Distribution Steam Greenlight no more! your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by gamedev4life, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. gamedev4life

    gamedev4life Member

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    Steam Greenlight is dead! Long live Steam! Or no?

    (from http://steamcommunity.com/games/593110/announcements/detail/558846854614253751)

    Evolving Steam
    FEBRUARY 10 - ALDEN
    When we consider any new features or changes for Steam, our primary goal is to make customers happy. We measure that happiness by how well we are able to connect customers with great content. We’ve come to realize that in order to serve this goal we needed to move away from a small group of people here at Valve trying to predict which games would appeal to vastly different groups of customers.

    Thus, over Steam’s 13-year history, we have gradually moved from a tightly curated store to a more direct distribution model. In the coming months, we are planning to take the next step in this process by removing the largest remaining obstacle to having a direct path, Greenlight. Our goal is to provide developers and publishers with a more direct publishing path and ultimately connect gamers with even more great content.


    What we learned from Greenlight
    After the launch of Steam Greenlight, we realized that it was a useful stepping stone for moving to a more direct distribution system, but it still left us short of that goal. Along the way, it helped us lower the barrier to publishing for many developers while delivering many great new games to Steam. There are now over 100 Greenlight titles that have made at least $1 Million each, and many of those would likely not have been published in the old, heavily curated Steam store.

    These unforeseen successes made it abundantly clear that there are many different audiences on Steam, each looking for a different experience. For example, we see some people that sink thousands of hours into one or two games, while others purchase dozens of titles each year and play portions of each. Some customers are really excited about 4X strategy games, while others just buy visual novels.

    Greenlight also exposed two key problems we still needed to address: improving the entire pipeline for bringing new content to Steam and finding more ways to connect customers with the types of content they wanted.

    To solve these problems a lot of work was done behind the scenes, where we overhauled the developer publishing tools in Steamworks to help developers get closer to their customers. Other work has been much more visible, such as the Discovery Updates and the introduction of features like user reviews, discovery queues, user tags, streamlined refunds, and Steam Curators.

    These improvements have allowed more developers to publish their games and connect with relevant gamers on Steam. One of the clearest metrics is that the average time customers spend playing games on Steam has steadily increased since the first Discovery Update. Over the same time period, the average number of titles purchased on Steam by individual customers has doubled. Both of these data points suggest that we’re achieving our goal of helping users find more games that they enjoy playing. (You can read a more detailed analysis of our recent updates here[www.gamasutra.com].)


    A better path for digital distribution
    The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling “Steam Direct,” is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.

    While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we’re still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct. We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.


    Just the beginning
    We want to make sure Steam is a welcoming environment for all developers who are serious about treating customers fairly and making quality gaming experiences. The updates we’ve made over the past few years have been paving the way for improvements to how new titles get on to Steam, and Steam Direct represents just one more step in our ongoing process of making Steam better.

    We intend to keep iterating on Steam’s shopping experience, the content pipeline and everything in between.

    As we prepare to make these changes, we welcome your feedback and input on this and any other Steam issues. As always, we'll continue to read the community's discussions throughout the Steam forums and the web at large, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.
     
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  2. nacho_chicken

    nacho_chicken Member

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    If the fee is decent, it'll keep most of the garbage away, and the good stuff will stay.
    This has the potential to be good or bad depending on implementation. It seems they're still planning out specifics, so we'll see.
     
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  3. SnoutUp

    SnoutUp Member

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    The fee will keep a couple of joke games out and crush a lot of indie dreams (depending on the cost). Asset flippers and infamous crap-publishers will have a field day, because they won't need to game the Greenlight anymore, just invest a bit of money, which will likely be easily recovered by exploiting sales and Trading Card market.
     
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  4. Ampersand

    Ampersand Member

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    Exactly. I am also reading this with a little bit of a negative outlook.
     
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  5. mazimadu

    mazimadu Member

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    I disagree. If they improve the curator system then the crap-publishers may be pushed aside by the users. The fee will also force indies to be a bit wiser with their projects, thus fewer early access games. I may be wrong but who knows.
     
  6. Rivo

    Rivo 7014

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    I was going to put my game on greenlight March 1st. I've been planning this for a while. Do you guys think i'd have a better chance if I wait??

    I mean, if I wait I might end up paying more money. But It might also be a chance to take advantage of a new feature on steam and the attention it'l get.

    Oh and thanks for bringing this to my attention!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  7. ramos

    ramos Member

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    NOw posibilities for a new shop platform is at hand gog or itchi io can get the upper hand now
     
  8. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    I am totally on board with the fee :) Too many new games come out, and the standard of indie games has dropped. The worst part of greenlight was the sheer flood of games. I hope this comes with a bit of attention from Valve too. It would be fantastic for them to employ good standards so that the publishers can't just pay to churn out bad game after game.

