Beefy: Super Meat Boy PC Outsells 360

By John Walker on March 1st, 2011 at 5:01 pm.

Come home to the PC. We forgive you.

Last night at GDC, Team Meat took the stage to let out some of the frustrations that accompanied releasing Super Meat Boy. And those frustrations were Microsoft. Seemingly screwed over on a number of occasions, the independent dev team did not receive the promotion they were promised in return for the month-long XBLA exclusivity. Eurogamer have all the details about this screwery here. But there’s another aspect to this story. During the talk they also revealed that the game had the majority of its sales on the PC, despite the 360′s month-long head start.

The ratio of the fantastic 400,000 sales is 55:45, in favour of the PC. It may not seem an overwhelming majority, but the crucial information is that this is after the game had already been on sale for a month. And while Microsoft may not have given the game the promotion they had said they would, the game was certainly all over the internet at the time. Very high review scores from 360 outlets, and a lot of buzz, meant the indie game received perhaps even higher than usual publicity. And it was after all that, after the period during which publishers will argue the majority of their sales occur, that the PC sales started.

Its PC launch was muted too. A fraction of the giant fanfare occurred this time, the excitement at countdown clocks and Twitter buzz having all been spent a month previously. And yet, despite this, it clocked 220,000 sales on the PC, outdoing the 180,000 seen on the Xbox.

It says a lot about the PC as a space for indie developers. Microsoft has been putting some effort into trying to monetise that niche, XBLA having presented itself as a home for burgeoning developers. If the experience of Team Meat is repeated elsewhere, it may not be quite the hallowed turf some thought. Whereas the PC remains the only free format – truly free. Certainly signing up to Steam or others puts some restrictions on you, but that’s your choice, and none locks you into exclusivity. And with a potential for sales of that scale, even in a market that’s already lost a significant chunk to those who bought it on their console, it does ask a big question about the advantages of the format exclusivity forced upon developers if they want to see a prominent place on their Indie Arcade. The PC is your home, indies.

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67 Comments »

  1. Linfosoma says:

    Good for them! i picked the game on Steam and loved it, I should go back and try to finish it.

  2. frags says:

    Keyboard VS gamepad. Keyboard wins!

    • Eclipse says:

      Even if it was a pun I think that a keyboard is much more accurate for 2d platformers than a gamepad, as analog sticks aren’t useful (there are no analog movements) :P It’s especially true with xbox 360 pads, ad the d-pad is a piece of crap

    • LoveIsGood says:

      The game actually works better with a gamepad, than a keyboard. You need tight precision with the controls and while keyboard keys work with most everything. The precision required just doesn’t work as well with the long throws of keyboard keys compared to a short throw on a gamepad’s d-pad and buttons. I own it for PC by the way and have a Saitek gamepad at my side. The controller really shines in certain games over a keyboard.

    • Fumarole says:

      More like:

      Keyboard and/or Gamepad vs. Gamepad

      That’s one of the strengths of the PC after all.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      Without getting into argument wank, I found myself doing much better once I switched to a game-pad.

    • 8-bit says:

      I also did better when I switched to a gamepad, but then my opinion has always been d-pad > everything else as far as platformers go. A good d-pad is hard to find in a controller nowadays though since they all seem to copy the xbox pad, even the one I use is ok but not ideal.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I play it on my 360 streetfighter pad. Yeah analog sticks are pretty terrible for controlling Meat Boy, but I’ve found a decent Dpad is by far the most comfortable way to play. Especially as it allows me to play the game in bed, on my 32 inch rather than my piddly desktop monitor.

    • Navagon says:

      Well yeah, you may be better off with a controller. But if we’re honest here that’s partly due to the fact that when it comes to keyboards most of you poor slags use WASD these days.

    • Xercies says:

      For some reason on the keyboard the jump butten is really very innacurate but on a gamebad you never have that problem. Actually the keys for it I would say are better then a gamepad…the D-pad for the Xbox 360 i find very horrible to use in any game.

