if they Want your Game (reallly) many of them Will be willing to 'make an exception' of 'going on an obscure website to download it/buy it/skip Steam'...
for 'this game' specifically. So people are not Necessarily going to refuse (Well not Everybody) you just because you did not release on Steam. IF you have a Great Game that people (Really) Want...trust me, there will be people, willing and they will accept this 'small concession' (of having to get your game outside steam..) because they really want it.
So, no, selling your game outside Steam is not a Total 'arrest' to selling your game. butyou Absolutely Need your game to be Wanted (thus, be Excellent in its execution and that people like the genre, graphics, gameplay...etc..that game...they want it and willing to pay for it and Even Willing to Go Buy It -- Off of steam).

Thank you for reading.
Just a 2 cents.

PS: I wrestled with that too...I may do it too it's that I fear that if you sell your game on Steam...and it has 0 traction and people think it sckks and is not worth it....it's almost as if now your option of seelling 'outside Steam' 'as plan B'..is over and out...because if no one bought anythingo n Steam...it's a clear indicator...that most likely no one will buy your game...off Steam also. I.e. Starting - with the 'off steam' approach allows you to go to Steam - Later; this door is more open even if you sell nothing on your website..like the next step.. but if you Start with Steam..and it does not work.. it's over. about 'selling your game in big numbers of copies sold'. Because, you could say, Steam is a quite good 'pulse' of what gamers think (in general) not all audiences are the same of course; but, the purchasing potential on steam is probably a good revelator/indicator...of things 'outside' Steam. Offsite -> Steam -> Epic -> Consoles...somethingl like that; there is no 'one' way to go about it and it not necessarily a 1,2,3 step fashion...you might do 2-things or more at the same time; like, literally Release the game on All these platforms - all at the same time (same-time 'multi-release').

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[quote=“unitedone3D”, post:16, topic: 908770]
Dear liquify, Just a 2 cents. TL DR: Some did and it worked (but very few…most devs make nothing outside Steam on their websites direct-selling); it’s almost (today) a Necessity/forced/you have not much choice but sell there (if you seek a financial return out of your game/doing it as a business making games).
[/quote]
Thanks for the detailed answer and info about One Hour One Life/ Escape from Tarkov

To prevent the game being buried by others of the same genre for example Anime games,

Putting your game on sale frequently may help to bump it up the list. Other devs will also live stream their games on steam. I know this although I had never sold a product on steam, I have the ownership and right to sell a product on steam I am simply indeterminate with what I want that product to be. O.o

So good luck on your journey! Many company for example Sid Meier Civilization use steam to flag people towards their own launchers! But they get so much grief about it.

company such as Blizzard are not on steam! They are Exclusively on their own platform! But although they are a classic gaming company, they have had that advantage for a while based on the era when they began to make games, and the popularity of the few games they made. So it is not impossible if you did not want dependence on anybody else! Your original goal is still not off the cards! But in the modern day it’s probably a rickety ricket to get there in comparison to our developer ancestors.

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[quote=“LethalGenes”, post:18, topic: 908770]
To prevent the game being buried by others of the same genre for example Anime games,

Putting your game on sale frequently may help to bump it up the list. Other devs will also live stream their games on steam. I know this although I had never sold a product on steam, I have the ownership and right to sell a product on steam I am simply indeterminate with what I want that product to be. :eyes:
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Frequent discounts and live-streaming to promote the games on Steam seem to be a very good tactic. Thank you

[quote=“liquify”, post:15, topic: 908770]
Thanks for the advice. I think I will publish a game on Steam first, then make my own website if my game gets buried under other games of the same genre. Hopefully removing a game from Steam will not be a complicated process
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With Steam, you will make some money from your back catalog during sales, even if it has been out for a while. It would be silly to plan to get your game removed from Steam. I would recommend focusing on Steam. If you really think you can drive a lot of traffic with your website, then link to your Steam page from your website. People trust Steam a lot more than a random unknown website.

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