Some concerns with Steam Greenlight
So yeah, Steam Greenlight is a thing now. Valve is going to accept new games on Steam based on community voting. As could be expected, it’s the subject of the day for all the dev people around the social networks. It wouldn’t be the internet if we didn’t discuss and complain about things that are not even live yet, right?
To be honest, I have some concerns of my own as well. I mean, I’m sure it’s a brilliant PR move from Valve. Its community will feel even more empowered and it’s bound to bring them more fans. But I’m unsure if it’s going to bring a positive change for the game developers. Or any change at all.
A quick summary of my concerns:
- From the perspective of indie developers, the main problem with Steam is that it’s very hard to get on the service if you don’t have a very high profile game with IGF awards, reviews in mainstream press, established fanbase, etc. I don’t see how Greenlight is going to change that.
- Imagine all those “Please, upvote my game on Steam!” spam posts everywhere. It’s annoying even now with the abundance of Kickstarter adds on reddit and forums. I don’t like the fact that indie slowly turns into being a glorified beggar.
- What about niche games? Can they compete with mass-market stuff? Won’t it turn into another AppStore/casual portal? After a twitter chat with Gareth Fouche (a fellow indie dev), we came to a conclusion that games are probably going to compete only for slots in their own weight category (Valve claims something similar), but I still have my doubts.
- It’s going to be a lot like Kickstarter, with all the good and bad that comes with it. Popularity, track record, and virality are going to trump quality. On one hand, it’s nothing new or bad, especially from Valve’s business perspective. On the other — what about brilliant newcomers? Can they stand a chance without an established fanbase?
- Indie devs will just serve as another promotion tool for Steam, directing more customers to the portal, boosting its already near-monopoly status.
- No seriously, those “vote for my zombie game plz!!!” posts are going to be annoying as hell. And, worst of all, I’ll have to make my own as well.
Of course, at this point these are just some empty predictions, perhaps dictated by the fear of change. It remains to be seen how it’s going to fare in reality.