After seeing the news tweeted by @tha_rami a while back and after reading about the demise of Greenlight on various game related news sites see here and here…I find myself quite sad but also hopeful that Steam’s decision will be a positive one for developers and for the community.
Useful stepping stone
For a 2.5 man indie developer, greenlight was an incredibly “useful stepping stone” in getting The Corridor: On Behalf Of The Dead out there to the gaming community. Without it, we would have struggled to get the early attention it did. I still remember logging in everyday to the greenlight dashboard and checking our item stats, watching the unique visitor count creep up, followed by a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ vote. The process was a strange one as you didn’t really know what your were trying to achieve in terms of figures.What did they mean? Did we need to hit a certain threshold? Even talking with other hopeful developers, no one really seemed to know.
We went on for what seemed like a long time with the same routine, until eventually you log in and are presented with the infamous ‘This game has been Greenlit by the Community!‘ banner. For us, it was a huge deal but we didn’t really know how it had happened, we had achieved over 10, 000 unique visitors, 3,500 votes, 304 followers and hundreds of comments.
Of course Greenlight did have its issues which ranged from developers promising much and delivering less to dwindling votes. These have been talked about a considerable amount over the course of its life and I wont go over old ground here. There are some great articles which cover it, some can be found here , here and here.
Steam are replacing it with Steam Direct, which promises to address these problems. Steam direct is a new direct sign-up system for Developers, they will now “complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account “. Once that’s done they can submit their game for a compatibility test and “pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute.” Steam hope this will increase the quality in their distribution pipeline.
Much has been made of the application fee and what Steam will eventually charge but others argue that more needs to be done such as addressing the discoverability problems.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on how things develop.
– Bye for now.