    • Waltorious says:

      Gentlemen, gentlemen! Let us not start the keyboard vs. gamepad debate yet again. If you like the keyboard, use it, and if you like the gamepad, use that. The great thing about the PC is that you can pick which one you want.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      Well, I played it with an xbox 360 controller on my pc…

      Let’s just say that a €5 steam sale > €15 on xbox :)

    • Barnaby says:

      I’m in the process of buying a PS2 controller to USB converter so I can play this with a different controller. The 360 controller is god awful and hurts my hands after about 2 minutes of playing. The game can get very button mashy and being able to restart levels so fast means you are furiously button mashing almost constantly. I really enjoy this game, and it is indeed better with a controller.

      The mouse/keyboard is better argument is mainly for FPS games. I have no qualms with saying that racing/fighting/adventure games feel better with a controller (for the most part).

    • enshak says:

      D pad is definitly better, but team meat owe me for a keyboard and a 10 year old logitech pad after the jump button was destoyed on both of them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Barnaby I thoroughly recommend a PS2 gamepad to USB convertor if you have PS2 pads around. I use my old PS2 gamepad for games such as Super Meat Boy, Spelunky, Geometry Wars etc. For those type of “arcadey” action games it’s the bees knees. The responsiveness is perfect but I have been using Sony’s gamepads since they launched in 1996 so I my hands may simply be too used to them by now over the 3 generations & 15 intervening years.

  3. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    How many monies did it sell for on the respective platforms? That might influence.

    Still, hope they made many monies on both.

    • The Bag says:

      Exactly, it’s a consistant price on the 360 whereas many of the PC copies will have been sold via the Steam sale.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      In response to such, ahem, remarks, Team Meat also said:
      http://twitter.com/SuperMeatBoy/status/42363029123371008
      Yeah but it also out grossed. Before the Xmas sale we had made as much in those 2 weeks as we did on XBLA.

    • The Bag says:

      @Al3xand3r, cool. Good for them. Would have been nice to have that info in the original article.

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      shoptroll says:

      Oh wow. Was going to ask how much the Steam sale factored into this. Very good news!

  4. Eclipse says:

    and I think new levels and the level editor are coming to PC this month

  5. Mehall says:

    I bought it Steam!

    And Xbox

    and bought a stress ball……

    and the signed soundtrack….

    I may be obsessed.
    I CAN’T EVEN FINISH THE LAST LEVEL D:

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      THE LAST LEVEL

      Which one? The last boss isn’t too hard, it just takes a lot of persistence to figure out the best course through the level. The last bit of “Four Letter Word”, however, is legitimately impossible. I mean, I’ve seen videos of people doing it. But I cannot for the life of me figure out the correct timing of those little jumps.

      And don’t get me started on the dark world, glitch levels, etc. I’ve played 40 hours and I’m only 70% complete, with little hope of progressing any further…

    • enshak says:

      I feel for you. It’s possible just very hard to reach the end under 45s in fact that level is harder than it’s dark world equivalent.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Mr Pink says:

    I can’t help but wonder whether its appearance in the steam sale at a heavy discount mere weeks after launch is a factor here…

    (not that this isn’t good news of course, go PC!)

  7. HexagonalBolts says:

    Microsoft is like a vast fat dragon, so slow to turn around and face new markets, grown sluggish safe from knights in its comfortable lair of monopoly.

    Why have they not really, massively, seriously, geared up games for windows live? Why not create a version that emphasises the individual strengths of the PC and those at the forefront of the market – Indie gaming, mods, free to play gaming, social gaming? There’s a niche screaming to be filled and a behemoth of a company with all the potential and riches in the world, and nothing being done about it.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Whilst it might be true to say that Microsoft is like a big fat dragon, that big fat dragon is made up of many littler dragons, all of whom are constantly fighting each other to be a bigger part of the big fat dragon. It’s like dragon Transformers, except they only help each other because none of them can figure out how to eat each other.

