View Full Version : Playdates and Gift-Giving: Populating indy games with social incentives

08-04-2011, 02:05 AM
My suggestion is that Valve should offer a daily, weekly or even hourly incentivized play time for underpopulated indy games. The incentive could be anything from free and full temporary access of the "Playdate" games to a new type of Steam currency that hasn't yet been created. This new currency could be something that would allow the purchase of smaller indy games or maybe the addition of small amounts of funds to the Steam Wallet that would encourage, or be limited to, micro-transactions such as hats/actions/DLC's.

The currency could be literally anything resembling a "rewards program" that works well for several retailers already: coupons for percentage or flat discounts on large or gift purchases, free indy DLC such as those showcased during the summer sale, or even a special "steam favored" account that would encourage people to gift your account by discounting games sent as a gift to the favored user. You could even have a "Gift Wallet" which can only be used to gift other people approved games. Which brings me to another social tie-in to gift giving: gifting games should be discounted if purchased near Christmas and/or Birthdays of receiving accounts. This would help attract gamers that aren't yet drawn to the Steam Wallet or gifting, but still use Steam for digital distribution.

This would be a great idea because I know several people would love to re-experience the limited time day-to-day excitement that entranced me during the summer sale. If Valve combines this sense of passion from limited time offers with the social need to reciprocate gifts, users could have an environment where they constantly enjoy the games they want to play and also connect to the steam user base on a grand scale. I fondly remember trying to log in every day to see if a game that I liked was going on sale, and I definitely spent more money on limited offers than I ever would have at common retail prices. I didn't feel punished or left behind if I happened to miss a day and I also didn't mind spending a little bit more if it meant one of my friends got to play a game I loved that they had on their wish list.

My other reason for suggesting this is it would allow gamers to enjoy well-designed but underpopulated indy games in a proper multiplayer experience that they prefer to play in. I'd love to see a more extensive reward system come out of the free-to-play model that has worked so well for TF2 while at the same time encouraging gamers to try out new games they haven't yet played. It would encourage entire communities to play diverse games which does well to avoid burnout and they would be playing to progress towards a worthwhile goal that they actually want, is actually attainable, and is entirely customized to the individual gamer in each community. This could entice a large amount of achievement-driven gamers and communities to the Steam Wallet and possibly gift-giving.

At the same time, abuse of the incentive based rewards could be thwarted by implementing a birthday lock which only allows you to fix your birthday once a year and a miniaturized VAC-ban that detects if you are botting the indy games and bans all contributions towards your Steam Wallet or the Steam Currency. The backlash from either of these countermeasures would be negligible in the face of of the sales, playtime, and exposure that you would earn by the legitimate community of gamers.

After seeing a thread on reddit which lead to a sub-reddit of members trying to perform a repopulation of indy games I decided the best people to foster this idea would be Valve.

Thanks for reading and give me your feedback!