This great article popped up on the Penny Arcade Report recently, regarding the sometimes crazy Steam sales and how the platform's generally lower pricing structure affects revenue for developers. The conclusions are surprising to say the least.
When you think about it though, it does make a lot of sense. Pricing games below the impulse-buy threshold often means people will buy them just because they are cheap. Hell I've got a ton of games in my Steam library that aren't even installed yet. I just got them because they were too cheap to pass up. I'm sure pretty much everyone else on Steam has a similar story.
I think that going forward, we'll only see Steam continue to dominate on PC even though other companies are trying hard to rip it off (Eat a dick, Origin!). With so many publishers trying to nickle and dime their customers over everything, gamers are more than happy to give more money to a company that decides to throw them a freaking bone every now and then.
The opportunities for indie developers are also endless. I'd never even heard of Jamestown before it cropped up on a Steam sale. After brow-beating Jaison into it, he also picked the game up on Steam. He hasn't even played it yet! Between this and kick-starter funded game projects, it could be the beginning of a huge shift in the way the industry works. And it's going to be better for everyone.
Does this mean $60 Triple-A releases, Online passes, Day-one DLC and all the associated bullshit is going to become a thing of the past? Not a chance. They're still going to be the standard for a long time to come. But as the saying goes, when a door closes a window opens. And if this means that we're going to see a lot more quirky, inventive, fun games made by passionate developers then I'm very excited to see what the future holds.