Whether you’re a new game developer or an experienced video game enthusiast, Steam is one of the best platforms for selling your game and making money. However, it can take a long time before you can finally market your game on Steam, and the process can be difficult.
In this article, we’ll go over how to sell a game on Steam, as well as break down what you can and can’t do on the platform.
Why use Steam?
Steam has been around for over 15 years. Valve initially launched it solely for the purpose of distributing game updates. The platform has evolved and now includes games from third parties.
Steam has over 100 million users and over 20 million concurrent users, which would excite any game developer anywhere in the world. Furthermore, the platform contains over 3,400 games. Steam is thought to control more than 75% of the online video game market. Steam now sells its own branded gaming consoles and controllers, demonstrating the platform’s resounding success.
How to Sell a Steam Game
You can currently only sell a game on Steam if you are the official owner or developer. A game purchased from Valve, Steam’s parent company, or a third party cannot be sold. Steam’s business policy is based on the same principle as paying a one-time lump sum to rent a house for life: You have exclusive use of the house and can enjoy all of its benefits, but you cannot sell it to anyone else.
Is this how it has always been? Previously, the rules on Steam were a little different. When you purchased a game on the platform, you could add it to your inventory before adding it to your library. This meant that you could sell the game by retrieving it from your inventory, “gifting” it to another Steam user, and receiving payment from them via a third-party service like Venmo or PayPal.
Steam no longer provides an inventory option. You must declare whether you are purchasing the game for your own use or as a gift for another user at the time of purchase. If you buy it for personal use, the game is added to your library. If you purchase it as a gift, Steam immediately adds it to the recipient’s library.
How to Resell a Steam Game
As previously stated, it is currently not possible to resell a game on Steam.
However, the situation may change in the future. Indeed, a French court recently ruled against Steam’s policy, ruling that users should be allowed to resell their games. In its decision, the court rejected the notion that Steam sells subscriptions and instead determined that it sells game licenses. As a result, the court ruled that it is only fair to allow users to resell these licenses if they so desire.
The decision, however, has yet to be implemented because Valve has filed an appeal. As of this writing, no decision on the appeal has been made, making it difficult to predict whether the original decision will be reversed.
Is it possible to resell? Certainly. However, they are all fraught with danger. To begin, you can create multiple accounts, one for each game. That way, you can easily resell any games that no longer excite you while still playing the rest through the other accounts. You can also go the all-or-nothing route and sell your entire Steam account. Steam considers either of these options to be against their rules, and you risk having your account permanently disabled.
Either of these arrangements would present significant challenges. If you decide to sell the entire account, for example, if you have a large portfolio of games, it may be difficult to find a suitable buyer and lock in a good price.
How to Sell Your Own Game on Steam
There are several steps to selling a game you’ve created on Steam:
- After registering your interest in the service, Steam will send you digital paperwork that you must read and sign.
- You will be asked to pay an application deposit. A bank account is required for payment. This is also the account where the proceeds from your game sales will be deposited.
- You’ll then need to file paperwork with both your bank and the IRS. This also allows Steam to validate your identity.
- You will now have access to Steamworks, a set of tools that will assist you in publishing your game on Steam. Steamworks can help you with everything from uploading your builds, configuring features, and streaming live demos to pricing and running discounts.
- You’ll then launch a test run in which Steam runs your game to ensure that everything is in order and that all game configurations are correct. This can take anywhere from one to five days.
- At this point, you’re ready to begin product distribution.
Steam has implemented measures to increase the likelihood of your store page getting off to a good start. For example, in order to build your audience, you must post a “Coming Soon” page at least two weeks before the official launch. Your game will undoubtedly spark debate in the run-up to its release, and Steam allows you to interact with potential buyers. These things will assist you in gaining momentum.
How to Make Money Selling a Game on Steam
There are several steps you must take in order to make money from your Steam product.
First and foremost, you must create your Steam page as soon as possible. This will assist you in cultivating a community of interested parties in the same way that boxing promoters cultivate an audience in the lead-up to a match. If you can create an interesting trailer, that’s even better. Furthermore, having a detailed developer profile is essential. Also, show off your portfolio as much as possible, making sure to include all of your past and upcoming projects.
Supporting a diverse range of languages can also help you sell your game to a larger audience. The two most commonly used languages on Steam are English and Chinese.
How to Make Money Selling Indie Games on Steam
Selling your game on Steam can help you achieve more than just a living if you’re an indie developer. It can help you overcome funding issues and provide a platform for you to generate enough money to take your skills to the next level, potentially going triple-A on your next project.
Set a price that is neither too high nor too low to ensure that your indie game sells well. Looking at the pricing of similar projects on the platform is a good place to start. According to the old marketing adage, it’s better to start low and work your way up than to start high and crash. Furthermore, you may want to personalize your game and use more specific game tags to ensure that your indie game stands out and is noticed by your target audience.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. There are several approaches to this. For example, you can look for apps or software that pay users when they sign up. Rakuten and Swagbucks are two good examples. You earn money in the form of Amazon gift cards, which you can use to purchase Steam gift cards. You can also earn free Steam Wallet codes by taking surveys sponsored by GrabPoints or PrizeRebel.
To sell games on Steam, you don’t need a company, especially if you’re selling low-risk games and creating your own assets to avoid being sued for infringement. However, forming a company provides the benefit of limited liability, which protects your personal estate in the event you are sued or have problems with tax authorities.
Unfortunately, Steam does not allow the sale of game gifts. Any attempt to sell a gift is a violation of the Steam User Agreement, and you may lose your account as a result.
In three simple steps, you can disown a game:
• Log in to your Steam account and go to the Steam Support page.
• Choose the game you want to unown, scroll down the page, and enter it into the search box at the bottom.
• Select the “Permanently Remove Game” option.
You will be charged a one-time nonrefundable fee of $100 to sell a game on Steam. However, the fee may be fully refunded if your game earns at least $1,000 in gross revenue.
Make Use of Your Talents
If you’re a game developer, Steam allows you to earn money while expanding your product line. Nothing can stop you from setting up your Steam page and getting your product moving with this information. What do you like best about Steam as a platform for your product? Do you have any marketing tips to share with other developers? Let’s talk about it in the comments.