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Steam Greenlight: Thoughts Post-Launch

Steam Greenlight launched last week. For our studio, this was a big deal. This post summarizes my thoughts and how Greenlight affects my studio's game as well as some of the seeming trends on the platform.

Matt Tanner, Blogger

September 4, 2012

3 Min Read

It was an interesting long weekend. While some people might have been off to cottages and others simply enjoying the great weather we happened to have here in Ottawa, I found myself refreshing a web page every couple of hours. In case you're wondering why I'd so something like that - Steam Greenlight launched this weekend. If you've been following our studio's blog over the last little while, you'd know that this was a big deal for us.

We posted Windforge on the platform on Friday afternoon. Greenlight officially launched on Thursday, but we decided we'd rather take a bit of time to polish up some screenshots, a pre-alpha trailer and the description. Come Friday, we were happy we waited. Support has been very positive and *fingers crossed* so far, troll-free. However, the goal of getting "greenlit" for Steam seems pretty daunting. There's a couple of things that make the platform intimidating right now:

Pros & Cons of Greenlight, so far
Pro - Lack of Shovelware: One big positive note is that the community is very quick to dismiss "shovelware" and otherwise low-quality titles. Anything that looks like it could be the "mobile game clone x" quickly disappears and thankfully, seems to attract most of the troll-type comments.

UPDATE: Valve is now charging a $100 one-time "fee" (donation to Child's Play) to submit a game to Greenlight. This is in response to the many "joke" titles submitted to the platform.

Pro - Discoverability: When signing into the platform, users are presented with a page of "top" games to rate. Once rated, the game disappears from the available games to rate (and instead is moved to the "Games you've rated" category). This gives a chance for other games to make their way in front of users. Users can rate every single game on Greenlight, if they so choose. While the fact that there are several hundred games on the platform makes it difficult for certain games to be discovered, they at least have a fighting chance compared to mobile app stores, for example.

Con - Genres: Many of the best-performing games on the platform so far seem to feature one of three things: zombies (or survival-horror), pixel art, or aliens. As of this writing, a little more than half of the games on the front page feature one or more of these themes. It makes it difficult to gauge how excited users are for Windforge - which features none of these. Likewise, there are some awesome games that feature none of them either, but it seems they don't appeal to the mainstream "Call of Duty" crowd as much.

Con - View Counts: From what I've seen, it takes the equivalent of 1 million views (assuming a good amount of people up-vote the game) in order to reach 100%, although Valve hasn't announced the official requirements. Over the long weekend, we've accumulated about 5,000 views and 380 favorites: needless to say, it's a negligible amount. Worse yet, it seems the only games getting six-digit views fall into the genres mentioned above.

Overall, I feel as though it will be an uphill battle to make significant headway on Greenlight. The great response to Windforge has been a huge push in the right direction, but there's a ton of work to come. Or... we could:


What do you think of Greenlight? Is it a blessing or a curse for indie developers?

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