PC Game 'Devotion' Is Back, Now Being Sold Directly By The Developer

from the going-direct dept

Late last year, we discussed a disappointing move by GOG to delist well-reviewed horror PC game Devotion from its platform. Making it all very odd were the facts that GOG had just announced that morning that the game would be available that day, as well as Devotion's previous delisting from Steam. The reason for the multiple delistings was never perfectly spelled out in either case, but the game includes a reference to China's President Xi and the never ending joke that he resembles Winnie the Pooh. GOG, instead of being open about that being the obvious reason to delist the game, instead said it made the move after receiving "messages from gamers." Groan.

Well, fortunately, this is 2021, which means instead of the game dying on the doorstep of well-entrenched gatekeepers, developer Red Candle Games can instead just release the game itself on its own website.

After running into nothing but trouble on other people’s platforms, the game’s developers have decided to just sell the game themselves, opening up an online store for international customers that is selling digital, DRM-free copies of Devotion, their previous game Detention, as well as soundtrack bundles for both.

Despite all the complaints from the industry about how the internet serves only to flood the universe in copyright infringement, this is the transformative power of the internet. Gatekeepers that add value can still find a place for themselves, as GOG and Steam have certainly done. But when they try to shut down the distribution of content for cowardly business reasons, well, the developer can just route around them and sell directly to the consumer. Honestly, it's mostly surprising that this has happened more often in the past and become the norm.

For its part, Red Candle Games does plan on this being the norm for them moving forward.

And, really, why not? The developer has been bitten in the ass twice now when it comes to distributing through the big online players, both times over the hurt feelings of a honey-mad, cartoon maybe-bear President of China. Why not just go it alone and keep from having to put up with all of this nonsense.

The bigger question is, of course, just how successful this will be. If Red Candle Games can demonstrate that it can go it alone in this way, showing that routing distribution through the likes of Steam and GOG aren't always the best path, that could lead to more experiments like this... or a change in the distributors behavior.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: china, devotion, direct sales, drm free, president xi, video games, winnie the pooh
Companies: gog, red candle games, valve


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Mar 2021 @ 6:09pm

    The internet routes around censorship

    For people (such as Koby) who says that the big platforms censor when they moderate content because of their large market power, this is a case study in what happens when you're banned from platforms such that none will take you: you can create your own.

    It just shows you that even though people such as Alex Jones, Donald Trump, and Milo Yannopoulos were banned from pretty much every social network, that doesn't mean that they're banned from the internet entirely. The fact that Red Candle is still able to sell their game on the internet while being banned from Steam and GOG is evidence of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:35am

      Re: The internet routes around censorship

      But but but its not fair!!
      Everyone should be forced to let people I want to let say anything speak & they should silence those people I don't like.
      Its like in the Constitution (as I imagine it in my drug addled mind).

      if you missed it... /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:45am

      Re: The internet routes around censorship

      "It just shows you that even though people such as Alex Jones, Donald Trump, and Milo Yannopoulos were banned from pretty much every social network, that doesn't mean that they're banned from the internet entirely."

      In fact Alex Jones is a hilariously obvious example on his own. His own platform of Infowars predates social media and YouTube by some time. When he was kicked off those other platforms for, among other things, directly inspiring violence and real-life harassment of the parents of mass shooting victims, he still had Infowars. In fact, he's also set up his own video streaming service and plays regular games with new URLs to promote his service when people wise up and realise who is really behind the new addresses.

      Jones has never been "silenced", but like all these grifters he had a brief taste of how much more reach he could have with a mainstream outlet, and instead of making his material appealing to them he demands that they be forced to host them against his will. He knows he can never attract the same audience (and therefore not scam as many people) if he has to depend on Infowars alone.

      Meanwhile, Milo's reaction when he was forced to use Gab instead of Twitter was that the community there was a toxic mass of homophobia and he felt edged out by that community. Shocking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 17 Mar 2021 @ 9:32pm

    Value adds for big Distros

    The value adds for big distros are:
    Some content moderation
    A hopefully honest rating system
    Common platform, supplying trust

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 1:13am

    The chinese take lése majesté seriously!

    Your assertion;

    "...both times over the hurt feelings of a honey-mad, cartoon maybe-bear President of China."

    Is wrong. You are referencing his imperial majesty, president for life, Xi Jin Ping, first of his dynasty, after all.
    Desdcribing the Son of Heaven in caricature used to be punished by boiling in oil. Simply being thrown out of a few private platforms? Now that is progress.

    /s lest some flunky of the honey-mad maybe-bear thinks I'm serious here...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 3:34am

    On behalf of Winnie the Pooh

    Truly I'm offended a lovable bear with such an upbeat attitude is being compared to Milo, Alex, Xi, Donny, and other pieces of human excrement. Sure, Mr. Pooh is not a real human being, but his kindness and actions are much more human than those people.

    It's awesome that software can be sold by... um... the people who wrote it. That's such a new concept. Next thing they'll tell me Microsoft sells Windows [licenses], Qualcomm sells Eudora [based on T-bird], and Apple sells MacOS [licenses]...

    AND THEY ALL DO THIS DIRECTLY!!! TO THE CONSUMER. My mind is blown.

