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How Steam Greenlight is horrible (Part 1 - Submission)

Steam Greenlight may looks nice on the paper but it's in fact horrible. In this series of post, I will try to explain why, and how to find a solution about.

Pierre Chevalier, Blogger

April 7, 2015

3 Min Read

Everything starts with the 100$ "charity" fee that you are forced to pay to only have the rights to submit your game to Steam Greenlight, regardless of if it's quality. According to Valve, this fee is only here to prevent spam and there is absolutely no way to dodge it even with the best game in the world. So even at the beginning, you may already feel that there's something wrong with Greenlight...

Something wrong because Valve is one of the richest company in the video game industry with 2.6 billions dollars of total equity, and it's seems that they can't afford to hire 3 extra guys in their team to check the daily new submissions and remove the jokes and spam. Instead of this they find it would be better to slap you and your wallet and add a bit of humiliation by making the whole process "for charity".

Charity because Valve wants to be always nice and kindly, they say they are not doing this for money since the fee they force you to pay will be donated to their sponsored charity foundation ! However if so, why won't they let people donating by themselves to pay the fee ? Does it have something about tax deduction they want for them ? And that's when you remember about their 2.6 billions dollars of total equity... Great, so they are using new indie developers which are often students in difficult financial situations to get ride of their taxes, duh...

So after passing this humiliating step, you can finally start submitting your game to Steam Greenlight. It's a very comfortable step where basically Steam tell you something like "we have all the time in the world, once you are ready click publish". And it's when you click publish that all the exiting stuffs begin ! Immediately you'll get hundreds of visitors with tons of comments and votes coming ! But that's only the first days ! Because after only 3 days, the average visits you get will fall from thousands of visitors to about 15 visitors peer day. Yes, just this, from the 65 millions of Steam users.

At this stage, you may not knowing it but if your game isn't greenlit, you're going to be in big troubles. Why ? Because with an average of 15 visitors peer day, you'll get about four 'no' votes and if lucky one 'yes' vote. Good luck reaching the top 100 !

You may now ask how the hell is it possible to have so few people at Steam ? Well... It's something complicated, but actually very simple and I'll be frank here. Please take a good breath before reading this : Steam Greenlight is full of shit. Yes, garbage, rubbishes, whatever you call it, very poor made games, many consisting of clones of 16bits RPG or Flash games from the 2000' era of Internet. All this rubbish was before supposed to be contained at Newsground where some people was finding their fun exploring the pool of crap. However, with time the dam of Newsground has broken resulting in a torrent of shit flooding Steam Greenlight, and the fee put by Valve to deduce their taxes couldn't stop anything.

At the beginning (summer 2012), having your game displayed at Steam Greenlight was free and was a guarantee of having a great exposure with more than 40.000 unique visitors in the first week. Today, don't expect no more than 4000 visitors after one month.

And so you have your game sticking here with little to no hope about being greenlit, but that's not all ! Coming soon on the next post ; how the browsing system is broken, annoying and inefficient, how developers have find their ways to cheat the voting system and more !

Thank your for reading ! This is my first post on Gamasutra and I hope I will write some more ! Feel free to tell me what you think about !

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