    I personally believe that having a fee is actually a good thing. Whilst $5000 may be quite a lot of money for an indie, this appears to be more of a deposit that you get back at a later date. Besides, any good game should realistically make more than that, and if there are less games, your game will get more attention as well, which would ultimately lead to more sales.

    I agree that this does potentially chop off a leg for intermediate indie developers, however I also hope that this reduces the horrible swamp of unfinished early access games out there. Whilst some end up being good, on the whole, id say the system has done more damage than good as far as consumer faith is concerned. It also gives players skewed expectations of what games can be.

    ... Having said all that.. Whilst i'm willing to pay that fee, as i've already been accepted through Greenlight, I hope it doesn't affect my standing as its still a hefty amount :p!
     
  9. Jabbers

    Jabbers Member

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    I support a high fee. When Greenlight first came out, getting your game greenlit was something of an achievement. In it's final days, it was quite easy to get approved, and so trash flooded in.

    A fee of around a couple thousand seems sensible to me. It is an investment that is still accessible to an indie who is serious.
     
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  10. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    This is a good thing unless the fee is too high.
    The problem is that it needs to be high enough to filter some crap but low enough so new indie devs can actually push their first game. Some people were suggesting up to 5000$ for the fee. This would be ridiculously too much.
    I would never even put 500$ on a game I might not even get back that 500$. What could be done however is to have categories and a fee that can adapts to certain things. I wonder if they might think up of something like that.

    - If you're a business already and sold a successful app (this would be determined by a number of sales) - 5000$
    - If you're a business but its your first app or didn't reach that sales quota - 1000$
    - If you're a person and you been sold a successful app - 500$
    - If you're a person and its your first app or didn't reach that sales quota for persons - 300$

    Their fee could also be time based. What if the fee would be low (100-300) but it would make your game available for a year? Then the year after you decide if you pay for another year again. That could be great and filter some clutter on their store.
     
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  11. Niels

    Niels Member

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    They need to improve the curating system not the fee...
     
  12. ramos

    ramos Member

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    yea but they dont care they just want an automated system that will milk more money
     
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  13. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    Well, the fee kind of needs to be high, otherwise it will be a worse system than Greenlight. Put it this way, there isn't a great deal of difference between $300 and $100. If someone wanted their game on steam, and they could just pay that small amount for instant access to a huge platform of gamers, the flooding of games would get worse.
    In my eyes, $5000 is totally reasonable. I personally believe that steam should retain a certain level of seriousness and quality. Any game that is aiming to generate smaller amounts of revenue shouldn't really be on steam imo. In the grand scheme of things, $5000 is what, 500 to 1000 sales for the average game? I don't believe many good games sell less than this. More importantly, if you cannot expect your own game to make that back, should it really be appropriate for such a major platform like steam?

    Whilst it may be disheartening for smaller developers, in reality, it shouldn't be that much of a big deal for people expecting their game to generate lots of sales. Finally, it also noted the fee as being recouperable, which implies that perhaps steam won't take their cut for the first $5000 of profit, meaning you get that money back anyway.

    Time based wouldn't really work either, as you would still get the flood. Even terrible games can make $300 with a load of false promises. They would then be able to easily sustain themselves on the store, and thus we end up in an even worse situation.

    All things considered, I don't think Greenlight was bad, but I did think it was bad in the way that basically all games eventually get through. Some games would sit in Greenlight for months, getting 1 or 2 votes a day at most, then eventually they would reach some threshold, and be accepted onto the platform. The system was great for giving indie developers access to a larger market, however I think they went a little too far.

    Final thoughts, even with a $5000 application fee, worst case scenario, you may just have to host your game on another site (like Gamejolt) for a while to generate a bit of capital that you can then invest towards getting your game on the steam platform. A higher fee also hopefully means better quality control from Valve, and more importantly, better developer access to resources. On Greenlight atm, it is painfully difficult to get into contact with a member of staff, and replies on the developer help forums can take weeks.
     
  14. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    But that's the whole freaking point. If they replace Greenlight, us we want to something that helps indie devs, especially people that aren't a business/team to be able to publish their work easily. That's what is great about Greenlight despite the shortcomings. If you replace a system you replace it with one that accomplishes the mission better.

    That's why I think the "different fee for different people" approach would work. Nevermind the numbers I outed up there, its just a example to make my point accross. It could be more, less, I don't mind. I just hope the system will be adapted to the reality of this industry and acomodating to the indie dev scene. Steam is a detrimental player for a new indie dev. On Gamejolt and ItchIO and friends, you loose sales as much because your game sucks than the websites sucks.
     
