Aztez – A Game of Conquest and Brutality
7Sep/12Off

On Steam Greenlight

Steam Greenlight recently launched! What a great idea from a great company who made a great service! But it hit a strange snag in its first couple days and the response made the independent game developer community blow up. The fact that they're freaking out about this right now is making me a little bit sick so I had to puke up my two cents before I could get back to work making games. But first, some context:

Read Me, Game Industry Layman!

Steam is an online store for PC games. It was created and is run by a company in Bellevue, Washington called Valve, who created the service years ago to digitally distribute their own games. When that was massively successful, they opened it up to the rest of the AAA industry. When that was massively successful, they opened it up to the indies. When that was massively successful, they decided it was too difficult (even for their highly competent and dedicated staff) to filter through all of the games that were submitted every day for placement on the service. Greenlight was their solution.

Enter Steam Greenlight

Greenlight is a service Valve recently launched that allows anyone to submit a game. The game gets added to the Greenlight website where the Steam community can vote for it. After enough votes, Valve will put it on Steam (I realize it's a little more complicated than this, but you get the gist). After just a couple days there was a serious problem; a significant portion of the submissions were insincere, deliberately offensive, underdeveloped, in violation of Valve's policies, or just horrific garbage that no one would ever play. In order to nip this in the bud, Valve implemented a one-time $100 dollar submission fee. The logic here is that it creates a barrier to entry which weeds out submitters that aren't serious. This fee is not about profit; Valve actually donates 100% of the submission fees to charity. But regardless of that fact, this fee is what started the fire.

Why Did The Internet Blow All Up?

For some inexplicable reason, a lot of indies and journalists made some asinine assumptions; that Greenlight was going to level the visibility playing field, that Greenlight was going to be an environment of progress and fairness that advances the medium, that Valve has some vested interest in the success of indies, that Greenlight isn't functionally exclusionary, and mostly, that $100 is just too much money. No one anywhere should be under any of these impressions! All of the noise has that distinct air of indie entitlement, where they erroneously assumed that another service exists (or should) for their personal benefit. Look at Valve's press announcement. They made it pretty clear what Greenlight is for:

"...a new platform feature that enlists the community’s help in selecting some of the next games to be released on Steam...As well as serving as a clearing house for game submissions, Greenlight provides an incredible level of added exposure for new games and an opportunity to connect directly with potential customers and fans."

Unless I've gone dumb and I just don't see it, it says NOWHERE that everyone with a game gets to be on Steam. Sure, everyone can submit a game, but then doesn't mean everyone gets a fair shake. You get to be on Steam if you pay $100 and submit a high quality game that a lot of people really like. This is what Steam has always been about! Why would they change this?! Why would they suddenly abandon their tight quality control guidelines and change their policies? Why would they they suddenly start giving unappealing, low quality games that won't profit ANYONE a place on a service that has historically delivered high quality games to committed PC gamers? Why would they suddenly alter the landscape of their incredible service after a decade of doing things in a very specific way for very specific reasons for a very specific audience? They wouldn't! And they never said they would. But what bothers me most about all of the ire is that is Greenlight still benefits the independent game development community as a whole because without it, there would be way less indie games on the service at the end of the day. This is going to help us! It's just not going to help every last one of us, for fuck's sake. Nothing does that! Grow up.

Is $100 Really Too Much Money?

This is still the most common complaint, and this is what I have to say to that; when I was a junior in high school, I wanted to take my girlfriend at the time to her senior prom, even though I didn't have a DIME to my name. It was really important to me that I did this, but I didn't have a car, I didn't have any income, and I didn't have a lot of time. So I washed vehicles, cleaned garages, mowed lawns, and ran errands for people until I had made enough money to rent a tux and take her to dinner beforehand. I made somewhere between 50 and 100 dollars (I don't completely remember) and it took all of a weekend. All I had to do was know people, and have arms and legs and half a brain. If I didn't know any people, I would have sold some of my possessions. If I didn't have any possessions I would have dug coke cans out of dumpsters and traded them in at the recycling plant. And so on and so forth. If you care so much about getting your game on Steam (because you believe you've made a good game and selling it on Steam will change your life) then you can raise 100 fucking dollars. This argument is asinine. Go make a great game, and then everything will line up for you, assuming you've got half a brain.

Oh, and we'll be submitting to Steam through Greenlight and I could not be less worried about it. More on that in 2013. ;)

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Comments (41) Trackbacks (2)
  1. At least we agree on this thing.

  2. I disagree! I think the focus here is completely wrong: it has nothing to do with whether or not game devs deserve to be on Steam, it’s that Steam is missing out on great and in some cases critically acclaimed games. If the system finds good games, then Valve has built a good system that benefits them, their customers, their marketplace and also the developers. If it misses them, then Valve has built a bad system and everybody loses.

    • The focus where? In my article? In one of the linked articles? In general? Are you maybe saying it’s too early to tell? If that’s the case then that’s fair, but I’m not sure what you disagree with. Can you clarify?

