Triggered by the current steam sale: how do devs feel about years of their hard work being sold for 50, 70, 90% off? Is there some bitterness about it, or just ‘eh, part of the industry’

I don't think the emotion we feel is bitterness so much as it is a bit of sadness. Prices falling is normal and unavoidable. It is unlikely the games I worked on early in my career could be sold for anything today. I have mixed feelings about Steam sales in general.

I think there is a valid and growing concern among game developers that Steam sales are devaluing games as a whole. Instead of finding a great game at a bargain and appreciating it when playing it, Steam Sales have become this seasonal event where players buy a large number of games that they rarely play. The games we buy are just text lines in the library. There's even a pile-of-shame tracker that tells people how many unplayed games they have in their Steam libraries.

What I care about as a game dev is that players enjoy playing the games I worked on. I feel sad when I think about players who may boot the game up for a few minutes, give up, and throw the game away, never getting to see the work I put into it. I feel sad when I think about the amazing games I got to play that were so formative for my career, and how many players today would ignore them since they're old and cheap. I think that's the real tragedy of Steam sales and the like - if it doesn't cost you anything for a game, there's very little reason to invest yourself into it. We ultimately build games for players to enjoy. Steam sales perversely make it both easier for players to see my work and harder for them to actually enjoy it.

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