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  15. Posh Indie

    Posh Indie Member

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    I would like to point out that a higher fee will not stop Early Access. In fact, it will probably do the opposite. Developers will be wanting that money back faster and what better way than to create the next Early Access, Open World, Zombie Apocalypse Survival Horror with Crafting and Massive Multiplayer? Don't worry though, they promise it will get finished. See, Early Access will be booming under the new model because people can release trash under the promise of a brighter future and everyone will throw their hard earned cash at them before seeing anything of value. Then they get DayZ Standalone. Does the developer care? No, they paid an arm and a leg up front, but got your next ten generations in return.

    Is this different than now? No, but the appeal of these "Cash Cows" will just grow stronger. When you start seeing decent developers switching over to exploitative models, do not ask "why?", just ask "why not?". You can work hard to earn your place at the top or you can release just what consistently works.

    Also, for this to actually have any real positive impact Valve will need to start scraping the store for horrible games that slipped through the cracks and remove them. The noise is there already, adding a higher fee alone will not stop that (Except in the new release section). Start with the immature shock value games (There's Poop in my Soup, Shower with your Dad Simulator, Genital Jousting, etc. The worst part of these is that I only noticed them because they were on the first page of "popular" categories for a while) and the horrible ports (Bye, Koei).
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
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  16. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    in short
    bla bla bla, more money, bla bla bla. go away indies, welcome businessmen.
     
  17. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    It is not as simple as just creating a "better" system. Greenlight is fundamentally flawed. With ease of access onto a platform comes all the negative downsides, no matter how you spin it. The important thing I am trying to say is that $5000 should not be a scary amount to an Indie game developer. When I say you can release games on other platforms, if your game is good, generating 500 odd sales across a bunch of different platforms can net you the money required to get onto steam, it doesn't really matter if the systems at hand aren't "ideal". They are exactly the sort of systems that cater to ease of access, and that's what would happen to the lower end of steam if Greenlight continued.
    I agree, it is hard as an Indie developer, however I also believe that you can put yourself in a better position. This industry is based on money, you are expecting to make money by putting a game on Steam, therefore the notion of actually investing money into your game idea shouldn't really be intimidating. It's a bit unrealistic to expect something in return for nothing.

    You also cannot draw the line, who is a "different person". I agree that there is a clear difference between certain games. Some indie games are built by small studios, some by independent developers. So yes, you could arguably reduce the fee for single efforts, however I still think it should be > $2500.

    @Posh Indie I don't think it'll make Early access worse. Ideally, i'm also assuming that this increased fee comes with a bit more attention at valve's end to the sorts of games coming through the pipeline. Not selling promises is a strong policy of Valve's, so i believe with less games, they will focus more effort into each title. Worst case scenario, early access will remain as-is. We will just get less of these games that are slapped together in 20 minutes by script-kiddies using free assets off of the Unity store.
     
  18. Posh Indie

    Posh Indie Member

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    I still beg to differ. If one can be certain they can scrape the user base for cash by selling them false promises, they will. Call it a lack of faith in humanity, but with less games taking focus I can see the whole new release section flooding with Early Access games that will never be truly finished. You can milk the community for a longer period of time if you have the smoke screen of, "It's not finished yet, but it will be!" clouding their vision. You can do this a lot longer than if you actually release the same horrible game since nobody will want to buy into (or defend) a game that is considered released with the flaws of almost any early access game in existence. With higher fees comes higher need to earn more money faster.
     
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  19. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    @Posh Indie nono, I agree that early access is bad, but what i'm saying is that I don't think a higher fee will make early access worse, it'll just keep it the same. If anything, a higher fee may even deter games from releasing in early access, and just wait until the game is finished. Though to find a middle ground, what I mean is that I don't think the fee will affect the state of how many scummy games there are, and if it did, you will hopefully get less people who just release a game and cash it in once they have made enough off EA. IMO, the EA system needs to go, or have heavy restrictions on what is considered valid in that environment. What this all comes from is a requirement for quality control on Valve's end. They won't do this if they don't get any kickback from just checking games. $5000 is enough to justify having someone play through your game and really take the time to test it.

    Though, early access is a different discussion in enough itself.
     
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  20. Posh Indie

    Posh Indie Member

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    I agree with getting rid of Early Access entirely. Forcing people to have a polished product before getting listed is the only way to ensure the product will ever be finished and in a promised state.

    Also, you are correct about the topic of Early Access being an entire discussion of its own. Sorry for derailing the thread! Back to Greenlight, haha.
     
  21. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    Take me as example. Where do I fit in? I could NEVER pull 2500$ to publish The Life Ruby (let alone 5000$) to have my game on Steam. Why? because 2500$ is the amount of money it takes a full year of careful saving to raise. Am alone making this game and I do it in spare time (this means like maybe 10-15 hours a week). Of course I have this dream everybody have to become have a game studio business and make a living out of it but also don't mind at all that it never becomes my primary job. Its not a job anyways, its a passion. Just want to make the games I want to make and have an audience for my creations. If sales push me into the "this hobby becomes my day job" well fine, I won't complain. But if it never happens am also fine with that.
    What Greenlight was doing right is giving people like me a great chance, a great window to get our game played around the world. And just that is already amazing for a person like me. Those other pseudo store indie website? not so much.

