You might be familiar with Kongregate for its browser games portal, or its mobile games. Now the company has plans to take on the likes of Steam with its own indie-focused PC games retail portal.
Called Kartridge, it’s due to launch this summer, offering a range of pricing models including direct payment, free-to-play and Humble Bundle-style pay-what-you-want. Like Kongregate, the online retail hub will encourage social interactivity and feature an achievements program, from which discounts and deals can be earned.
Kongregate launched as an advertising revenue-based browser gaming destination in 2006, expanding into mobile in 2013. In recent years, much of its business has been freemium-based, but CEO Emily Greer told Polygon she wants to embrace indie “premium” games.
Developers will pay standard industry margins, but with bonus terms that will be especially attractive to smaller developers, according to Greer.
“Our initial plan is that the first $10,000 in net revenue, one hundred percent will go to the developer, and after that, we’ll go to [30 percent retail margin],” Greer said. “We think that for smaller developers especially, that first 10,000 in revenue is really important.” (Kongregate late clarified that the offer is only applicable to games uploaded before Oct. 31, 2018.) Exclusive deals will also come with “more favorable” revenue share models.
She said the company will use its experience working with developers for the last ten years especially in the areas of discovery algorithms and micro-targeting.
”We have 120,000 games on Kongregate,” Greer said. “We have a lot of experience with the kind of content glut that we see other platforms dealing with. We know how to make sure the right games bubble to the top.”
Kongregate regularly ports successful browser games to mobile, so it’s likely that this sort of transference will continue to downloadable games. “We’re working with the developers who we have established relationships with, in order to bring them into the fold,” she said.
Asked about how Kartridge will differ from market-leader Steam, Greer said, “We’re not coming in just to build another store. No-one needs that. This is about building a platform that is focused on creating a very fair and supportive environment for indie developers.”
”We have a different point of view from Steam on a lot of things,” she said, adding that the new service will focus on “community and social.”
”We want to make it feel like a platform that is open and inviting to all and doesn’t take an approach of everything is black and guns are the first thing you see.”
Greer said that Twitch-style video streaming will likely be added to the service some time after launch. “It’s in the design of what we’re thinking.” A teaser video for Kartridge was released this morning.