Yes They Can: Because We May Indie Sale

By Adam Smith on May 24th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

In one of the most extensive discounting operations I’ve ever come across, a [insert appropriate collective noun, 'liberation' perhaps] of indie developers have decided to offer their games at prices so low that Crazy Al Trumpet, car and sofa salesman extraordinaire, would condemn them to Bedlam rather than follow their lead. The sale, Because We May, is also a statement of sorts.

We believe that developers should have the freedom to price their games how they like, without interference from the online stores that sell the games. Why? Because it allows us to promote our games more freely, as we are doing here! We rely on the ability to promote our games for our livelihood and control over pricing is an important tool for this purpose.

Click through for the list, with titles available direct and through various stores, including Steam, or check below for my recommendations.

I’m assuming everybody has sixteen copies of World of Goo by now, as well as their personal selection of Introversion’s fine work. Those are there if you’re missing them in your collection though.

Avadon: The Black Fortress is hard to ignore at $4.99 unless you’re very adept at remaining aloof in the presence of old-fashioned RPG goodness at a low low price. Vessel’s there too and I’ve written before about why that’s a good bit of game.

It’d be ludicrous of anyone to ignore Frozen Synapse if they didn’t own it already, Cardinal Quest is a simple but enjoyable roguelike thing and Defender’s Quest is my favourite tower defense game ever.

There’s loads more stuff. The Steam portion doesn’t seem to be active yet, with games appearing at their non-discounted price as I write this, but as the promotion runs from May 24th to June 1st, hopefully it will be ready later today.

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77 Comments »

  1. caddyB says:

    haha Super Office Stress = $99.99

    hahaha

    • Terragot says:

      If your game is a terrible pile of junk make a joke out of it I guess?

    • qrter says:

      Ha!

      “Why so high? Because we may!”

      • ipshdg says:

        My recommended! Your needs!
        Signal repeater is an effective equipment which designed to pick up the outdoor reception from service provider’s cell phone tower and amplify it. Absolutely loved it! http://fishurl.ru/2jmb

        • brulleks says:

          My arse! Your face!

          My bottom is a wonderfully rounded piece of kit designed to serve all your bottomly needs. Wanted by the whole world!

          http://extremelyspuriousurl

        • brulleks says:

          Logged into Steam with the intention of buying Stacking at this new price, then spotted the Red Orchestra 2 free weekend and deal.

          Oh well – that classes as Indie too, doesn’t it?

  2. MondSemmel says:

    Adam, you should have linked to this Defender’s Quest website instead due to the quote at the top: http://www.defendersquest.com/index.html :)

    I spent way too much time combing through this sale today, considering which games were actually worth buying due to my huge games backlog. So far I have settled on definitely buying Defender’s Quest and Fotonica some time in this sale.

    Also, the Steam portion of the sale is online now.

    EDIT: And Vertex Dispenser, for example, intentionally _increased_ its price to 15 $ – just because it can.

    • trjp says:

      There’s a SLIGHT irony in Google Play being included here – whilst it’s possible to vary pricing, you cannot swap a game between Free and Not-Free.

      A Free game cannot EVER cost money – a game you ask for money for cannot be made Free (unless you never want to ask for money for it again) – at least that was the case a few weeks ago (and had been for months before that).

      Slightly annoying as an Android developer – you cannot have an ‘introductory FREE sale’ or a ‘Free for a week’ sale – not ideal that, excluding GP from sales like this might have delivered a message to Google about that…

      • Xune says:

        Apsis and Coins are two games that have been marked as free on the android market as part of this offer. No idea if they are now permanantly free as you say or if the conditions have changed to allow temporary freeness now though.

        • trjp says:

          That’s going to be interesting to watch because I specifically asked Google about this back in March and was told they had ‘no plans to change the system’ and ‘no plans to offer temporary free sales’ etc. etc.

          • Ragnar says:

            Couldn’t you set an introductory price at $0.01 or something? I’ll think twice about spending a $1 on an Android game, but I won’t even blink at a penny.