    I just think its doable to create a system where a lone indie dev like me can share his creation with a large audience while limiting the shovelware and clutter (because afterall, Greenlight causes no other problems for Steam).
     
  22. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

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    Stop here, this is the attitude that delivers a lot of indie studios to their graves.

    If you're selling a game for money, then you're a business. Treat it like one, because the audience will. And if you can't afford to treat it like one, don't.

    What's so difficult about not making a living from a trade that is financially inviable and beyond one's means?

    Then you belong in hobbyist class, simple as that.

    Dreams lie, numbers don't.
     
  23. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    I guess my side of the argument to that would be that perhaps Steam shouldn't be the platform for all developers. Steam is the highest-level distribution service you can possibly get your game on, would it really be so bad for developers to have to use some other stepping stone to get their foot in the door? (For the benefit of steam becomming a better platform and enabling the games on there to have more success.)

    Put it this way, lets say you put your game on a different platform first, you raise the capital (with a bit of saving) to fund your spot on steam, now, once you are on steam, as there are 10x less new games coming out, your game gets more time in the spotlight, and thus a less-diluted audience. This would be far more beneficial towards putting you in a position where Game development could create financial success for you. What this ensures is that developers who are approaching steam are both serious about game development and also have some form of commercial experience prior to entering the platform. It would also help alleviate the number of mistakes made by inexperienced developers (such as poor marketing strategy, or releasing an under-polished game) as they will be able to trial the process on a different platform first.
    Ultimately, I do not believe this will negatively impact the performance of a game, I think it will enhance the performance of games that end up on the platform, at the sacrifice of certain, less commited developers.

    The issue with the game development world at the moment is that everyone wants to make money, many developers skip the part where they spend years just making games for fun, focusing entirely on making their "big" title straight away. In a way, it has destroyed some of the charm within the gamedev community, and people have become greedy.

    I'm not saying it is bad to chase dreams, working towards goals and accomplishing them is something that is fantastic to do!, and this change in the system won't prevent you from doing that! It will just alter the process.

    Lets take a look at the music industry, what a mess that is.. If you want to succeed there, you need to be really really good, you need to work at building a following, producing quality content and making the best use of other platforms: social media, soundcloud, youtube etc; Though, for those who do make it, the reward and achievement come hand in hand.

    The reason I believe this, is because I would much prefer steam to be the holy grail of game development achievement, rather than this system which is super easy to get on. At the moment, releasing a game on steam and only getting a few 100 sales isn't all that worth it, this could have been achieved on an alternative platform like itch. Would it not be better for all Indie devs who made it onto steam to have a better chance at success once they are on there?

    EDIT:
    @FrostyCat just wanted to add that I completely agree with you here, you put the point very concisely.
     
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  24. Adhiesc

    Adhiesc Member

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    I hate steam for milking money from developers.
    I hate gamejolt a bit for restriction of certain countries.
    I love itch.io for asking money share percentage from developers, not forcing.
    I hate the world for turning around inside money money money so I can't play / make game so freely without selling or buying game.
     
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  25. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    the problem here is steam`s greed, nothing else. they simply want to make more money, and they see its more profitable to allow baiting devs to be there then other devs that cant make good baits, (marketing)
    to bait people into buyin your unfinished game you need more money then to make the actual game. thats all.

    my prediction is that they will crumble at the most a year after. while in the meantime less popular sites will become more popular. so i think there is a positive side of it.

    if they really want so bad to connect with gamers with the desired content for them, then all they have to do is make a better search engine.
     
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  26. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    I don't really think greedy is the correct word in this context. Valve aren't perfect, however I do not think this system directly benefits Valve. Remember that they suggested the fee would be recoupable, which means you would most likely get it back before Valve takes a cut from the sale of your game. For them, reducing the number of games released would not really affect their sales, if anything, it may slightly reduce overall game sales. What they are trying to do is reduce the amount of trash on the system, in an effort to make the entire system better for gamers.

    I agree they could invest more in their platform, though I believe that this move isn't something that directly benefits them, it'll probably costs them quite a bit of money to implement, and they don't have to do this, they are doing it because they believe it will improve steam as a whole.
     
