Kongregate has announced plans to launch its own indie-focused PC games platform, Kartridge, launching this summer.
The online hub is taking cues from Kongregate’s existing flash portal, and will be encouraging social interactivity, in addition to an achievement system which will allow players to earn discounts or special deals for earning achievements.
Kongregate launched in 2006 as an advertising revenue-based browser game website for flash games, although with the depreciation of flash has come to embrace all mobile games. It launched on mobile in 2013. With the launch of Kartridge, the company is taking aim at the paid indie space.
Speaking to Polygon, CEO Emily Greer said that Kongregate already has experience with the "content glut" that is causing discoverability issues on digital storefronts. "We have 120,000 games on Kongregate," Greer says. "We know how to make sure the right games bubble to the top."
Greer also mentioned that the initial plan is for that 100 per cent of the revenue for the first $10,000 will go to the developer, if the game is uploaded before October 31, 2018. After that, Kartridge will take 30 per cent.
There are also no upload fees or a manual approval system currently planned for the system.
Is this enough to entice indies to spend the time learning to use the platform, upload their games and continuing to support them? We spoke to Alan Hazelden, the developer of several puzzle titles, including A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build and Cosmic Express.
"I’ve thought for a while that Valve’s 30% cut of all Steam sales is much higher than they deserve, relative to the value they’re providing to most developers." said Hazelden.
"Most games get almost no visibility on Steam, but Valve takes their 30% cut regardless of whether someone saw your game on the front page of Steam or whether they came from your website."
Hazelden points out that 30% of $10,000 adds up to $3,000. "To Valve that’s literally insignificant, to a big company that’s the cost of employing one employee for one week, but to a solo developer that’s months of rent."
"I’m lucky to be stable enough that this kind of money isn’t the difference between continuing to make games or having to get a day job, but I know a lot of developers for whom this would make a big difference.".
Hazelden mentions that Kartridge aren’t the first platform to offer this sort of revenue model. Indie games platform Itch.io, which recently celebrated its fifth birthday, has long offered the choice to choose which percentage of your income goes to the platform.
"It’s a laudable move to recognise that not all games are equally supported by your platform," Hazelden adds. "I hope that Valve will one day introduce their own tiered royalty system – I wouldn’t expect them to ever offer 0%, but they could reduce their cut to 10% for all games making less than $100,000 and it would barely make a dent in their profits."