      • I think he’s saying that indie game designers know much more about business then Valve does. I mean clearly, the Valve is missing out on great games! THEY ARE MISSING OUT ON GREAT GAMES! Can you imagine that? And they are stupid because they don’t wanna listen to a bunch of poor indie game developers who have THE BEST BUSINESS PLAN EVER. Can anyone here spot a contradiction?

      • In your article. The focus is on whether everyone with a game “gets” to be on Steam, on “indie entitlement.” Here’s my point: A game like The Sea Will Claim Everything (picking a specific example to make a more general point) is in fact a good game that has already achieved critical acclaim, and the creator is POOR. He doesn’t have $100 to throw at the chance to be on Steam, and if he could raise $100 he has other more important things to spend it on. But it’s a game that Steam would benefit by selling, and a system that misses that game isn’t bad because it’s punitive toward the developer, it’s bad because Steam has that much less variety at the end of the day. It has one less game that has already gone out and proven itself and gotten great reviews. Steam is missing out here as much as the developer is, because of a systemic hole in their new selection process.

        • I’ve already said this, but I think it’s worth repeating — what you are saying here is that poor indie game developers know more about running business than Valve does. If Valve rejected TSWCE then it means they think it’s not a good game. What’s so unclear about that? The problem here is that Jonas lacks evidence to back up his claim that TSWCE is good enough for Steam. He can’t convince them. That’s all there is to it. And now he’s trying to convince them that he knows how to run Valve’s business better than Valve themselves?

          Let’s make it clear — I think there is nothing wrong with criticizing the way businesses work provided you have enough information about how these businesses are ran and provided you know what you’re talking about; that is, provided you know how bussinesses of that kind work. In this case, we have a poor indie game developer who has failed to convince Valve that his game is good trying to influence Valve’s business decisions even though he knows nothing about their business and even though he knows nothing about running businesses of this kind.

          And besides that, he is (and you are) convinced that TSWCE is a good game because it’s.. “acclaimed”. What if the reality is different? What then?

          I’m afraid to say this, but it is important to — many indie game developers are convinced their games are good when they are actually not. It is time for them to start questioning themselves and their tastes instead of trying to control things they have no control over.

          • “I’m afraid to say this, but it is important to — many indie game developers are convinced their games are good when they are actually not. It is time for them to start questioning themselves and their tastes instead of trying to control things they have no control over.”

            I’m glad you did. It needs to be said, it needs to be discussed, and as soon as I have any idea on how to actually start it I just might. ;)

  3. I dunno, I think there’s some legitimacy to some of the complaints as stated in the articles you linked (Sophie’s, Jonas’). Anyone pinning the issue on the $100 entry fee is following a total red herring. 20 pre-sales of the game at $5 will get you in. (Conversely, any game that doesn’t have a handful of people willing to buy a presale version would PROBABLY not pick up too much of a following on Steam in the first place.)

    The main issues that I’ve identified so far and agree with:
    1) Steam has a monopoly on the PC distribution market, to the point that many people will only buy games through Steam. The exposure Steam gets you is great; this exclusionary viewpoint so many gamers seem to hold, less so.
    2) Greenlight may potentially miss a lot of games that would otherwise have been in the realm of what Steam would take. This one is pretty much speculatory, but it will be interesting to see how they handle it. A game like Dear Esther may not generate the same mass audience appeal as Super Robot Zombies From Space XXX, or something.
    3) Greenlight shouldn’t be a place for unfinished games, concept pitches, or demoes. I haven’t heard a clear solution for how to determine if a game is finished or what constitutes “finished enough,” but I agree this measure needs to be in place somehow.

    I also don’t agree that the blame is on Valve for this one. Greenlight’s still in its infancy, and I honestly think the fee will go a long way towards preventing unserious or joke entries. I do think Greenlight could stand to go through a couple iterations, though.

    • You cannot monopolize the Internet. Steam is really popular because it’s made by the most talented people on earth and provides a service that a very large number of people have deemed to fulfill their needs.

      That’s another thing this whole debate is marginalizing: the golden elite at Valve who’ve chosen to apply their brainpower to making the Steam service (seem?) more accessible to developers. They’ve made a few games, and they pioneered digital distribution, surviving a decade of naysaying to emerge victorious. /hugeshrug

      As to the other points I have no comments, just wanted to get that off my chest.

      • Maybe you’re misunderstanding me – I don’t disagree with you. Steam is awesome and deserves to be where it is. The problem I see is that many gamers now consider it the sole curator of games on the Internet to the exclusion of buying them anywhere else. This mostly works in their favor because of Steam’s heavily enforced quality standards.

        However, as the volume of good, well-polished indie games increases, so too does the percentage of games that get ‘missed’ in the screening process, and the number of developers that miss out on the massive exposure boost Steam grants. Greenlight could end up solving this problem neatly, that really remains to be seen. But if other distributors arose with the same standards of quality and service, and more gamers were open to new distributors (Humble Bundle/Humble Store is one example), there would be more variety for everyone and success for indies would be less tied to whether or not their game made it on Steam. That’s all!

        • Oh no, I totally get you and just used your comment as a springboard for my vent.