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  27. Cpaz

    Cpaz Member

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    Greenlight was just bad really. Not because things didn't get in, rather the fact that things weren't kept out. Steam got FAR too oversaturated with bad games from Greenlight and EA. I think this is different. Good? Bad? I have no way of judging that as of now. The only way I can see this going anywhere near great is if they moderate submissions individually, and price the fee depending on the game and company size (a bit iffy on that last one, but it's food for thought)
     
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  28. Posh Indie

    Posh Indie Member

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    There you have it, Game Maker Community. Go home. Most of you should just quit now. The world needs ditch diggers. Well said, FrostyCat, well said. Way to inspire.

    I will take another route and side with those that say that you just do not need to release on Steam immediately if you cannot afford it at this point in time. Work your way up to it through other storefronts and reinvest your earnings. If you are not willing to do that, that is where you have to choose whether or not you are chasing the correct dream.
     
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  29. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    The point he is trying to make is that not all indie games need to be commercial. There is nothing wrong with creating games. Many of us spent years and years as hobbyists, creating free games for people to play. There is nothing wrong with this, it's something that should be enjoyed, and something that makes our community better as a whole. The recent notion that people expect to be able to instantly jump on the commercial bandwagon is just a bit naive and unrealistic.

    The important takeaway point is that indie game development encompasses two large groups of people, those who create games for a living, and those who create games for fun. They do not need to be one and the same. People should really take the time to enjoy the process, enjoy learning how to make games, enjoy bringing their creations to life! There are loads of platforms to get attention for free games, you can even start to build an audience. Once you have done that, commercializing games is easy, if you have already spent the last few years creating fun games that people want to play.
     
  30. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    Sometimes I appreciate your rational and simple way of seeing life. But in many occasions (like now) I see it as much more nuanced and much less imprisoned into principles. First of all, everything that is sold isn't just a business move. There are artists out there and people that don't see life as math equation. I sure won't stop seeing it the way I see it. Making games for me is art and its about expressing something to an audience. And there's a place in the world for that. Its not everything that is ultimately just business even if maybe you can't see it. And while its hard to make a living out of art (in any field!) is there a law that prevents us from making it easier for art to find an audience? And what if the artist make money in the process? Is that bad? The way you talk (very condescending) telling us there's "classes" and stuff like that really shows that your views needs to widen there. The world isn't just a rational amount of digits like you seem to believe. + Helping the access to game development does NOTHING on your business or competition. Both approaches are perfectly viable and can side together easily. You guys might simply lack the power to imagine a Steam Store that sells all sort of products. Commercial games, indie games, even your low end miserable hobbyist games.


    Let me tell you that I understand what you're saying there. Maybe my problem is with Steam then. Or YOUR perception of Steam?
    Why is the Steam some elite store? Its just a store. They should sell whatever they want to sell, they not trying to classify this industry and place themselves into some elite crap "higher grounds". It think your perception is wrong. There's nothing noble, better, higher, or anything about a store. Its a store, that's all. Its humans with their ego that like to see highly of themselves. (this always been a problem and its not one we'll solve today though lol).

    Anyhow, back on topic I think if Steam pulled out something like Greenlight is because they actually wanted to help remove your stepping stones you're talking about. It gives the impression they want EVERYTHING. Selling products from all scenes. Becoming the "one and only place" to buy games. And it makes business sense to them on top of that, they can totally pull this off. So if their next system is a regression in matter of accessibility it means a much more fundamental change. This means they are changing the direction where they were going. And I can't really agree of be a happy about that. (Especially when I can easily imagine a workable "ultimate one place stop" store for gaming. If they don't become that, the only thing preventing them to do so is them not wanting it!)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
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  31. Posh Indie

    Posh Indie Member

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    Maybe that was the intended point, but that is not the point being delivered. It is blatantly obvious that the point being made is, "If you are poor, sucks to be you. Get a job at McDonald's. It's more your social class." I never said anything was wrong with developing for a hobby, and I never said every game has to be commercial. If you read my entire response you would have seen I said to:

    and to:

    Better than saying, "You cannot afford it, go back to slumming it." If it is their passion to develop full-time as an Indie Developer, more power to them. Who am I to say, "You cannot afford it, pick another dream"?
     
  32. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    @RangerX to chip into your first section a bit, you argue that games are a form of art, I agree with that statement, though you could argue that you shouldn't be aiming to sell "art". Art isn't created to be sold, art is created out of a passion that the artist had, and a message they wanted to convey. It acquires value because of how other people perceive it, not because the artist had a market at which to sell his art in the first place. If you want to distribute your games, that is a different matter entirely. There are so many places you can go and release a game for free, build an audience, have people enjoy your creation, though I don't believe that is really what steam is trying to be.

    Steam is a store, however in order to maintain a reputation, they wont actively go out of their way to support bad products. You don't see large superstores selling feces because there are farmers out there who use it to fertilise their crops. Likewise, you don't see bookstores stocking poems written by 5 year olds. With stores comes a certain level of expectation. The reason you would want to strive for quality is that you don't want to overwhelm your consumers with a choice of mediocre products. It is not effective of efficient for steam to market games that do not sell.