      The PC gaming part of Microsoft is a teeny tiny dragon compared to the rest of it, so it constantly has to jump around to avoid being eaten, which means it doesn’t get time to spend much time breathing fire at it’s customers.

      Yeah, I lost the analogy a bit at the end.

    • cjlr says:

      metaphorgotten: the greatest rhetorical device of all time.

    • Pantsman says:

      That sounds more like Dragon Voltron, actually.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      That’s what I meant. Apparently I lost the analogy at the start, too.

      I’m old. Leave me alone.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      drewski: Nice analogy!

  8. Mephisto says:

    Picked it up for £3.00 in the Christmas Steam sale. Would have been rude not to.

  9. Premium User Badge

    RaveTurned says:

    Is this anything to do with the Steam Christmas sale where SMB cost about £3ish? I don’t know if XBLA has any similar deals. Also IIRC the PC version had extra content – is it possible that some XBox owning fans might have rebought the game on PC because of this?

    • Jesse L says:

      XBLA will feature deals, but only rarely and usually only on high-profile items. Recently some Borderlands and Red Dead Redemption DLC went on sale, 50% off. That was just for a week though. Now they’re up at full price again. The Oblivion Horse Armor pack still costs about $3.

      Sales for PC games are incomparable.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      In response to such, ahem, remarks, Team Meat also said:
      http://twitter.com/SuperMeatBoy/status/42363029123371008
      Yeah but it also out grossed. Before the Xmas sale we had made as much in those 2 weeks as we did on XBLA.

      Outside that I’m pretty sure it had a first day type sale on 360 as well, and has had free downloadable content on the 360.

    • Premium User Badge

      mcnostril says:

      That’s what I was wondering.
      I don’t think I would’ve purchased it at its regular price (well, I would have had I known how brilliant it is, but I wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t purchased it. VICIOUS CIRCLE), and for most of my friends this was pretty much just an impulse buy.

  10. eightbitrobot says:

    Good to hear!

  11. skudfisher says:

    As someone who is working on an indie game in XNA right now I find this really interesting. When we started the project we felt like the 360 should be our main focus but as time has gone on I’m starting to think more and more than we should concentrate on PC and try to go through Steam.

    • Nahual says:

      While i don’t think there’s anything wrong with a multi platform release for indies, they do better on PC more often than they do on consoles. This has been going for a while too, look at Audiosuft for instance, dude became millionaire overnight.

  12. catmorbid says:

    I feel a little bit like wanting to buy this from steam, just so I can show the finger to microsoft’s face, but sadly platformers aren’t really my cup of tea, and the price tag is too much for my non-existing budget, in order for me to just support them. But I can promise this: I won’t pirate it! =)

  13. Eightball says:

    Another victory in the long war.

    o7 PC master race

  14. Jesse L says:

    Also, to buy anything on XBox Live you need to buy ‘Microsoft Points’ funny money first, 80 points to the $1 USD, the idea being, as with all funny money, to make the consumer somehow think they’re paying less than they are. And of course you can only buy Microsoft Points in Microsoft-approved chunks: 400 points, 800 points, etc.

    Blah blah blah, what I mean is I can’t buy Super Meat Boy on XBox outright, I have to buy a chunk of points worth more than the price of the game, thereby leaving me with leftover credit on Live. I hate being jerked around that way, so I when I have the choice, I buy on PC.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    I think it may have something to do with the PC gamer crowd generally being older, thus more old-school and likely to have played platformers when it was the hot shit. I can imagine many younger console gamers going…’what, 2D side-scrolling platformer? LAME’.

    Personally however, I hated SMB with a vengeance. I thought it was badly designed and finished it on sheer willpower. I still get physically sick when I think of how bad it was.