    • Ragnar says:

      Also, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Defender’s Quest. If you have any interest in tower defense or RPG games, you should get it. The selectable difficulty levels and customizable XP rewards mean that you can make it as easy or hard as you want. I thought it was a great deal at $7, as I had the whole family, from 8 year old daughter to my wife, playing it. At $3, it’s a steal.

  3. HexagonalBolts says:

    Any other recommendations, RPSers?

    … what was that other indie roguelike that was so thoroughly recommended before…?

    • trjp says:

      Dungeons of Dredmor – it’s fantastic at any price – BIG EYEBROWS!

      I’ve only really looked at the iOS and Android stuff thusfar – so whilst it’s OT for here I’ll plug

      Anodia – free IOS breakout game, bloody fantastic it is

      Smiles – IOS/Android match-3-with-a-twist, better than Bejewelled and Zookeeper glued together with Scarlet Johanson covered in chocolate…

      Bauhaus Break – free IOS puzzle, it’s Drop 7 for the thinking man (yes, really) -symbols replace numbers and the idea of ‘not matching’ features and is guaranteed to melt your head!!

    • rb2610 says:

      Dungeons of Dredmor perhaps?
      http://www.dungeonsofdredmor.com/

      Edit: Bah, beaten to it

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      It wasn’t (the excellent) Dredmor, I have a distinct memory of RPS banging on about something before which I really want to try now I’ve ventured into Dredmor. Now THIS is going to irritate me.

      • Terragot says:

        Binding of Isaac? That game is very good.

        • povu says:

          Very cheap now as well. 2 euros for Binding of Isaac.

          • Dominic White says:

            There’s a sizable expansion coming out for it as well in I think just 3-4 days. It’ll be another $3. Well worth it, I reckon.

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          No, not binding of Isaac (which really didn’t do it for me I’m afraid, it just felt like a simplistic platformer to me).

          It had very simplistic 2D graphics, i’m going to have to search long and hard to satisfy my itch now…

          • Maldomel says:

            Hum…last time I checked The Binding Of Isaac was not a platformer. Or maybe we just don’t mean the same thing when we say platformer.

          • HexagonalBolts says:

            It isn’t a platformer at all, it’s just the playstyle reminded me of one, running around, dodging bullets, shooting in one of four directions, more dodging bullets…

          • Shuck says:

            “Isaac” is superficially a simplistic, old-school shooter. It has quite a bit of hidden depth, however, which reveals itself the more you play. For a game I was sure I wouldn’t like, I’ve played it for waaaay too many hours.

      • trjp says:

        Hack Slash Loot?

      • Premium User Badge

        Hodge says:

        Or Desktop Dungeons? Well worth checking out even if it’s not the one you’re thinking of.

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          bing bing bing! We have a winner, thanks! Cardinal quest looks good too though!

    • alundra says:

      bit trip runner, cave story and super meat boy, although anyone who has partaken of the humble bundles should have these.

      I also have heard good stuff about Jamestown, but I don’t have it myself so couldn’t say, same about Capsized, just read on the steam forums there seem to be some input problems that were never patched.

      Stay Away from Dungeon Defenders, it’s become a Pay 2 Win dlc model.

      • trjp says:

        Dungeon Defenders is good fun with friends (can be a bit grim solo as it gets pretty hard, pretty fast) and NONE of the DLC is in any way necessary (but if you enjoy the game, it adds quite a bit to it).

        Jamestown is a fantastic thing in terms of it’s design/style/ship types etc. and it’s quite non-hardcore-shooter-player friendly too EXCEPT for the final level which – without spoiling anything – is about 100 times harder than anything which has gone before – oldskool headfirst into a brick wall of difficulty stuff!!

        It’s not unbeatable by any means but I reckon it took me longer in retries than I’d spent getting to that point, it’s just a BIT frustrating until you crack it (and then it’s unlikely you’d want to play it again!!)

