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Valve working to fix Greenlight bottlenecks

Valve working to fix Greenlight bottlenecks

Thu 29 Aug 2013 5:27pm GMT / 1:27pm EDT / 10:27am PDT
RetailPublishing

Steam curation process marks first anniversary by approving 100 new titles; Gabe Newell says there's still a ways to go

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of Steam's Greenlight selection process, and Valve marked the occasion by approving another 100 games to be sold on the digital storefront. This latest batch of approvals is intended to stress-test the system--having dozens and dozens of developers using Valve's backend tools at once as they prep their titles for launch--but also to mark the progress that has been made in streamlining the Greenlight process.

"Ultimately our goal is to have no bottlenecks at all between developers and consumers," Valve head Gabe Newell said in a statement. "As we move closer to that, launching Greenlight and evolving our backend toolset has helped us increase our publishing throughput, pushing the number of independent titles released in the last 12 months to equal the number of titles published from all other categories combined. We expect that number to grow dramatically as we continue to iterate upon our developer service features and seek more ways to improve Steam's value to the community."

Among the games approved in the latest Greenlight batch were Jane Jensen's Gray Matter, Xbox Live Indie Games standout Escape Goat, and Precursor Games' unsuccessful Kickstarter project, Shadow of the Eternals. Though all are now greenlit for inclusion in Steam's library, they will only be released as they are completed and developers integrate whatever Steam features they deem appropriate.

A full list of the 100 games is available on Steam's official site. To date, 260 titles have made it through the Greenlight process.

7 Comments

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
Surely it can't be just me that thinks they should take the wall down, publish everything and let the people decide what games they should see? Who loses? I mean, the app store and google play, they never worked out huh.

And this is PC we're talking about. If they went about it properly, they could make the itunes app store look like a mom and pop grocers.

(disclosure: I have an app on greenlight that will never make it. Largely because I'm too busy trying to finish it to be able to pimp it to a new audience all day.)

Posted:7 months ago

#1

Carlos Bordeu
Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder

57 70 1.2
Paul, I disagree. If Valve opens the gate to any projects it will probably affect them negatively. The average Steam consumer isn't like the mobile one... you cannot just compare to the app store or google play as if they where an equivalent. Steam gamers are much more "hardcore gamers" and I think we would see a fair bunch of them walking away from the service if it gets cluttered with games they don't like.

I think that one of Steam's strengths is that they have managed to cater to very dedicated gamers who spend a lot on games. A very high percentage / majority of the Steam consumers are "whales" by mobile standards (people spending a lot on games). I think one of the reasons those gamers are there is because they know only 'good stuff' is in the catalogue. I know this is a pretty crude generalization *there is some pretty bad stuff in there*... but you're not going to find 20 different fart apps in Steam.

The majority of the people on Steam already say they don't have enough time to play all the games they purchase. I doubt opening the gates will attract more new consumers, so at best the only thing that will happen is that it'll piss off a lot of existing loyal customers.

This is not me defending Greenlight BTW. I agree the system isn't perfect.

Posted:7 months ago

#2

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
I guess I can see that, but there aren't any fart apps coming out on the appstore now either - those days are long gone.

A couple of grand for a "sales license" would keep the chancers out, which is something I've been advocating on mobile for some time now.

Trying to put my bias aside, the main problem I see with greenlight as it stands now is that the games that get on don't have to be the best games, just be from popular developers. That does kinda insure quality in a way, but it also means that unheard of PC developers with a good product don't stand a cat in hells chance. Which makes greenlight itself almost pointless.

Posted:7 months ago

#3

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

787 931 1.2
Here's another idea:

You could argue that because our game isn't going to get greenlit, that there's no point continuing with it there as if they did pull it out as a favour then those same non-greenlighters wouldn't buy it anyway, and I get that too. A bit like a failed kickstarter. But most Steam regulars (of which I'm one) don't go to the greenlight pages much anyway, they're their to buy games not make investments.

But what I reallly need is their payment processor and download servers. Selling our game from a random domain name and paypal looks mickey mouse and will cost us a fortune in hosting. If I could just use their tools that'd do me, and they score 30% from every sale for their part. Maybe after they see us doing $50K they give it a page in the shop and make it a full blown Steam member.

That's win-win - they get more money without risking poor games in their browser, and they replace greenlight with something that monitors actual performance of the game in the market, not the ability of the developer to smile in front of their camera.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 31st August 2013 8:03am

Posted:7 months ago

#4

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,020 0.7
@ Paul

I believe Gabe Newell is trying to push the Steam API towards a situation where users curate items (Steam Workshop creations, games, software), so that they act as "specialists". They'll earn a reputation in a certain field (like being able to pick out the best Civ mods), and people will follow them because they "know" quality. So, in this sense, they are trying to tear down the wall, but it has to be done in stages, otherwise, as Carlos says, it'll just annoy users.

Regarding this point:
the main problem I see with greenlight as it stands now is that the games that get on don't have to be the best games, just be from popular developers.
There's two things. One is that this is true of companies which have publishing deals with Steam. This, for instance: http://store.steampowered.com/app/224340/?snr=1_7_7_151_150_1 does not look like a quality product, but it's published by Activision... So it's on Steam. The other thing is that, certainly for first-time projects, it's hard to draw a line between the popularity and PR-competence of the developer, and how interesting their game appears.

Posted:7 months ago

#5
After one year being on GL with a small and humble game, we finally decided to plug it out this morning (we were 45% away from TOP 100). Despite more than 200 good comments, I feel there is too much work on the system for games which are out of mainstream genres and which are lacking of exposure to get greenlit (which was our case).As early adopters of the system I feel sad and angry about it. Not because of the failure of our project but instead because of the lost potential. To me it almost feels like GL is the upcoming App Store: mega publishing houses (injecting ton of money in marketing and controling the flux of downloads for a short amount of time) and crappy games are making 98% of the fight. Steam deserves better than that.

I'm following Paul on this, it is much better to build up your own audience, see if you can get some downloads/sales and then go back and talk to Steam (or use their architecture).

Hey Paul, alternatives to Steam also exists. SendOwnl have provided a secure and robust transaction system for the crowdfunding of Prison Architect. I guess this is something worth looking at.

Posted:7 months ago

#6

Carlos Bordeu
Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder

57 70 1.2
"Maybe after they see us doing $50K they give it a page in the shop and make it a full blown Steam member." <- That's a pretty interesting proposition. Maybe that would work.

Posted:7 months ago

#7

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