    Look at it this way, you wouldn't expect the same quality of product from a dollar store as you would from a butchers. A shop wont really elect to stock the entire range, because it needs to appeal to specific groups of consumers. Steam can appeal to a very large group of consumers, but at the end of the day, it is a financial platform for making money, it is a business. Steam wont want to support the freeware or low priced games that make it pennies. Likewise, it doesn't want those weaker titles detracting attention away from games people would otherwise be more likely to buy had they seen them.

    @Posh Indie I was just clarifying what he said, as I believe you interpreted it in an unnecessarily harsh manner. I agree you should work your way up to something if you cannot afford it, Frosty was not making assumptions about what you do, merely stating that if you are serious about it, understanding the financials is easy. If someone is in a position to moan about the cost, then it's either not something for them, or it is on them to go out of their way to find a means of acquiring that. Yes the post was aggressive, but he speaks the truth.
     
  33. Posh Indie

    Posh Indie Member

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    If it was actually worded that way I would not have had anything bad to say, haha. FrostyCat makes it sound like we are primitively barring people based on social class. I can personally afford to release still, either way. The wording used prior was utter garbage, though. If that is how it all worked, YoYo Games would be in trouble and this thread would not even exist here.

    I also agree with what you say about Steam being "Cream of the Crop", the elite store. Even if it did not want to be, it is. It is where the big bucks get made for online game distribution (Take that, Origin! Haha). They definitely need to do something to filter out the actual trash that someone managed to get on their platform. Raising the cost of entry is one thing that may help a little bit, but there will always be rich kids using mommy and daddy's money to release their garbage onto the store. I say Valve needs to put human beings in charge of vetting games. They need to be more strict with requirements and less open to everyone releasing anything they want onto their platform (Greenlight only failed because of the sad fact that the gaming community as a whole is incapable of wielding the responsibility of being mature in their decisions, and the ones that are capable of such fall for the same scam over and over again).
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  34. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    To me its entirely a strategy thing. I understand what you're saying again MishMash. But that perception stores are trying to create is a marketing strategy. Its not reality. Its a form of control they want and need. Everybody and your mother should be able to do whatever business they want. The internet nowadays helps with that but still, I think there's only people buying what they want people selling what they want. There's a wall you see to see between artists and business man. An artist could make a living of what he creates even if its only "art". A carpenter is able to sell cut wood, and artist is able to sell what he makes too. That doesn't make him necessarily a business man. Large business are also finding ways of reaching all the different scenes and wealth classes. In my town I can shop at 4 different groceries. One dollarama cheap and some that much more expensive and selling some much more niche products. Yet all those groceries store are owned by the same people! They found a way to sell stuff to all kinds of people ready to spend all different amounts of money. How did they do that? With the strategy or having different banners for different audiences.

    Basically, I'll go back at some previous comments on mine. I think its possible for Steam to become the "be all end all" place for shopping games. And they showed signs of having that goal, Greenlight is an example. If they don't continue in that direction, that's fine, its their right. But I hope otherwise that's all.
     
  35. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    actually the most succesful stores have a bit of everything, billa, kaufland etc. these are in my country. also were talking here about a store that sells digital content, which is alot easyer to controll and not really a problem to have bad content, also i dont see steam`s reputation to worsen its profits, infact the more people talk about steam the better for them.
     
  36. Ampersand

    Ampersand Member

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    Yeah, they've said this themselves. Their goal here is to increase the average time players spend on their game collection. They see that the changes they've made to greenlight did exactly that, so now they're looking to go further in that direction. Think about the number of sales a high-selling steam game gets compared to the proposed developer fees for that one title. They don't make money off fees, they make money off of piles of sales from popular games. They're not trying to hurt the indie, they're trying to further make sure the indie market doesn't clutter them up like it did with XBLA. They want to fill their collection with only the best, so that users will fill their collection with games they spend more time per title playing on average.
     
    MishMash likes this.
  37. Misty

    Misty Member

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    I look at it like this.
    Some guy makes steam, then all these subservients go to their alpha's civilization the alpha provides to them. I say steam is not gods only men, we don't need steam to function as human beings or business persons.
    it is just one website, they are not gods deciding our fate.
     
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  38. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    mishmash, now reading your comment, i wasnt talking about the fees when i was talking about them being greedy, im aware theyr nothing to them, i was talking about the strategy they use to support more businessmen who know how to market and really squeeze the milk out and dump people who try to be creative, along with the trash. im not trying to defend the trash, ive seen alot of trash there and im aways why? how?
    and this is only bad for gaming, good for business. games have become more of a timekiller and sensation then a fun activity. when i was a kid and playn solbrain or tmnt tournament on my nes, i was having fun, i wasnt trying to waste time becouse i was a busy man. fun now is totaly gone. everything now is according to the clock.

    you can add a dramatic sound here and a backstory with deep meaning, if theres no drama or 'deep' storyline, your done for.
     
