Valve’s brand new Steam Greenlight game selection system (previously announced in July) went live just several days ago, on the 30th. It aims to crowd-source the game screening and selection processes that get games on the Steam Store.
Since Greenlight’s launch, there’s been a lot of talk, a lot of feedback, and a lot of criticism. Chiefly, people are worried about discoverability – the way Greenlight worked and the way it displayed new game submissions left much to be desired. But there were also other problems concerning prank postings; false postings; or postings made by people who weren’t the respective game’s developers/publishers.
But Valve has just shot down two birds with one stone, through a significant update to its framework that went live just some hours ago. Read on!
Submissions of all kinds have been pouring in to Steam Greenlight. As of this post, there are over 700 submissions, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story of what’s being submitted.
Two things we’ve noticed so far. First, there are a ton of legitimate submissions that people want to see. Second, there is unfortunately a significant amount of noise and clutter being submitted, either as a joke or by fans not fully understanding the purpose of Greenlight.
So, with those things in mind, today we’ve made two updates to how Greenlight works.
The first update is a $100 fee for someone to post to Steam Greenlight. The proceeds will be donated to Child’s Play. We have no interest in making money from this, but we do need to cut down the noise in the system. (Note: Anyone who has already posted a submission to Greenlight will not have to retroactively pay for any existing submissions, but will need to do so for any future submissions.)
The second part of this update is to improve your window into Greenlight and help you find “your kind” of games. The next time you visit Steam Greenlight you’ll be shown a smaller, manageable list of games that you haven’t rated. This view is a mix of popular games and new games to Greenlight.
In the end, we’re very interested in maintaining an environment that is fair and beneficial to everyone involved, and one that fun and rewarding to join. And, of course, we’re going to keep iterating on this system and updating as we learn more about how the community and developers want to utilize it.
Be sure to drop in on the discussions or leave a comment below and tell us what you think.
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Well, there you have it!
I will first touch on the most important element of this update: the mandatory posting fee.
This is something that a lot of folks were discussing right after Greenlight’s launch, and I was not at all surprised to see Valve actually implementing it, because it’s really the best way to ensure that only devs who are absolutely serious about getting on Steam can post their game on Greenlight. And that should always be the case, for Steam is the world’s biggest gaming digital distribution network. Really, I think developers should treat Steam distribution as something to work towards, not a mere entry-level roadbump – and the higher fee accomplishes that. And it’s also a great way to ensure that less junk or troll postings get in the way of the actual Greenlight games.
Sure, $100 might be just a bit steep – I won’t deny that. But again, if one is serious about games development, then it’s within their reach. Besides… if one first releases their game on other platforms or distribution channels, then they’ve almost certainly made at least $100 in sales (otherwise, they might just be doing something wrong). With that in hand, you can then pay the fee, and get on Greenlight. It’s a very simple and reasonable plan. Alternatively, if the game in question is established publically, but yet unreleased, the developer can organize a small online donation rally of sorts.
Whether your game actually gets through and makes it on Steam? That is an entirely different question, one that I’m not so sure belongs to this particular argument. Fundamentally, Greenlight could use a bit more work, on that front. Its required number of positive ratings is a bit too high – almost one week after Greenlight’s launch, not a single game has made it past the 50% mark… let alone been fully admitted and promoted to Pending status. I’m sure this is very much an early, experimental stage for Greenlight, but I’m hoping Valve is paying attention to all this, because it could use some improvement.
Still, $100 fee or not, the game in question has exactly the same chances of making it through. Not only that, but it’s a one-time fee – if you’ll recall, once a game gets on Greenlight, it stays there permanently (unless it’s reported or taken down directly by the author). And as Valve have stated, if a game really tickles their fancy, they will disregard the number of ratings, and directly contact the developers.
I suppose that maybe it could be lowered to a more digestible $90 or $75 (double zeroes can be rather imposing), but generally, I am quite content with the way this has been handled. And the fact that every single penny made from these fees will go straight to the esteemed Child’s Play charity? That is amazing! Kudos, Valve.
As for the new listing system – I actually quite like it.
Let me explain the way it works. You automatically get a small queue containing twelve different Greenlight games that you haven’t rated before. These are a mix of both newer and older, and both popular and lesser-known Greenlight submissions. You can also customize your queue selection by choosing between the game genres and categories that interest you, thus ensuring that your Greenlight queues will be tailored specifically for you.
You don’t have to rate every single game on your queue in order to get a new one. In fact, you can instantly generate a brand new queue at the click of a button!
And you can still browse through the “More Recent” category, where as of writing, you’ll find 26 pages worth of Greenlight submissions. That’s a lot, but I’m not sure if that contains every single Greenlight game – the name implies that’s not quite the case.
In any case, I’m quite pleased with how Greenlight is developing. Hopefully soon, Valve will update it with support for playable concept demos – this is something that apparently they’ve been working on, but couldn’t include at launch. Once that’s added, we’re going to be having a lot more fun in selecting these games!