Barnard's Star for Steam cancelled - long live Barnard's Star on Mobile

Lincoln Bergeson

Feb 14, 2022

After the success of our private beta for iOS and Android, we’ve decided to release Barnard’s Star as a mobile-only game, and not list it on any PC storefronts such as Steam.

This was a big decision – I’ll walk you through the reasoning why.

The core experience in Barnard’s Star is taking a single turn in an online async multiplayer game. The success of our game will largely rely on having an active community of people who will take turns consistently and quickly. If a large enough group of people DON’T do this, the rate of games that get abandoned will cross a tipping point, community sentiment will tank, and we’ll be unable to attract new players.

What does this have to do with PC?

Well, when we demoed Barnard’s Star at the Steam Games Festival last year, we found that even with Steam notifications, the game abandonment rate was too high to sustain an active community.

Due to its asynchronous nature, games in Barnard’s Star can be long or short, fast paced action or deadlocked war of attrition. Active players open the app multiple times throughout the day, and play for just a few minutes at a time. No one really plays Steam games this way.

Think about it – how many people fire up Steam several times each day, for only 5 minutes each time? Some do, but we don’t believe the quantity of those players would outweigh the negative network effects of those with a more sporadic and longer-duration playing pattern.

Barnard’s Star is notification driven. If you’re like me, you have never allowed a single app on your computer to send you notifications that you actually check throughout the day. It’s just not the way we’re used to using PCs.

We know many of you may be disappointed by this. We hope you’ll stick with us as we work to deliver an even better experience on mobile phones. In fact, if you’re not part of the private beta already, you can join our Discord and download it today.

Thanks for reading, and see you on the battlefield!

©2022 Pollywog Games