  39. Ampersand

    Ampersand Member

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    No one ever said you had to use Steam ;) but complaining about the rules set by the largest video game publishing platform when you don't explicitly have to use it seems silly. If your game is actually worth its weight, you should need any publisher exposure imho. Hype is hype, doesn't matter where the hype starts. It's just up to you to keep coal in the hype train.
     
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  40. Misty

    Misty Member

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    This is true. In 10 years we wont have nostalgia for any modern games. the spirit gaming is dead. She is a nymph and in a sickly state. But perhaps she can be revived to her former glory.

    Mario Kart 64 is the best all others are watered down copies. In honor of ancient nymphs i am going to purchase Daytona 2, not online, but in a real life flesh and blood store, using my own two legs to physically walk there, or perhaps a car.
     
  41. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    Misty...
    Super Mario Kart is the superior game that never could be reproduced :p
     
    RichHopefulComposer likes this.
  42. Sheev

    Sheev Guest

    Silly? It's legitimate. Obviously You don't have to use it, and any person who complains about it knows this quite well. The point is that You can imagine many developers not being able to publish their games on Steam because of the, lets say, 3000$ fee. So for those people, change is dramatic - they had the possibility of publishing their game through "the largest video game publishing platform", and now they've lost it. It is a lost opportunity. So I'm not surprised they're complaining. They should. They will likely end up disadvantaged because of this decision.
     
    Ninety likes this.
  43. Ampersand

    Ampersand Member

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    If this is sort of the thing that would keep you from pursuing your project... Simply wow. So many great Indie games published on their own behalf would've never have happened with this attitude. Honestly this feels like a load of hooplah. If you want to make a game and it's good enough that people want to play it, it'll happen. The barrier isn't a publishing fee or coverage by press, the barrier is you making it happen.

    Y'all would not like the independent music scene :) at least with game development you HAVE the option of paying an entry fee for guaranteed exposure...
     
    MishMash likes this.
  44. Ampersand

    Ampersand Member

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    I disagree. I will be returning to games like Fez, Super Meat Boy, Braid, Journey, and the likes for years to come. Making an argument like that is saying "art is dead, there's no art I have nostalgia for" or the same argument for music... That's why a lot of forward thinking artists and musicians today are finding new ways to rekindle that feeling of "this feels like it's a part of me or my childhood", even though it's brand new. It's why the 80's kick is finally in full swing.

    There's not enough games like there are from our younger days because no one is making them. Everyone is too busy thinking about the next big moneymaker to focus on simplicity, design, and elegance. But that doesn't mean there isn't anyone trying at all, and that doesn't mean any of us should stop trying.
     
  45. Tom_SavePointsGames

    Tom_SavePointsGames Member

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    I am really hoping by "recoupable" it's something like you don't pay steam their 30% until you have made your fee back. Because that way the barrier wouldn't be so bad if the fee was a little higher. With the goal of releasing a decent quality game in a short amount of time the sacrifice is scope. There are plenty of good quality short $5.00 games on steam and that's the market I want to enter. If I manager to sell 1000 units (which is my goal for my first game) at $5.00 a game. Assuming I actually meet my goal I could afford a fee of up to $1500.

    Though I really hope still that the fee is only $100. I don't care about the crap on steam. That's their problem. I never see any of it because steam is my buying platform it's not my curating platform. I go to other sites to figure out what games to buy and then just buy them on steam. I follow indie games on twitter or back them on kickstarter and then just buy them when they get released. There have been plenty of under $0.99 games (mostly sale price) I have bought that I am happy with. A fee too high will kill that market.
     
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  46. Ampersand

    Ampersand Member

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    Again, I feel that if Steam access is the only thing that can get your game off the ground, you need to take a harder look at your goals and mindset than you need to take at proposed, theoretical publishing fees. Everyone is talking like Steam is the end-all be-all to getting game's out in the world.
     
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  47. Tom_SavePointsGames

    Tom_SavePointsGames Member

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    It's the end all be all for the potential to be the next stardew valley. None of the other marketplace sites can say that they helped an indie dev sell 800,000 units for $19.99 in 3 months.
     
  48. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    You should care about the crap on steam, because put it this way: Steam only has a fixed amount of views it can generate for games overall, the more games coming out, the less attention your game gets. One of the issues atm is that there are so many games coming out, some games barely pull any sales at all because they are immediately drowned in a sea of other new releases. If you were to release your game on steam now, regardless of the quality, unless it was absolutely exceptional, and you had other marketing sources, it wouldn't really generate all that much traction, for the simple reason that 10 other games have come out right alongside it and thus your game will get far far less views.