    It all culminated in the final level. SPOILER ALERT: spent a while trying to get past the first part (where you kill Dr. Fetus), then made it and got the cutscene and get the level where you have to escape with Bandage Girl. I go ‘k, I’ll do this tomorrow’ and exit to the main level selection screen. Next day, fire it up…and I HAVE TO PLAY THE ENTIRE LEVEL AGAIN. /raaage. GIven that the last levels of SMB take a long time to complete sometimes, it’s completely ridiculous that I wasn’t given a warning that quitting was gonna put me all the way back at the beginning of the level, and not after the cutscene.

  16. nuh uh no way says:

    Irony:
    Bought it for PC via steam but I play it with a wired 360 controller.

  17. Bilbo says:

    Rararar PC = everyone pirates our game so we’ve got to pander to the console market rararar

    That dude you just interviewed about Flashpoint: Usurper Rising should check this out.

  18. athropos says:

    So does this mean we can get the stupid “The Internets” DLC or are we still second class citizens?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      That’s part of the MS exclusivity deal, so no. There’s nothing in it that couldn’t be recreated with the editor, though, and level packs released after the level portal is online will go to both platforms.

    • Dominic White says:

      A large part of Teh Internets is levels taken from the PC community, because the 360 version has no level portal and/or editor. PC players are far from second-class here.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Specifically, the first two batches of Internets DLC are AFAIK 360 exclusive (the Gish set, which would be fairly useless for the PC version, and the Butcher Boy 8-bit set.). The two new packs (the community pack and the Expert Remix) I have heard should be included in the Custom Level Portal (or “Super Meat World”).

  19. geldonyetich says:

    That’s really interesting. The PC is often looked at as the less lucrative platform for developers on account of how piracy tends to undermine the greater bulk of the sales there, but it may well be that that this applies less to indy games than it does big blockbusters.

    • Torgen says:

      Or perhaps the “Costs $20 (or $10) vs the costs $60″ has an effect as well. I’m pretty certain it’s a synergy of “support the little guy who’s doing what I dreamed of” and the price points (and customer support after the sale)….

      Our two weapons are price point and goodwill… and customer support.

      Our THREE weapons are price point, goodwill, customer support….

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Or maybe piracy is used as an excuse why really shit games/features/marketing failed to gross and fun/interesting/novel/good games actually sell, like here.

      But of course that could never be true, else the whole moral smugness, finger pointing, scapegoat mechanism and “them” rhethoric against pirates would be out the window, and we can’t have that now.

  20. GenBanks says:

    I wonder what proportion of the PC sales were on Steam? Or was it a steamworks game, I can’t remember.

    • Delusibeta says:

      To be confirmed, although considering the way Team Meat has been referring to Windows PCs as “Steam” suggests to me Direct2drive sales were a vast minority.

  21. Heliocentric says:

    Didn’t buy it, think its crap. Ahah!

    • Urael says:

      i must commend you, sir, on the extremely stylish nature of your trolling. You win a 1930s Internet.

    • pipman3000 says:

      why buy anything why not just live in the woods civilisation is satan

    • skinlo says:

      Not really trolling per se, just stating his opinion which is against the general consensus.#

      I too didn’t buy it at £3, despite the fact I could have, because I don’t like games that you have to replay a level 50 times to pass. For me personally, repetition doesn’t equal good gameplay. The sense of achievement you get is no where near the effort.

  22. jefftron says:

    Yes PC gaming is wonderful blah blah. Now release it for Mac already!

  23. MadTinkerer says:

    There is nothing about this story that surprises me. In mid-2007, maybe. But this is 2011.

    Still, it’s nice to have ongoing good news confirmed on a regular basis. Especially when so many big publishers still don’t get it, their hearts hardened by imaginary billions of dollars lost to “piracy”.

  24. Robin says:

    While I totally sympathise with Team Meat (this story, and the situation with MyGamerCard, and the bizarre and self-defeating policy towards exclusivity which has kept many excellent downloadable games off the 360, all suggest that MS are only willing to engage with the community when it suits them) … 180,000 sales for a unabashedly niche product like SMB is pretty good going, really! The massive amount of effort they put into it doesn’t change the kind of game it fundamentally is.

