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I'm ending my campaign on Steam Greenlight. Here's why!

A brief look at one indie dev's experience with a botched Greenlight launch, and what can be done to salvage the situation.

This is cross-posted from my website.

Yes it’s true!  As I just announced on Twitter moments ago, I will be ending the Steam Greenlight campaign for Endless Reach today, October 14th.

First, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support thus far.  It’s been truly exciting and enlightening to bring this game to you all, and I’ve felt very blessed to have received the response I have.

Endless Reach is a game that I’ve built mostly for myself.  It’s a game that I simply want to play.  But I’ve also built it as an exploration into alternate perspectives in virtual reality.  To show others that VR is capable of more than just a first person perspective.  Games already encompass so many different perspectives, and they have a multitude of mechanics that are made possible because of that.  I believe that in the future, the alternate perspective in virtual reality is a technique we must master, if we are to continue making games as diverse as they are today.

Admittedly, I may not have done the best job at communicating that vision with Endless Reach.  My inexperience in game development definitely shows, as this is only my second game ever (first in Unity).  I’ve learned an incredible amount this year working on this project, and I’m getting better at it every day.

So I’ll be the first to say it:  I totally botched the launch of Endless Reach on Steam Greenlight.  The game went live on that service quite literally 100 days ago, right as I released the mobile prototype, and when there was not yet a VR version for players to see.  I launched on Greenlight with all of the content available from the mobile prototype, with no mention of the VR version whatsoever.  While that was great and all, a simple mobile game is far from what the Steam audience is looking for, and it heavily reflected in the feedback I received during that first week.  While I did manage to get better results once I released and began promoting the VR beta, I had already used up my first impression, where the attention is high as you hang out on the “Recent Submissions” page.

After looking at the numbers 100 days later, we’re still only 20% of the way into the top 100 games.  That’s much too far away from being Greenlit.  Still, about 1 in 5 voters said they’d buy our game if it were on Steam, which I actually think is really good.  Considering I’m an unknown developer with an unknown IP, I’m pretty happy with 1 in 5.

Either way, Endless Reach is still really far off from being Greenlit.  The game definitely needs a boost somewhere, and without some major press coverage, being Greenlit may never happen.  To that end, I’ve decided the simplest thing for me to do is to end the Greenlight campaign, remove the listing, and re-launch on Greenlight a few months down the road when the game is nearing completion.  This is also the time where the rest of the marketing plan would kick into high gear, and hopefully whatever press I can drum up will help drive far more views to the page that I could get now.  Under that strategy, I’d at least be able to get an extra round of visibility, and the opportunity to more effectively show what the project truly is.

I’m not exactly convinced this is the best thing to do (oh no, I lose all my current votes!), but I’ve not really been able to find much data on indies who have re-launched Greenlight campaigns.  So I figure there’s only one way to find out!  It’d be nice to hear some other dev’s experience with it, and how well it worked for them.  If you’ve done such a thing, definitely drop me a line!

Either way, I’ll be re-launching the campaign as the game gets closer to completion.  Endless Reach is still a project I’m very much in love with, and honestly, I’m probably about 60% of the way done with the game.  Development won’t be stopping, and neither will the pace.  In fact, I’m hoping to accelerate things just to move it out the door, so I can get to working on some other projects I have in mind.  Expect to see things start back up some time near the end of the year!

Thanks again to everyone who has voted for Endless Reach on Steam Greenlight.  All 1,073 of you!  I hope to deliver to you a more excellent VR experience very soon!

If you'd like to check out the game yourself, it's beta is currently free for all Oculus Rift users.  You can download the beta via the following links:

If you enjoyed this post, maybe you'd like to follow me on Twitter!  You can also connect with me on Reddit, and discuss all things Endless Reach on the game's official subreddit.

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