Gun Monkeys Fighting Obscurity With Free Steam Codes

August 27, 2013 - E. Zachary Knight

While many indie developers are struggling to find a way to deal with the problem of piracy, there is yet another equally big problem for them, obscurity. As big a problem as piracy is, it does have one thing going for it that obscurity doesn't, people actually playing the game. It is this lack of people playing that has resulted in Gun Monkeys creator Size Five Games to take a novel approach to combating it.

You see, Gun Monkeys is an online multiplayer game. It requires people to be online playing together in order to be fun. Unfortunately, not very many people were online with it which resulted in a ton of potential players being stuck in the waiting room for other people to play with.

“It’s a unique solution to a frustrating situation”, typed Size Five Games’ Dan Marshall. “Despite universally positive reviews, Gun Monkeys just hasn’t sold enough to keep servers perpetually-buzzing with players. It’s infuriating, but the important thing to do now is to make sure the people who have bought the game can enjoy it as intended.”

So what did Size Five do? They decided to give away free Steam codes if a player waits too long for someone to play with. That's right. If you can't find anyone to play with, you will get a free Steam code to give to friend so that they can get the game and play with you.

"As of the most recent update, if you’re sitting on an empty server for a few minutes, and no one comes along to play against, the game will now fling you a free Steam key for you to gift to a chum."

The goal is to get more people playing the game which in turns would increase word of mouth and result in more sales. And it seems to be working too. This update has been published in a number of media outlets (including us) and is spreading fast. 

We wish Size Five Games all the best of luck in this experiment in battling obscurity and wish all those playing Gun Monkeys lots of fun. 


Comments

Re: Gun Monkeys Fighting Obscurity With Free Steam Codes

Neat.  I like their method of distributing the codes, too.  They don't just spam a game site or something, they give them out one by one to people who can sing their praises to friends and family.  Interesting idea, I'm curious to see how it works out for them.

Re: Gun Monkeys Fighting Obscurity With Free Steam Codes

Indie + Multiplayer just means that the game is probably either dead from the start or within months if not weeks.

Don't know why still so many multiplayer only indie games pop up. I'd say the best way to revive the game (for a few days at least) would be a sale.

Re: Gun Monkeys Fighting Obscurity With Free Steam Codes

I'd say the best way to revive the game (for a few days at least) would be a sale.

You don't consider free Steam Codes on a similar level as a sale?

Re: Gun Monkeys Fighting Obscurity With Free Steam Codes

Not really. A sale will cause people to buy it within a short time frame of like 2 days. Quite a few of them of them will start playing right away. So we have a hundred (maybe even hundreds) people playing this game within 2 days.

All of them will likely find a server with other people on it. Everyone will have fun and the developer will earn some money.

For a short while at least before people lose interest (again).

While the code method probably won't nearly cause such an influx of new players.

There might be a more constant (though much lower) influx of new players for a longer period of time. But those people will probably just notice that there aren't many (or any) other people playing. So they could lose interest pretty fast. That is if they even start playing right away (or at all). They didn't pay anything for that code so they might as well not bother too much.

Sure, they might get a code to. But then the above just repeats. And the developer earns nothing from it.

Also there are a ton multiplayer only games which are basically dead (not only indies) with player numbers from 0 to 10. No sale or bundle could revive them for a longer period of time.

 

To name a few:

Lead and Gold

Plain Sight

Multiwinia

Altitude

Nexuiz

Zero Gear

Serious Sam (all of them)

The Ship (they gave away free copies like crazy)

Bloody Good Time

Shattered Horizon

Foreign Legion - Multi Massacre

 

And I didn't even go halfway through my steam library...

So what makes this game different from the others above? If it was exceptional than it wouldn't have problems with empty servers.

Doesn't mean that it's bad. It just didn't manage to get enough attention and probably never will.

And the next soon to be dead multiplayer only games are already around the corner. There are always new ones around the corner.

It's sadly a lot of effort getting wasted.

 
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