  25. hocevar says:

    Just imagine how much it would’ve sold if PC gaming weren’t dead !
    And did a game without DRM sold well ? *gasps* I just can’t believe it !!

  26. 13tales says:

    In as simple terms as possible: Microsoft doesn’t care about games.

    That is to say, while there may be people at Microsoft who do care about games (I know that there are, and I have no doubt they’re creative, smart, and passionate about the medium), they are not the people in charge, or at least not a significant enough number of them as to make a difference.

    IMHO, Microsoft as an organisation cares about two things: domination and monetization. Everything else, including innovation, making great software/hardware, and serving the needs of their customers or developers, is only important insofar as it serves those ends. Inbeforeyousay “they’re a corporation, that’s what they do” – there are some excellent examples out there of businesses run by people who genuinely care about excellence in what they do, about customers, developers, and about the long term health and vitality of their market. Microsoft ain’t one of ‘em – just look at what happened to the web in the however-many years between Netscape’s fall and IE finding a viable rival in the browser space.

    Valve is visibly different. They obviously care about making great games: they’ve made some of the best of all time. It’s also no surprise to me that they treat developers better (remember? MS nearly killed Introversion, Steam may have basically saved it), since they are game developers themselves. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single significant or innovative title developed internally by Microsoft, barring Minesweeper. No, studios that they’ve purchased don’t count (okay, one might say that some of Valve’s best titles have come from outside teams they’ve acquired, but there’s a larger leap between say… Narbacular Drop and Portal than between Halo for PC/Mac and suddenly-XBOX exclusive-Halo).

    I’m not saying that there aren’t good people at Microsoft, or that they haven’t contributed to the indie scene, nor am I saying that Steam is the be all and end all of PC gaming. Or that Valve’s only priorities are great games, unicorns and fluffy bunnies. But… to quote Jerry/Tycho’s memorable phrasing: trying to associate Microsoft with fun, for me, is like trying to associate Satan with aromatherapy.

    End rant.
    Damn I feel old.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      You’ve made that mistake that most people seem to make. You’re looking at the name Microsoft & imagining this huge monolithic entity. Having worked with various departments of theirs in a professional capacity over the last 5 years & had a very valued colleague & friend go work for them you really could not be more wrong. Microsoft operate no differently from other large corporations like Google (we’ve also worked with some of their departments over the last couple of years). They’re a bunch of smaller teams/deparments all working under one banner for one share price. They do communicate between departments, they even share team members with people moving between teams quite regularly but there is no monolithic entity who want to dominate & monetize everything as you seem to think. They collectively make some good decisions & some bad ones but people like yourself dwell on the bad ones while ignoring the good ones & use it as some sort of justification of the monolithic viewpoint as your post shows.

      Valve are probably about 10% the size of Microsoft. Hell one of Microsofts development studios is probably about the same size as Valve. You’re comparing apples & steaks. Sure Valve created Steam but it’s been around almost a decade now, it took that time to build it into what is now (I should know I’ve been using it since it came out as to play stuff like Natural Selection & other HL1 mods you had no choice).

      Also leave off the blatant lies, MS didn’t nearly kill Introversion, by their own admission they nearly killed themselves by spending time developing products which didn’t sell as well as they had expected & it was a Steam sale that gave them enough capital to carry on. The exact same situation happened to Arcen games but I don’t see you mention them maybe because they only release PC/Mac games.
      Halo changed massively during development because Bungie were acquired by Microsoft & allowed time to make the game they wanted to. It was originally prototyped as a 3rd person vehicular based game rather than an FPS which is probably why the vehicules work so well in it (only played the first one on PC myself).

  27. 3lbFlax says:

    I’ll be buying it again on Steam (already have it on XBLA) once the editor’s released because, editor. And also because getting back into Steam has ruined the Xbox for me and, really, they deserve the money.

  28. RegisteredUser says:

    PC > *

    That will be all.