After Pokémon Go's world domination, it would seem common sense for aspiring game developers to try to replicate that success. Apparently not.

"One thing people don't realise is that there are so many developers," says rising New Zealand developer Henry Winder. "So many games go into the App Store every single day. If you don't break into the Top 100 in the first few days, your game is just dead in the water."

For Winder and his fellow graduates from the Media Design School, their focus is purely on creating games for PC and consoles. The clueless may think that's old news, but it's proved a success already.

Last year, when Winder, 23, launched his Western shooter SkyNoon on Steam, it made the site's Top 100 within two days. His classmates Dan Southon, 21, saw similar success with gravity-defying GyroMag, which achieved the same feat in six days.


"It feels pretty cool," Winder says of their success. "Last week we played our games for the first time on Steam, and when your game title pops up on your game profile, it's a whole other story."

Being successful on Steam is no easy task. The site is a global marketplace for PC games worldwide, both amateur and professional. It is one of the top 200 most-visited websites in the world.

The Greenlight feature allows developers the opportunity to gauge interest in a project by releasing it to play for free. Players then vote for their favourite games, and it's through this feature the Kiwi developers have seen success.

"With PC and computer games, it's easier to stand out. You can create your own niche in there," Winder explains.

"People aren't willing to spend money on a mobile game, but they are happy to put a few dollars upfront for a PC game."

Putting the games on Steam has given the boys access to a much larger marketplace than what's available to them in New Zealand.

"We're currently running beta signups for our games, and the top countries where we're getting signups are the US, Russia and Poland," Winder says.

It's an opportunity that wouldn't be possible without their chosen course.

The Game Development programme at the Media Design School has given them the opportunity to spend an entire year working on a game without worrying about the cost.

The teachers there aren't afraid to give their students some honest lessons about the industry.

"A big part of the learning (process) is, 'Your ideas are shit'. Just because you thought of it once doesn't make it good," programme leader Himanshu Khanna explains.

Instead, the students are given the opportunity to plot multiple ideas before picking the best and working intensively on it.

It can be a strenuous process, but it all becomes worthwhile when the students get to show their games to the world - such as at the Pax Expo in Melbourne, where the queues for games stretched outside the booths.

"We had one guy run around the convention for all three days telling people to come and try the game," Southon says. "It's heartwarming to see a game you've spent so long on received like that."

Both are talking to developers and looking to make their games better, with their experience on Steam making that process easier and faster on both sides.

Yet the biggest satisfaction so far has come through knowing people actually like their work.

"You make a game for yourself," Winder explains. "That's what we all set out to do, to make a game we would want to play. And then you take it to Pax or Armageddon and hundreds of people want to play it.

"It's a really cool experience."