As of the writing of this blog post Steam Marines has a 67% positive rating across 213 user ratings on Steam. On Desura it has a 9.3/10 rating across 37 user reviews.
Steam user ratings are on a binary system of either “Positive” or “Negative” and you must choose one of those two ratings when creating a user review. Desura user ratings allow any integer from 1 to 10. Steam has more units sold versus Desura, but not at a 213:37 ratio (Steam has sold significantly more than ~5.76 times Desura’s units sold.)
The upshot here is that audience matters a lot. A smaller, more understanding or focused audience means better reception, more patient to stick out the beginning of your game, more willing to actually leave a review, and this also translates into willingness to pay a higher price. You should court these players for your core audience.
It should also be noted that some of these core players will be on the larger platforms like Steam as well, they’ll just be surrounded by non-core players. It was something akin to torture to watch the Steam Marines user review score slowly drop as the game sold more and more to people who weren’t really fans of the turn-based tactics genre, or difficult games in general.
That’s okay, though. Steam has refunds now and it should keep your audience more focused and allow for more consumer confidence in general.
It’s stuff to keep in mind as you try to communicate your game to potential players. I won’t make any special commentary about how to convince people, but I will mention that I personally prefer an audience that actually plays and likes my game. It helps cut back on the community building effort as well as the negative reviews.
Thanks for reading,