    With respect to Pooh,

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:03am

    well, the developer can just route around them and sell directly to the consumer. Honestly, it's mostly surprising that this has happened more often in the past

    The need for an e-commerce platform, accounting support, handling customer complaints etc. puts many developers off doing this. Retail to the masses is a very different game to developing he software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Kuxtal Market (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:37am

    Thank you for this blog post. It is really interesting. I will save it for the future as well.

    Regards,

    Kuxtal Market Supermercado Sustentable con

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:41am

    On the other hand...

    The downside is that if you're successful enough in selling the game on your own platform, the hacking minions of the honey-mad cartoon maybe-bear will surely follow. Make hay while the sun shines, Red Candle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 5:47am

    its good news the game is avaidable ,but most people only want to deal with steam and maybe 1 or 2 more pc game stores.
    still it shows we have an open web,
    artists can find many sources to sell their work without giving up their rights to an old legacy gatekeeper .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 2:19pm

      Re:

      Seeing as it is DRM-free, one doesn't have to "deal" with Red Candle other than making a payment. (Which, once upon a time, was all the dealing one needed to do with a vending party...)

      From another angle, yeah, this is exactly the kind of thinking that made me groan when Steam was introduced (aside from the lack of interest from Valve in bothering to make games much anymore). I'm sure this is entirely irrelevant to the thread, but the way markets and crowd behavior change things are hardly always good. We lose a lot, and it isn't just buggy whip manufacturers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:35am

    "Gatekeepers that add value can still find a place for themselves, as GOG and Steam have certainly done. But when they try to shut down the distribution of content for cowardly business reasons, well, the developer can just route around them"

    Only on the PC really, and not guaranteed whatsoever.. The console manufacturers have legal power behind their gatekeeping and we should all be thankful there was enough backlash when microsoft tried to force people through the microsoft store that devs can still self publish apps at all

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    When I said "cancel", I didn't mean ME or my pals!, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:14am

    Direct to consumer ONLY if can get a host:

    But when they try to shut down the distribution of content for cowardly business reasons, well, the developer can just route around them and sell directly to the consumer.

    No, you're premising that on present conditions, the legacy of freedom.

    SINCE the big gatekeepers are allowed to keep growing, they'll soon get to monopoly even by Schmidt's 100% requirement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      When I said "cancel", I didn't mean ME or my pals!, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:14am

      Re: Direct to consumer ONLY if can get a host:

      What's to stop the few biggies from controlling all hosts -- including ISPs because there's no anti-trust action? At what point will you children protest? Where will you protest? After the gatekeepers "deplatform" you too for your oldthink views in opposing Their rule?

      Keep tellin' ya, kids: though for now corporations appear to be on "your" side, so too does every gang of authoritarians seeking power court the rabble. You are mere NPCs, at best useless to Them.


      For example: Geigner's attack above on Xi is another demerit on his permanent record. Soon as the "social credit" system is put in place here too, Timmy won't be allowed to fly, take a bus, or a taxi, have a plastic money card, maybe not even go into grocery stores. You can be effectively "UNpersoned" by corporations, and at best They won't be able to resist the Power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 1:31am

        Re: Re: Direct to consumer ONLY if can get a host:

        "What's to stop the few biggies from controlling all hosts -- including ISPs because there's no anti-trust action?"

        Net Neutrality - you know, the utility regulation your boy Trump's flunkie sunk when he still held office?
        Sensible antitrust legislation? Oh, right, what Dear Leader undermined as far as he could, just like every other radical right office holder.

        "After the gatekeepers "deplatform" you too for your oldthink views in opposing Their rule?"

        I'll take our oldthink over your newspeak any day, Baghdad Bob. Because the US doesn't have a "deplatforming" problem - yet. If 230 drops, however, it certainly will. Because no platform but the major ones will be in operation, and the only people allowed on board will be the sensible and rational - meaning you'll never again see a comment of yours online ever again. But hey, keep on hoisting yourself with your own petard.

        You keep thinking that if 230 is sunk and platforms are forbidden personal discretion you and yours will get to speak. And that is not the outcome. The first outcome will be that minor in-US platforms will become unable to operate under threat of a thousand lawsuits. The only silver lining is that Alex Jones, Breitbart and Stormfront are going away first of all.

        The major platforms - the Big Tech you keep harping about - will sail on blithely with a mere shrug and a small surge in legal department costs. And on those platforms no speech will be allowed but what is permissible under whatever "neutral" rule washington comes up with to be allowed as litigation-protected under moderation. Ironically that censorship will be more draconian than what China pulls off today in Golden Shield.

        At this point I frankly don't care if you are such a total moron that you fail to realize the consequences of what you ask for or whether you are bullshitting people because you know and want the likely outcome.

        With some luck after every US-hosted platform has gone the way of 8chan some charitable US expat may decide to start a few forums hosted in europe where sensible americans can keep the public debate going.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 2:21am

        Re: Re:

        Why are you angry that a content creator is abandoning a platform to sell his own product?

        Why are you writing in support of China's social credit system considering how much your Daddy Trump opposed China?

        Are you ever going to pull your head out of your own ass, blue, and start breathing oxygen instead of cum?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.