Twenty-one randomly selected indie developers walk into a digital room and ponder the question, "Which online distribution system has been the most effective for your games?"
If this were the set-up to a joke, the punchline would probably be, "Facebook." But for many indie developers, the question of which platform to publish their games on is a very serious one, with potentially dire consequences. Pared down, platform success is all about accessibility, upload and support, and in terms of those factors, there's a clear, unsurprising favorite: Steam.
But maybe not for long.
I asked 21 indie developers this question, and while the majority mentioned Steam in the same casual manner that begets an unchallenged king, there were consistent whispers of other platforms doing things well, perhaps even better
than Steam, from a backend perspective. One of these platforms was the Humble Store, which received the second-highest number of solid votes and a handful of positive shout-outs.
"I owe pretty much my entire survival the last few years to iOS, the Humble Store, and to a lesser extent Android and Steam," Adam Saltsman, the creator of Canabalt
, said. But iOS ran into some bad censorship issues, Android had discoverability problems and Steam was "obviously" too closed, he said. If Saltsman could choose just one of those platforms to release his next game on, it would be, "Humble Store," hands-down.