        • alundra says:

          Not to enter into a debate but, for DD *you will need* at least some of the newer pay 2 win heroes + the lost shards dlc, this is the minimal, the player base is now too fragmented because of the large quantity of dlc which now amounts to around 60usd

          If that’s what you like, to each it’s own I guess.

          • Baines says:

            Dungeon Defenders wasn’t quite so annoying when it would offer holiday DLC for free for a week or two after release. But now it seems to be all about paid DLC.

            And with the balance issues the game has had since release, I always worry when they offer a paid hero or a new paid area that includes new weapons and gear. That, and it can get annoying that Steam downloads an update for the game seemingly every other day.

            Hrm, just checked Steam… This $14.99 game now has $49.81 of DLC.

          • jha4ceb says:

            Sure, you’ll need all that DLC if you want to be an elite player and play with other elite players, but you can easily get 50-100 hours of co-op fun out of the base game. Not bad for £5/$7.50.

        • Premium User Badge

          Malibu Stacey says:

          It’s plagued by the very worst aspects of DRM. Their implementation of the Steam API is so bad that when you lose connection to the Steam community, you get kicked from your own hosted games. Valve have offered to help them fix this months ago but Trendy either don’t care or well, don’t care.

          It’s also rife with cheats because their “ranked” play stores all the players items & stats in the cloud but trusts the clients implicitly (because it’s a console port) so simple memory editing means anyone can have super overpowered stuff beyond what normally drops in game. The knock on effect of this is a paranoid userbase (hacked items gets you banned from ranked, they don’t have any way to track whether you hacked them or someone else did) and the economy is at the same time utterly useless and spiralling out of control.

    • Armante says:

      Lunar Flight. It’s awesome. Read RPS’ pieces on it. One-man team, great GFX, atmospheric sound, well simulated and tons of fun

  4. Xocrates says:

    Great timing. Got some time to spare next week.

    Let’s see…

    What’s the word on Q.u.b.e.? Any good?

    EDIT: Short answer, not really.

  5. Xune says:

    I’d be interested to know why games on the android market are cheaper in some cases than direct from the developer or via steam. I would have thought buying direct from the dev would result in more profits to them and therefore the path to incentivise with a lower price.

    Infact, why do Introversion want $5 each for their games when buying direct but only $3.99 from steam. None of their games are known for thier active steam communities and I imagine steam are still taking their commission so surely it works out worse off for them?

    • trjp says:

      I can’t explain that example specifically, but there are some reasons why ‘direct sales’ aren’t always cheaper than sales through third-parties.

      1 – a developer will be using a store/card/merchant on a MUCH poorer deal than someone like Steam so their deals will often include things like a minimum price-per-item, limitations on changing prices (part of what this sale is celebrating) and relatively high commissions per-sale – it’s entirely possible they’ll be WORSE off per sale at a higher price, even

      2 – it’s not always wise to undercut outlets who provide you with a lot of sales – because they’ll be less keen to take your next game as a result and that could be a disaster for you.

      3 – the ‘Occams Razor’ answer is that sales aren’t always reflected in every outlet/may not be updated yet.

      • Xune says:

        I see, interesting points. Thanks for enlightening me.

      • malkav11 says:

        Also, people tend to value PC games higher than mobile games.

        • trjp says:

          Absolutely – mobile games need to be dirt cheap to tease people into spending the money (less than £1 is something most people will risk) wheras PC gamers tend to be willing to pay more.

          The interesting thing for me is that XBLA/XBLIG and even some PSN games are tending to come to PC cheaper (even accounting for fluctuations in the value of MS/Sony moon-money) – which I suspect is because the PC is a bit of a competitive market wheras the consoles aren’t.

  6. mod the world says:

    Get GTA 3 and GTA Chinatown for your iPad. It is just so incredible (for me) to see a former PC highlight like GTA on such a little, thin device. That’s the future right in my hands.

