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Blitz Games closes 1UP initiative

Marketing costs and Steam's "random" decision making process cited as key factors

Blitz Games has closed its Blitz 1UP programme, citing marketing costs and the dominance of Valve's Steam platform as key factors in its decline.

Blitz 1UP was started in November 2008 to help smaller studios with the development, testing and distribution of their products.

"We've had some great successes during our time working on this initiative, but unfortunately we haven't consistently reached the levels of success we had hoped to, and sadly we have now closed the programme to new applications," wrote Blitz 1UP producer Neil Holmes on the company's forum.

A major hurdle was Blitz's inability to provide the "big investment" in marketing that every game required to find an audience.

"[We] simply didn't have the resources to cater to that need. So, while we know that the services we provided were useful to everyone we worked with, we understand that they didn't provide exactly what developers needed to guarantee success."

For developers who don't get a shot on Steam it's pretty much game over before they've even started

Neil Holmes, Blitz Games

The other key issue was the dominance of Steam, which the company claims had a 90 per cent share of the market that many of Blitz 1UP's partners were targeting.

"Getting their approval on indie games is difficult and their decision making process can often appear quite random. Even when we have succeeded in getting games on to Steam they've often only stayed on the dashboard for a few days before disappearing into the indie games section, which results in a massive drop in sales."

"You could argue that better marketing support would also help here, but for developers who don't get a shot on Steam it's pretty much game over before they've even started."

Steam's presence in the PC digital distribution market is attracting an increasing number of critics, but it will soon be under pressure from EA's new Origin distribution service.

Blitz is hoping to address the "shortcomings" of Blitz 1UP with IndieCity.com, an online "rallying point for indie fans to gather and discover great indie games."

The site will feature a recommendation engine that will personalise the front page for each user. It will also include all of the games released under the Blitz 1UP programme.

"[Blitz 1UP] doesn't rely on top 10 lists of what's hot or what's selling... It will also provide powerful community tools through blogs, forums, achievements and global leaderboards to help keep indie fans coming back for more. We'll be doubling down to ensure that it's a roaring success."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.