    Aiming for your game to be the next "big hit" which generates 100s of thousands of sales is a somewhat unstable mindset to have when approaching the commercial indie market, yes steam has the potential to generate this, but it only does so far games which are fantastic. Stardew valley had the benefit that it was published by Chucklefish, a publishing company with lots of pull within the indie scene. They will have been able to market the game to its fullest. What i'm saying is that whilst steam is the biggest platform, it does not necessarily mean that your game will automatically have more success for having been released on the platform. Some games will thrive very well in the steam environment, and we do all hope its our game, however you have to put in other work to generate exposure for your game in order for it to get meaningful exposure on steam.

    Linking this into the previous points, other platforms may actually be better suited if you are working on a smaller title. The reason being that the smaller platforms are less congested, and more importantly, they will have a smaller number of these hit games, meaning a strong title on one of those platforms will have a better chance at success.

    Big platforms very strongly apply the philosophy of "the rich get richer" and there are good reasons for this. Popular games on steam will have a higher conversion rate from views to sales. As the average steam user will only browse a number of games at a given time, steam wants to put the games with the highest view-to-sale conversion rates, because this maximizes their profits. Promoting/giving shop viewing space to unproven titles is often against steams interest because it will generate a smaller overall number of sales. this is why games that get 50,000+ sales (in a short period of time) tend to snowball. They have success, so steam puts more effort into marketing those games that are proven money makers. All of this said, whilst yes getting on steam exposes you to a large market, if you do not reach success through steam immediately, then it won't help you all that much when it comes to generating additional sales, it'll be your responsibility to bring consumers in from elsewhere to your steam page. At that point, you would almost be better off either self-hosting your game, or using smaller distribution platforms, as then you reap the benefit of lower store commission rates, AND more importantly, snowballing (and getting your game featured) on smaller sites is far far easier than it is on steam.

    This leads into a lot of what I said above, and why I am strongly for the larger upfront fee, I believe that games that have the most potential to succeed will do so anyway, and you may just have to take a longer route if you cannot afford the fee. Though it will reduce the number of games that literally just use steam as a webstore, but do not benefit directly from the steam system itself. Then those games that do get on steam will also have a stronger chance at success, with the only downside being that you have to prove success to get onto the platform first. (Whether this be success by generating sales/crowdfunding on other platforms first, or whether you already have a proven track record in game development, and thus the fee is not a big deal to you.)

    As Ampersand said, you shouldn't need steam as a means of getting your game off the ground, there are plenty of other ways to do that. Steam can simply be a catalyst for a game that has already set itself up for the best possible success.
     
    Rin-Rin likes this.
  49. Ampersand

    Ampersand Member

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    No one else can say that because Steam has held that title. But now, for some odd reason, Steam is gambling that title. If they kill it for the little guys, someone else will fill that spot. No one else could take that title because Steam was smart and hopped on the indie wagon early.
     
  50. Otyugra

    Otyugra Member

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    Most of all, I think this means the death of quality control as we know it. Curation, though it would be demanding and expensive on Valve if done properly, shouldn't be treated like a flimsy privilege by Valve. With Greenlight, there was the illusion of curation by the players through democratic voting (of course, most all games get in regardless of votes at random times from what I hear). Greenlight did something incredibly important, which allowed users to interact and see the upcoming games ahead of time. For developers who can afford a $5000 price tag, getting the free marketing of Greenlight was mildly important, though not crucial to success. For those in the middle, having people get to see the games waiting to be voted on was more important, and for small games, if the concept was ahead of the competition, word of mouth would elevate it to the top. At least in that tiny regard, everyone wins; Valve, the players who learn about the diamonds in the rough, and developers of all kinds. Now think of a world where Mobile stores, Steam, Itch.io, and GameJolt all don't allow you to vote on new games (that's not hard, three of them already don't). Now no matter where you post your game, the only possible way anyone will find out about it is if you market it yourself. That's not unreasonable, but it's a worse situation for most-everyone nonetheless. It's not unreasonable to live as an Amish person but your quality of life is the sacrifice. Here, the players don't have another way to discover new games and the developers lose sales under the same amount of work.

    Is Greenlight flawed? No doubt. Will Direct be better in some ways? Most likely.

    Like Shaun was saying on Twitter, money just isn't the wisest choice for quality control. Yes, a higher price tag can keep out a lot of bad, joke, and small games, but it makes life no harder for the creatively-defunct clone game developers, the asset flippers, and the shovelware. What's to stop any crap-making developer who pays the fee from being on an equal footing with all other developers? I don't know about you but I would take a strange tiny indie game over any of what I mentioned previously any day of the week. I don't think this will help Steam's reputation; I think it will lower diversity if anything.
     
    gamedev4life likes this.

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