    • DickSocrates says:

      The future makes games harder to play and less enjoyable. GTAIII on the ipad is about as fun to play as watching a Let’s Play of it. And to be honest, even with an idea set up, III plays like crap now. I was the most massive, life ruining fan of GTAIII but the controls are so bad compared to IV I can’t play it now. And that says a lot when you considier how god-awful the controls for IV are.

  7. secretdoorinvisiblewall says:

    Steam discounts are displayed and working for me (in the USA). Maybe its a regional thing? Hopefully it gets sorted out eventually.

  8. Baines says:

    Sadly, Steam has taught me that 50% and even 66% off aren’t amazing deals.

    Anomaly: Warzone Earth is $3.99 now? I’d recalled seeing it for less before. Thanks to the website steamgamesales.com, I can look and see that Steam had it priced at $3.39 a couple of weeks ago, and it went down to $2.49 briefly last Christmas. Lucid is $2.49? It was apparently $1.24 just 9 days ago on Steam. (And was $1.25 back in January.)

    Dungeon Defenders is 50% off? It’s briefly been 75% off through both Steam and GamersGate before. And several of the other titles have been in various versions of “pay what you want” bundles, where you could have bought them for less.

    I’m not saying that these offers aren’t better than the original price… It is just that history implies if you wait a bit longer, you can get a better deal on several of them. Or that you might feel like kicking yourself for not buying something the last time it was 75% off (or part of a bundle).

    • qrter says:

      I’m not sure what the point is you’re trying to make.. Steam allows games to be put on sale more than once?

      Unless you have some way to know what discounts Steam will be applying in the future, there isn’t much point worrying about past sales prices.

      • the.celt says:

        I don’t understand what you don’t understand. He’s saying that if it was cheaper than the current price in the past then it will likely be cheaper than the current price in the future. He’s saying that he seeks to buy things at the cheapest price. This strikes me as superior to buying things, for example, when they’re at their highest price.

        Real Life is the first game.

        • trjp says:

          History of past prices isn’t really necessary to know what’s he’s on about tho – things get cheaper, the universe decays – it’s all entropy…

          The POINT here is that you decide if you want the game (and are going to play it now or soon – a very important bit, that) and if the price seems fair, you buy it.

          If you fret over every penny – every possible saving you might make, you’ll never buy anything.

          The sums of money we’re talking about here are also trivial and hardly worth the time you’re spending checking prices tbh – if you can afford a PC, an Internet connection and at least ‘some’ games, you have enough money to spend your time doing something more FUN :)

          • qrter says:

            That was basically my point – you decide whether something is worth buying. The knowledge that a price has been lower in the past shouldn’t matter that much.

            I mean, a game might be at the lowest price point it has ever been on Steam, it could still go lower in a future sale, how could you know?

          • appropriate touching says:

            Just want to point out that if you consider spending 20 seconds to save £1.50 trivial you value your leisure time around the same as a £900,000 a year job (includes taxes).
            My point being, isn’t maths fun!

          • trjp says:

            No-one spends 20 seconds ‘researching prices’ tho – they spend at least an hour wondering – another few hours having the ‘do I or don’t I buy it’ thoughts at the back of their mind – another hour looking at reviews and other stuff…

            £1.50 is suddenly ‘Apple Manufacturing Worker’ wages…

  9. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Is this one of those sales where the prices vary over the week? As others have mentioned above, some games have seen their prices increase, most notably the wallet-melting $100 for Super Office Stress. Which is reminiscent of the experiment Sophie Houlden did with Swift*Stitch.

  10. Maldomel says:

    Excellent! Yet another batch of indie games I won’t have enough time to play. Just kidding, I was only waiting for an occasion to put my dirty paws on many of those.

  11. Bhazor says:

    One game caught my eye
    48 Chambers.

    Sadly it has nothing to do with Wu Tang or Shaolin chop-socky action.

    • iucounu says:

      “There are only 35 chambers… there is no 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 40th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 46th, 47th or 48th.”
      “I know that, but… I want to create 13 new chambers.”

  12. malkav11 says:

    Any thoughts on the excellently named and conceived Squids?

