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Revisiting Greenlight


November 5, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 6 Next
 

Developers who have recently been Greenlighted

David and Kyle Pittman, Minor Key Games (Eldritch): I've got mixed feelings about Greenlight despite our recent success, so I'll try to articulate those thoughts clearly. I uploaded Eldritch to Greenlight on September 9, and it was selected just over three weeks later on October 2.

The Greenlight selection process is opaque, sometimes frustratingly so. When Eldritch was selected as one of 32 titles in the October 2 batch, it was not actually among the top 32 ranked games. (I believe it was #48, but I have no way to verify this anymore.)

I can hypothesize about why it was selected despite its ranking -- the amount of press we received, our background in triple-A games, and the fact that Eldritch was a finished game approaching its release date may all have been factors -- but the truth is, I don't know. It was good for us that Eldritch was selected, but that also means some higher-ranked games were passed over with no explanation.

More frustrating is that some indie games apparently continue to bypass Greenlight despite Valve's insistence that Greenlight is the only process.

Brad Carney, Final Boss Entertainment (Wrack): We were on Greenlight for a little over a year (mid-September 2012 to mid-October 2013). For a long time, we just weren't getting any traction. Typically, with each batch we'd lose ground because more games would leapfrog us than where Greenlit.

We knew we had to do something, and that's when we pretty much shut everything down publicly and geared up for a large publicity push with a hugely updated version of Wrack -- hoping that would put us over the top.

But then everything changed. Valve started Greenlighting far more games than it had been -- starting with the massive batch of 100. Our publicity push was no longer necessary, and we were Greenlit shortly thereafter. I really thought it would (and perhaps should) have taken the publicity push to put us over the top, but was pleasantly surprised that it didn't.

Kevin Cerda, BeautiFun Games (Nihilumbra): It was absolutely tough. We entered Greenlight almost at the same time it was created, which means that we've been there for one year, and it seemed impossible to get ourselves greenlit. Luckily, Steam started approving hundreds of games and the necessary amount of votes to climb in the ranks started to drop.

During this year we did everything we could to get on Steam, but it's really hard to win a popularity contest like that if you are trying to sell your first game. You need to build a community out of nowhere just to be able to sell your game and that can take a lot of time and work.

Pietro Righi Riva, Santa Ragione (Fotonica): Fotonica had been on Greenlight a little less than a year when it was greenlit last month. It was definitely tough, although after the initial posting and updates we didn't actively promote it.

I think Greenlight has changed a lot since then (I think when we set up Fotonica Greenlight had only been around for a couple of months), and if we were to put the game on now, with the more generous Greenlight batches and in the light of our latest release, MirrorMoon EP, it would take much less time. 

Fotonica

Giorgio Ciapponi, Playstos Entertainment (Real World Racing): Real World Racing had been on the platform for 14 months, all the way from a couple of weeks after Greenlight's debut.

That was definitely too long. While our game was already in playable and evaluable state back then, as the time went by we managed to get out and update a demo a couple of times, transitioning to beta, set up our own online play servers, secure publishing on several digital delivery platforms and launch the actual game. Each of these steps would have been different if we knew Real World Racing would eventually be released on Steam.

I can't see many reasons behind such a long wait, which could have been assessed by a Valve internal review of our game. I understand the rationale behind Greenlight: see if there is enough public interest in a game to warrant an internal review in the first place. This however doesn't take into account two important matters:

  • The target audience for the game, which has higher chances of succeeding Greenlight if it matches Greenlight's own audience and arguably doesn't relate to projected sales or even the quality and value of the game itself.
  • How far the game is in its development: Games in early stages are more difficult to evaluate and may not be completed for a very long time, overshadowing titles nearing completion, or even already released.

While we are obviously more than happy having succeeded our own Greenlight campaign, all in all we can't say our experience has been positive or fair, and we can't see how this can be considered working well for any of the parties involved. It would be interesting for Valve to reveal some hard data on how well greenlit games are faring once on the store and how sales correlates to their prior Greenlight performance.

Davioware (TowerClimb): TowerClimb was on Greenlight a year and two months. I put it up as soon as Greenlight started, so the initial rush helped out a lot with visibility. Now, with so many games on there, it's a bit tougher to get visibility without outside advertising. I feel the time was lengthy, but I didn't advertise as much as the games which were accepted earlier, so that's to be expected. 


Article Start Previous Page 2 of 6 Next

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