The development process of Sanctum 2, the tower defence first-person hybrid by Coffee Stain Studios, was a learning experience for the studio. The developer says the game has made most of the money on PC, while the simultaneous launch on consoles only resulted in added pressure with little sales to show for it.
In a post-mortem blog on Gamasutra, Johannes Aspeby, one of the developers who worked on Sanctum 2, talked about the process of developing on consoles and why the decision to launch simultaneously on all platforms, was a mistake.
“In retrospect the console ports were a bad idea — we’ve made about 95 percent of our revenue from PC, so having a day 1 port is not something we want to do again,” wrote Aspeby.
“We’re still unsure of why we sold so much more on Steam than on consoles, but if we’d take a guess we’d say that it could be because visibility is much easier to get on Steam with daily deals, free weekends, etc, compared to consoles, where we got pretty much no visibility at all.”
Unfortunately for the studio, the payoff of developing the consoles version “hasn’t been anywhere near the work,” and that seeing the studio’s hard work on the game result in little sales was “very demoralizing.”
“One of our arguments for continuing working on the DLC was that we already had done so much work for it. Before we knew sales we had started setting everything up for DLC since we thought we were going to strike gold. Or at least find a silver vein. In retrospect we. We should just have looked at the figures and seen that the work wasn’t going to pay off and killed our darling with a hatchet,” adds Aspeby.
The blog is a recommended read as it delves deeper into many more topics, such as how the developer handled the DLC for the game, and how they were focused so much on crushing bugs that they missed actual feedback from the players.