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Sanctum 2 for Windows PC sales represent 95 percent of total revenue, console ports 'a bad idea'

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Windows PC sales represented 95 percent of the total revenue for Coffee Stain Studio's first-person tower defense game, Sanctum 2, developer Johannes Aspeby revealed in a postmortem on Gamasutra.

"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," Aspeby wrote. "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."

Sanctum 2 launched on Xbox Live Arcade and Windows PC on May 15, with a PlayStation Network version following shortly after. The game is a sequel to the 2011's Sanctum, where players take on the role of an elite soldier tasked with protecting the town of Elysion One from alien creatures. According to Aspeby, a third of the development for the programmers was spent on consoles.

"Unfortunately the payoff hasn't been anywhere near the work. Seeing all your hard work resulting in sales that don't come near the effort is very demoralizing," he wrote. He added that the team didn't consider doing DLC for PS3 because of "abysmal sales" and shouldn't have concentrated on Xbox 360 DLC version due to poor performance on the platform.

"One of our arguments for continuing working on the DLC was that we already had done so much work for it," Aspeby wrote. "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."

He discussed that developing Sanctum 2 for consoles was a double edged sword with crunch periods in the last months of development due to hard deadlines and failing to fulfill all the TRC/TCR's. Although, he notes that the game is much more stable thanks to developing port and were able "to lower the PC-requirements with quite a lot because of the harsh testing and optimizing."

"Since the consoles weren't able to deliver the game we wanted them too, the game had to take some hard punches," Aspeby explained. "Limitations on how many enemies we could have and introducing a tower cap wasn't something we wanted to introduce, but were forced to since we couldn't release a different version of the game on Steam. Our core vision of the game was getting in trouble here, and there was nothing we could do about it."

Aspeby highlights other development aspects in the postmortem, such as concerns with downloadable content, planning for change and diversification, external TCR/TRC testing, creating environments and listening to player feedback and game support after release.

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