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Revisiting Greenlight


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

Developers who have recently been Greenlighted

David Pittman: What I would like to see is for Greenlight to change from a per-project approval process to a per-company approval process. Right now, if a team has a wildly successful Greenlight campaign (for example, what just happened with Ikaruga), it stands to reason that their next game will do similarly well.

But what about an up-and-coming developer whose project lingers in Greenlight limbo for months? No one wants to go through that again. My proposal is that any developer whose first project is Greenlit would be whitelisted, able to release new titles on Steam on their own schedule.

Ultimately, the question I keep coming back to about Greenlight is this: who does a "curated" list of popular games help?

Brad Carney: Ultimately, I think Greenlight still has the fundamental problem of finding gems that haven't yet built an audience. It's not as severe now due to more games getting through, but still exists to some degree. I don't think you can solve that with an algorithm.

Kevin Cerda: Greenlight is definitely a good idea, but I don't believe that it's working like it should be. It's impossible to reach a wide audience through it, because people usually use Steam only to buy and play games, and they are not interested on spending time checking hundreds of projects to vote them.

Basically, you need to bring people from the outside, which means that Greenlight doesn't help you at all during the process of making your game known. And your game needs to be known, because alpha versions of zombie shooters featuring sexy nurses driving chainsaw-bikes are more likely to get votes than the average extra-polished indie game.

On the other hand, I don't believe that Greenlight should be called "the only way to reach Steam." It is not. Everyday there's indie studios listing their own games with a publisher, or even by their own. Basically, things are a little bit messy right now. You can try to reach Valve and they may choose to directly list your game on Steam without Greenlight but, if you decide to try on Greenlight, then you can forget about publishing it with a different method. Basically, Valve's policy right now is: If you get on Greenlight, you need to be greenlit to get out.

Both methods should coexist at the same time. Greenlight is meant to be a tool to help indies get their games on Steam, so it doesn't make any sense that, in case you find a big publisher, you can't publish your game just because it's already on Greenlight.

Pietro Righi Riva: I am very intrigued by the new model Valve is preparing for their game distribution. I think they are shifting the curatorial aspect of Steam away from the "game approval" system and towards a dynamic, multi-storefronts system, potentially tailored to specific players.

Greenlight is apparently just an experimental, transitioning solution, and as such it's hard to criticize, because we really don't know what is going to happen with greater numbers of games being added to Steam. I just hope there are always going to be better and better ways for players to find games that appeal to their tastes (something that is especially crucial to indies, because of the themes and aesthetics we often embrace).

Giorgio Ciapponi: It's like having to secure a deal to sell your product by showing a picture of it to the public in a catalog, instead of going with your prototype to the distributor and talk about it. It just isn't fair -- somebody is going to have a hideous looking prototype with revolutionary functionality, while somebody else is going to show a mind-blowingly drawn notepad sketch of a worthless item. That is (sadly) the norm when marketing your game, but on a business-to-business level, I can't see how this can be beneficial to anyone.

Davioware: At the beginning, Valve was way too slow in accepting games, but recently they picked up the pace to an acceptable level in my opinion. Greenlight isn't perfect, but it's better than the acceptance process was before.

TowerClimb

What could Valve be doing at this point to make Greenlight better?

Developers hoping to be Greenlighted

Ryan Creighton: I have heard that Valve may open up Steam to be more like the Humble widget, where anyone can host a store, and any game can get on the service. This is a really interesting idea. If that happened, I can see YouTube celebrities imbued with an immense amount of power, as they review and curate games for their own stores, and become those tastemakers that Valve really needs to be.

Consider it: if you're an adventure game fan like I am, wouldn't you buy every g-d adventure game you found posted to a Tim Schafer- or Ron Gilbert-curated Steam store? This would add a very Ebert-like celebrity angle to game curation, and it could be really interesting. You'd have respected people going to bat for small, interesting games like Spellirium, and bringing them to audiences who otherwise would have missed them.

Ian MacLarty: I do think it's wonderful that Valve are experimenting with ways of opening up Steam to more developers. I think they will continue to try new things and I'm intrigued by some of the ideas they've hinted at, such as user-curated stores.

I can also understand them not wanting to just open the floodgates immediately. I would prefer a more open Steam and I think they're moving in that direction. A completely open Steam will make discoverability more of an issue, but I think that's a much more tractable problem for developers to deal with.


Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

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