1. Definition
  2. Games
    1. Overgrowth
    2. Natural Selection 2
    3. Amnesia
    4. Driftmoon
    5. Cortex Command
    6. Minecraft
  3. Summary
  4. Sources
  5. Questions and Answers


Open Development means:

  • Detailed discussion of the development process and
  • Release of playable versions during development

The following games' usage of Open Development Marketing overlaps, but I will only present one aspect per project.


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Physics-Based Ninja Rabbit Combat by Wolfire (5 people)

  • Pre-order costs $30 (€23) and gives access to weekly game/editor alpha releases
  • Releases are announced through blog posts and gameplay videos

Natural Selection 2

Marines vs. Aliens Team-Play by Unknown Worlds (4 people)

  • Current programming/gameplay milestone task lists is publicly visible
  • Transparent progress leads to trust

NS2 Task Lists


Adventure Survival Horror by Frictional Games (2 people)

  • Suspension and story was not discussed in detail during development
  • General horror game design and writing was discussed instead

"How the player becomes the protagonist"
"Exploring Deeper Meaning In Games"
"Why Horror Games Suck!"
Some Frictional Blog Post Titles


Adventure RPG by Instant Kingdom (2 people's side project)

  • People who pre-order receive "a better chance to voice out your own ideas on the direction of the game and the modding tools"
  • Forum members can take part in development through discussion (eg. a health bar idea thread)

Driftmoon's Script Editor

Cortex Command

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Side-Scrolling Action by Data Realms (4 people)

  • New releases are constantly added
  • Mechanics mockups and concept art get released before implementation

Fortress Concept Art


Sandbox Building by Mojang (6 people)

  • Blog posts are mainly release announcements
  • 984,919 sales as of Jan 10, 2011


  • Original intellectual property
  • In-house engines
  • Independent developers
  • Digital distribution

Pricing strategies:
  • Increasing price comes closer to release
  • Campaigns like packs and temporary discounts

Sequel vs. Shareware:
  • Many openly developed games are sequels
  • Games by "virgin" developers are offered as shareware

  • NS2: 23,000 pre-orders ($800,000) have been sold up to Jan 2011
  • Amnesia: 200,000 sales, four months after release in Sep 2010

  • Non-constructive criticism


Open Development (Marketing) Definition:


Natural Selection 2

  • Unknown Worlds Website
  • E-mail (Jan 8, 2011): "We are now up to $802k in 22,937 copies (as of this e-mail). We have gotten funding from angel investors and through pre-sales through our community but our pre-sales have outweighed the investment at this point (and continue helping us going forward). The 10k units only counts units sold in the closed beta (and we haven't hit that yet but we're close).

    That's fine if you want to publish this data for your talk or to the public. I know how frustrating it was to need data like this when we were starting the company and not being able to find it anywhere. Good luck."

    Many thanks to Unknown Worlds for their support!
  • NS2 Progress
  • Organic Indie Preorder Pack Postmortem



Cortex Command


Questions and Answers

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