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Newell: Kickstarter is great, Greenlight needs work

Valve head answers community questions in fan video

Valve's co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell has shared his thoughts on the Kickstarter funding platform, and the success of Greenlight so far, with the Valve community.

“The Kickstarter thing is great,” he said in a video filmed during a community visit to Valve's Seattle HQ.

“If you think of what a publisher's doing, all they're doing is holding onto gamers' money for a little while and then attaching a bunch of strings. You guys should take a seat at a publisher's meeting. It's pretty grim. ”

Newell, leaning against the wall in what appeared to be a corridor, was hopeful that the cutting those publishers out of the process would lead to more varied projects.

“So that's one of the things I think the whole games industry will benefit from, gamers having more control over where money is going in terms of funding projects. There'll still be a bunch of projects that fail, but at least they'll be more interesting failures. And you won't just get the same damn game over and over and over."

Naturally what followed was a discussion around Valve's own publishing platform for Steam, Greenlight.

“Greenlight was trying to do that I don't think we did a super good job. We have a bunch of work to do.”

“First of all, there's way too much between a game developer and getting something on Steam. It's really because we've been kind of stupid about the amount of work we have to do, so just to process everyone applying on Steam is 20 or 30 peoples' work. We need to make that process a lot more efficient.

"Greenlight was trying to do that I don't think we did a super good job. We have a bunch of work to do"

“So Greenlight was more about, 'Why don't you guys choose which one we should turn the crank on', rather than, 'Let's just focus on making turning the crank easy, so that anybody can put it up'. Greenlight is better than nothing but still not where we really want to get to.”

One of the visitors suggested Valve create a platform allowing the community to work together to develop games, instead of just fund them.

"The direction we're headed in right now, not just Valve but everybody... one things you guys may not know is that the community generates about ten times more content for TF2 as Valve does," revealed Newell.

"And even though that's still in a pretty primitive state, my expectation is that all games will basically be about creating a framework where the community builds on top of it. And I think that that means it will end up going in surprising directions and that everybody is going to be happier with the results."

The video also features a discussion on DOTA and the new engine, and can be seen below.

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Latest comments (3)

Nick Parker Consultant 4 years ago
These meetings always make me think how gooey the industry gets when it meets the stars. Gabe only has to say OK and every body laughs.It's a mix of being starstruck, respect, adoration and wow I'm so lucky to be here. In the movie industry, it's the general public who go weak at the knees when it meets Hollywood stars but in our industry most of the general public doesn't know the stars so this level of adoration can only come from within the industry.
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Maarten De Jong Marketing / Research partner, Strategy Guide4 years ago
Just as any other platform where self publishing is easy, Kickstarter and Greenlight will eventually flood with projects/games.
The platformholder (un)intentionally adopts the publishers role in deciding which will get more attention and which can increase the platform's value. So there is certainly diversity, but just as much as the platform will show us.

Once these platforms are flooded, developers should know how to swim to make sure they won't drown in the competition. Or they 'trust' on the platformholder or publisher to help them fload.

I think you need to be on platforms like Kickstarter and Greenlight before they flood. Once it gets crowded, you will have to find other ways to stand out and get the attention on these platforms. If you can't do that yourselves you probably need a good partner which can get the word out. But yeah, partners like publishers will "attach a bunch of strings."

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Maarten De Jong on 14th November 2012 12:03pm

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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 4 years ago
Greenlight is just a vote aggregation system.

They repeatedly cite "efficiency" as some big objective. That's wrong. It's not efficiency you want. It's effectiveness.

It's like finding a mine. The process is utterly inefficient. Prospecting consists of years of tramping around in bushes and swamps, looking for gold. But when you find it, you go all out.

In my opinion, they need to stop spreading themselves thin. They need to take the creative producers' reins, and start to make creative decisions about what needs to go on Steam.

The answer is depth, not breadth.
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