Steamforged Games Ltd. is launching a new program that offers game stores a 40% commission on referral sales through its online store, and in a unique twist, is offering stores the same commission on all future purchases made by that customer from the online store, as long as the customer had not previously shopped there.

Retailers that want to participate in what Steamforged is calling its Retailer Friendly Affiliate Program sign up with the company and receive a referral link to the online store, which the game store can then use to promote purchases on its behalf.  Purchases made by customers who haven’t previously made purchases from the Steamforged online store are commissioned at a 40% rate in perpetuity.

Steamforged explained the rationale for the perpetual commission.  "We know that retailers are concerned about losing customers to publishers," the company said in its announcement.  "So, even if they don’t use your link again, you’ll always get 40% commission on any online purchase they make."

Customers referred from a game store will receive a 5% discount from list prices in the Steamforged online store to offset shipping costs, which they would not experience if they purchased games through the referring store.

The program is only open to U.S. retailers for a three month test period.  If it's successful, the term will be extended and the territories increased.  If not, Steamforged will stop taking new referrals but will continue to pay commissions to retailers for new customers referred to the Steamforged online store during the trial.  

Previous programs to support retailers through commissions on online sales during the coronavirus crisis, for example the one begun by Japanime Games in March (see "Japanime Games to Paypal 50% of Onlne Pruchases to Stores"), have focused on the customer, asking the purchaser to name the store to which it would like the commission directed.  The Steamforged program is more of a straight affiliate program, with the added twist of the perpetual commissions.