  13. Pemptus says:

    Defender’s Quest definitely caught my eye, I’ve spent way too much time on the demo.

    Question about buying though: their store auto detected my country and added a silly 23% VAT to the price, which is suboptimal. It seems I can select another country (US being the most lucrative choice, with the best currency rates and no silly taxes added) from a drop-down menu with seemingly no consequences – I click next and it redirects me to the paypal checkout page. Or are there? Consequences, I mean?

    • larsiusprime says:

      Hey, I’m the Defender’s Quest dev. :)

      I don’t really know – FastSpring (our storefront provider) handles that automatically. If you have to pay VAT, it’s likely a law that your country imposes on online retailers that FastSpring has to comply with. From our perspective, we set up the store and then they handle all the regional compliance stuff, so it’s not anything that we set up.

      From our perspective as developers, it doesn’t make any difference to us, but *technically* I guess you might be breaking a law in your country by not paying the tax – but that’s between you and them :P

      • Pemptus says:

        All customer support of everything in the world should be done via the RPS comments! Thanks very much for the answer. :)
        I figured as much, with that tax and all. I guess I shall comply to my country’s regulations. OR WILL I?

  14. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Buy Stacking! Or better: Buy Stacking at full price, because it’s a bloody brilliant game!

    • Armante says:

      Oops. I bought the Double Fine bundle instead.
      Because I didn’t have Psychonauts yet. I know..

  15. Premium User Badge

    Thermal Ions says:

    Highly Recommended: Defenders Quest, Dungeons of Dredmor, World of Goo (goes without saying) and Psychonauts.
    Recommended: Anomaly: Warzone Earth.

    (too lazy to post why at this time on a Friday night, sorry)

    Considering: Eufloria, Avadon and Vessel.

  16. Premium User Badge

    RobF says:

    Obviously, I’d recommend SYNSO first and foremost because i) It’s about 60p for 5 games and ii) they’re mine. But I suspect most of RPS already has them anyway, still, you never know!

    Anyway, gratuitous self promotion aside – I’d heartily recommend:

    Non Steam stuffs:

    Fotonica – it’s running and leaping through a Peter Saville wet dream. Quite exhilarating and very stylish.
    Swift*Stitch – looks as much as it needs to, plays above and beyond what it needs to. The curves fuck me up.
    Dino Run SE – I don’t really get on with much PixelJam stuff but I loved this to bits. Vastly expanded over the web version and second shaving entertainment all round.
    PopMethodology1 is a very interesting experiment. It’s deliberately left rough around the edges and some mini games are better than others but worth experiencing once for cheaps.
    Explodemon is still as under-appreciated as it ever was. Change that!
    Inzectoids if you need a very old school arcade arena-ish fix.

    Steam Stuffs:

    All the Digital Eel stuff is wonderful, Brainpipe/Datajammers. I prefer the former but I love how “we forgot to do this future, sorry” Datajammers is. Audio is amazing on both also. DATA!
    Scoregasm is the best gasm.
    Vertex Dispenser may have put its price up but it’s still a good price. Hard to get into for some, I believe, and about 30 layers of brainfuck at times but rewarding once you do.
    Jamestown should be pretty much essential.
    Eufloria is one of the few games you can minimise and play inbetween other things. I like that still. It got ambient gaming on multiple levels.

    And if you haven’t got Skullpogo and Forget-Me-Not on iOS if you have an iOS device, shame on you. SHAME ON YOU.

  17. Eamo says:

    Just wondering if anyone else thinks this is a bit of a poke at gog.com and their recent claims that discounting was somehow bad for the games industry.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      Well, I’d say that GoG were completely off their tits with that one, y’know? But! It’s not specifically a poke at GoG although if they try and control prices then it becomes so.

      There’s a lot of stores that try and take control of too many things from the developer for their advantage and not ours. This is a message to all of them, whoever they are. The ability to control our own pricing helps us to make money and do flash sales, sure, it also helps us to make a living, it helps us promote our stuff and it helps us have the ability to react both to what customers need or what we need at any time.

