One of the things I didn’t realise about publishing a game to Steam was the amount of emails that I would receive from random people about the game. Since Duped was put on Steam (around a week ago), I’ve received 25 emails about it. Since I didn’t hear ANYTHING about these kinds of emails before I released my game, I’m assuming this just isn’t common knowledge. So, I decided I’d break down the kinds of emails that an indie game developer can expect to receive when publishing their game to steam.
The Promotional Sites
The first kind of email I got was from promotional sites. As in, websites that people can use to distribute their game (or keys for the game). This includes sites like Keymailer (who I actually found to be pretty useful), as well as a couple of smaller bundle sites who wanted to do bundles.
Amount: 3 / 25
The Steam “Bigshots”
By far the funniest group of people reaching out for emails. These people had no qualms about being who they were. They wanted me to send them free copies in exchange for promoting their game within their steam curation / positive reviews or even just… for no reason?
Amount: 2 / 25
Spammers and Scammers
Here comes the boring part. The part that I honestly didn’t expect. There was SO MUCH spam that came through from people pretending to be from bigger sites (or even sites that weren’t that big). The way to tell these ones apart was that they would always have emails from @gmail or @yahoo domains.
My strategy for dealing with these guys was just ask for them to tweet at me. Haven’t heard back from a single one yet. For the more obvious scams, I found a neat little site where you can generate fake steam keys. Some of them I sent some batches of these, so hopefully those fake keys end up being distributed to the scammers, or resold somewhere, and I can just giggle about it! (For bonus fun, that fake key generator can let you seed the keys with swear words).
Amount: 17 / 25
These ones were a bit confusing. They were from smaller game coverage sites, and their email addresses seemed legitimate. But, when I went to their sites, I found that something was a bit off.
The people and emails used to contact me were listed on the site, but when I actually looked at their articles, they clearly weren’t written by anybody legitimate (at least not anybody who has any sense of care about their work). Things like reviews read like they were automatically generated from press releases (most reviews were written from the perspective of the developers of the game). But then, some of them weren’t? Searching the text of these reviews turned up nothing, where I expected to find that these were stolen from other review sites.
Then, I looked at their staff pages. None of their staff had pictures posted, and when I googled the staff, they didn’t exist anywhere apart from this page. No twitters, no facebooks, no linkedins, no nothing.
I honestly have no idea what was going on with these. Presumably they’re some kind of scam, but I don’t know why anybody would go to this much effort for a scam that works about as well as the more obvious scams up above.
Amount: 2 / 25
Honestly, not sure where to put this last one. Might have been a scam, might not have been. They claimed that they’re from a service that does localization. This was clearly an autogenerated email, and since Duped has no text or voice in it at all (apart from the menu) I didn’t bother to reach out. But hey, this might actually be useful to some people so it’s hard to hate on them. Still spammy though.
Amount 1 / 25
So, those are the kinds of emails you can expect to receive when you release a game on Steam. And Duped isn’t even that big of a release. I hate to think what some of the larger and more successful games must go through. Something I learned the hard way this time around – filter your emails!