Games Marketing/Business

Why Indies Rule: An FTL Purchase Mistake

Years ago, I had a girlfriend who loved The Sims. She had the original game, plus a bunch of expansions. It represented quite a financial investment at a few hundred dollars.

Then she got a Mac when her PC died. Fortunately, The Sims has a Mac port.

Unfortunately, EA didn’t do the Mac port, and she was told that she would have to repurchase the game and the expansions for the Mac if she wanted to be able to play on her new computer.

Suffice it to say, she decided not to go that route.

Another time, I purchased a copy of an Activision game through a used music store. When I got home, I found out that the game needed a key, and apparently my used copy didn’t have a key. Activision’s support said they couldn’t provide another, so I was apparently out of luck. Now, say what you want about whether or not buying the game used was a smart thing to do in the first place, but the point was that I bought a game and couldn’t play it.

Fast-forward to today. I’ve been seeing some great reports about the game FTL, a space-based roguelike by Subset Games. They had a successful Kickstarter campaign, did well in the IGF, and seem to have quite a fan-base. Jay Barnson mentioned FTL in his Innovation Spotlight series, and they’ve gotten quite a bit of press elsewhere, too.

And then on Google+, I’ve seen a few screenshots, and so I decided to get it myself.

I saw that they offer a few ways to purchase the game. You could buy it on the site directly, through Steam, or through

As Steam isn’t available for Linux yet, I opted to buy through GOG, as I have a bit of a library on that site, and I liked the idea that I could download it anytime I wanted.

Unfortunately, as soon as I submitted my purchase, I realized my mistake. While FTL is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, GOG only provides the Windows version.

Nooooooooooooooooo! And I wasn’t the only one who made that mistake, based on this thread on the GOG forums: Request for GOG: Linux+Mac versions as extra

So what could I do?

Well, rather than cancel my purchase, I emailed the developers directly. I explained that I made a mistake and wondered if I would be able to get access to the Linux version. I thought that the worst that could happen is that I’d have to cancel my purchase through GOG and repurchase through the FTL site, but maybe there wouldn’t be a need for such ceremony.

The next morning, I woke up to find an email from one of the developers, who provided a link to get the Linux version.

w00t! Indies rule!

This is the kind of simple yet great service that indies can easily provide.

And so this first FTL death is dedicated to Subset Games:

My First FTL Game Over


Do you have any stories about great service from indie game developers?

2 replies on “Why Indies Rule: An FTL Purchase Mistake”

This isn’t so much customer service, but I did recently find myself with $10 burning a hole in my pocket. I had long considered finally buying Mass Effect for the PC, but changed my mind and bought an indie game called “Thomas Was Alone” instead. Why? Because I could purchase the game directly from the developer’s website, and the transaction felt more personal.

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