      For example, the now famous tale of Introversion being up against the wall and how a sale helped them continue. If they’d have been reliant on certain gatekeepers who controlled the pricing for them, they’d likely be no more.

      Or waking up one day to find that GIANT MEGACORP is selling your game for 0.05p to undercut a competitor because they can and you become nothing more than a tool.

      Or if you price too high and nobody will buy it, we can drop it *like that* and no-one can stop us.

      And of course, retaining pricing control means that they can’t Reflexive us (Amazon bought the game portal Reflexive and pretty much immediately dropped all prices of the games on the portal to 1/3 of the price, thus sparking the end of the road for a lot of people reliant on that strand of casual games).

      And lots more. But also yeah, GoG were talking clear mental with all that stuff anyway and should totally be called on it regardless.

      • Premium User Badge

        Malibu Stacey says:

        For example, the now famous tale of Introversion being up against the wall and how a sale helped them continue. If they’d have been reliant on certain gatekeepers who controlled the pricing for them, they’d likely be no more.

        I hope the irony inherent in that paragraph is not wasted on the RPS collective.

        [for those who don't know, it was a Steam sale which 'saved' Introversion & there's a few regulars around these parts who will decry Steam/VALVe as being the cause of everything bad in the world just because they are one of the aforementioned 'gatekeepers']

        • Premium User Badge

          RobF says:

          Yeah but that’s all facts and evidence and stuff. This is the internet. We don’t do that here.

  18. frightlever says:

    “Cardinal Quest is a simple but enjoyable roguelike thing ”

    Not what I heard.

  19. bill says:

    So who is this a dig at?

    It sounds like a protest against someone who doesn’t let them choose their own prices. GOG maybe doesn’t, but I can’t imagine a big protest against GOG.

    I’d have to guess Origin, simply because it’s EA…

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      It’s not -at- anyone specific but y’know, if you’re looking for an example here, something like MS who only just allowed XBLIG games to change their prices once every 7 days instead of once every multiple months. XBLIG pricing (amongst other things) has been the death knell for many games. MS thought they knew better than devs and customers, they did not.

      That’s just one example of lots and lots and lots. There’s casual portals, storefronts, publishers and more, a vast array of them all at this.

      So finding one offender is to sorta defeat the point, there’s many gatekeepers holding onto archaic and controlly methods and a “well, you need us more than we need you” mentality and this is partially to show that actually, no we don’t. And everyone wins harder if you don’t keep sticking with that sort of old publisher mentality silly because controlling our price points and being able to be flexible with them is an immensely powerful weapon in any indie (or otherwise) arsenal.

  20. Snake Stapler says:

    Why is the fact Enviro-Bear 2000 is available on android not in the article title?
    The most comprehensive bear driving sim is now available for handheld devices and not a single mention thereof.
    BLASPHEMERS!
    CONSPIRATORS!
    CAPITALISTS!

  21. Armante says:

    Lunar Flight. You will buy it. It is great and good. Wonderful even.

    Hell, the first person to email me at armante (at) hotmail (dot) com gets a free copy from me, on Steam

    Yes, that’s how much I like it – I bought it first half-price on desura when it was in beta, then on Steam when it launched, and twice more on Steam for a friend and a nephew :D

    Support this game. That is all!

  22. tossrStu says:

    It’s not on the site yet, but Waves is cheap as part of the sale too:

    https://sites.fastspring.com/squidinabox/instant/waves

  23. Dark_Oppressor says:

    The sale has brought my Android game (Bit Beast) from 0 sales to ~40 in less than a day. It has even generated one sale for my PC game (Hubert’s Island Adventure: Mouse o’ War), lol. Those are tiny numbers but compared to what I was having before this sale, woo!

    I can say for myself that my reason for participating in the sale is mostly want of exposure. It is nice being able to go play with the prices of my games willy nilly. :-)

    Now, to search search search through all of these awesome games. Oh dear.

    I wonder if Pirate Bay was named so for a reason…