Within the team, carefully considering the results of the poll we ran in October, we have come to the conclusion to keep the separate game launcher alongside the Steam implementation of Automation with some limitations. While the Steam implementation of the game will be complete, we choose to not implement multiplayer into the stand-alone launcher. This can be considered a half-measure between the options initially proposed.
In this post we would like to give you some more background information on how this decision was formed. The outcome of the poll, in which 888 votes were cast was:
81.532% (724) Steam Only
11.712% (104) Steam Only (Inconvenient)
6.757% (60) Stand-Alone Only
This result was somewhat surprising to us as we would have expected around 90% pure “Steam Only”. We do have to assume that these numbers are representative of our player base and thus can be scaled to the ~12k copies sold. Expressed in scaled numbers we would be looking at the following:
9784 +/- 364 Steam Only
1405 +/- 138 Steam Only (Inconvenient)
811 +/- 105 Stand-Alone Only
[size=120]Discussion on Multiplayer[/size]
As a small developer we definitely cannot afford to leave some 800 paying customers in the dust and we would not be able to pay for that many refunds either. Developing a full stand-alone game comes with a huge amount of added effort and would significantly hurt the development progress. Considering the multiplayer part of the game stands for most of this additional effort required and only few players ever touch multiplayer modes, a no-multiplayer stand-alone version is the best possible solution in our opinion.
This statement about multiplayer may seem confusing. Indeed the title Demigod by Gas Powered Games could be considered a multiplayer-only title, and only 23% of its player base ever even tried logging in to their servers. On a similar note, Chris Taylor mentioned in an interview, that only about 10% of Supreme Commander players ever touched their multiplayer modes. Both Demigod and Supreme Commander, although different genres, can be considered much more tailored to the multiplayer experience than Automation ever will be. Taking the 10% figure as an upper limit estimate for Automation thus seems reasonable. In addition to that, people voicing their concerns with Steam in our discussion thread, on average were not interested in the social component of the game.
Piecing this together would mean a maximum of some odd 80 people having to sacrifice a potential multiplayer option by not switching over to Steam, which of course they are free to do like everyone else. This is unfortunate, but in the big picture we think this definitely is the best decision for Automation in the short and long run. Everyone owning a copy of Automation will be able to convert their game key to a Steam key for Automation for free.
We hope that closer to ~99% of our existing players agree with this decision and that the above discussion was insightful. We are very much looking forward to getting Automation onto Steam in the next few months.
The Automation Dev-Team