          I don’t believe any videogames with potential for commercial success get missed. What happens is the people responsible for them fail to utilize the means at their disposal to effectively market them. If the developer has tirelessly self-promoted and still hasn’t gotten the audience they think they deserve, well…

          And then there’s those who say “fuck all that marketing bullshit” and I just repeatedly slam my face into my desk.

  4. I agree with Ben Kuchera over at Penny Arcade:

    “The $100 fee may keep out the trolls, but it’s no different mechanically than a $5 fee in that regard.”

    Did you miss that part of the article that you linked to? Because, where you might disagree with the “exclusionary” part, I can’t see any argument against what I quoted. This, for me, is the point. If doing something ($5 fee) is enough, then doing something more ($100) is plain silly. As I like to say, it’s like digging a hole in your backyard with a H-Bomb instead of a shovel. It’ll work, but…

    • I don’t disagree with the exclusionary part. Steam IS exclusionary, always has been, and I hope it remains that way. The reason organized bodies exclude things for whatever reason is to control the properties of whatever they’re organizing. In this case, it’s profitable, high quality games.

      And I don’t think $5 is to a shovel as $100 is to a hydrogen bomb. $100 dollars is a non-trivial amount of money, but it’s also not a sum that requires a company’s coffers. It’s the cost of submitting a game to Independent Games Festival and submitting to the app store.

      • Steam excludes games to keep slots on the Steam service valuable. There’s literally no other reason. It benefits Valve and its carefully selected partners and harms consumers and developers alike by reducing consumer options and shutting smaller players out of the Steam userbase entirely. This is not good for the medium, it’s not good for people who like games, and it’s not good for small studios struggling to make a name for themselves. It is, however, pretty fantastic for indies that get on Steam and it takes a tremendous amount of effort off of Valve’s plate.

        • “Steam excludes games to keep slots on the Steam service valuable.”

          That’s ridiculous. Valve does not charge the developer for putting a game on the service. There’s no war for slots going on behind the scenes where Valve cackles deviously while developers gouge themselves in a bidding war for a place on the service. Furthermore, they have no personal or financial incentive to exclude anything unless it will cost them time or money. Trying to sell games very few people will buy (the games they reject) does exactly that.

          And yes, it IS fantastic for indies who get on Steam. And will continue to be. Only now, if Greenlight does what Valve hopes it does, there will be even MORE indies on Steam.

      • I have a feeling you’re more likely to end up getting your game into the app store when you submit it than getting it into Steam when you submit it to Greenlight. Also I’m fairly certain Apple is supposed to use that money to have professional people around to check your game, not just to gateway.

        “High quality.” Like the train/farming simulator games that are extremely buggy? Or the dozens, if not hundreds, of cheaply made hidden object games? I’m fine with controlled content, but quality control is not the reason it exists in Steam’s case.

        • Yes, it is more likely. Because the app store is essentially an open market and Steam is not. Again, it never has been and they never said it would be. And where in the app store contract does it say that submission fees are used to pay QA? Seriously, did I also miss that?

          And those games you are referring to are cash cows. The people that care about them REALLY care about them, and when another one goes up on Steam, Valve and the developers both make a lot of money. And the same applies to hidden object games, regardless of your own personal feelings on them.

      • yes, but while after submitting to the app store people can already buy your game, after submitting to greenlight you get the chance that maybe people will vote your game basing their judgement only on screenshots and a trailer.

        I’d recommend Campster’s insightful take on the subject:
        http://www.errantsignal.com/blog/?p=352
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hyoWD6K9k3A

        • I actually link to the video in the article. I’m familiar with his point of view, but thanks for the links anyway (being sincere).

          But what is your point here? $100 is not a guarantee and no one ever said it was. Yes, it is a near guarantee on the app store, but the app store is essentially an open market. Steam is not, and has not once ever said it was going to be.

  5. Tight quality control? Trainz is on steam. This is a game where you are literally on rails and you can drive off the world.

    • I’ve already addressed this in a previous comment:

      “…those games you are referring to are cash cows. The people that care about them REALLY care about them, and when another one goes up on Steam, Valve and the developers both make a lot of money. And the same applies to hidden object games, regardless of your own personal feelings on them.”

      • So I guess Steam has tight quality control except when it doesn’t have tight quality control. I don’t think Trainz 2010: Engineer’s Edition would even qualify as an alpha release from any reputable developer. This is the game I am talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ugcu5yQKLZU

        This is direct evidence that Steam doesn’t have tight quality control. A company that cares even a little about the quality of the products they sell wouldn’t touch this garbage. Sure it effectively exploits its target demographic, but that is not an indicator of quality.

        • The measurement of quality I’VE been referring to is the measurement Valve employs for Steam, wherein enough people care about a game that selling it on their service is going to be profitable for both parties. I sort of hate how many different ways I’ve explained this.

          The measurement of quality you’re referring to is about bugs. I’ve never played Trainz, but it looks buggy and not entirely useable. So what. Games have bugs. There’s also thousands and thousand of other games on Steam. Plenty of them have bugs, but all of them are there because enough people care about them that having it on the service is profitable to both Valve and the developer.

  6. Steam always provides quality games is a blatant lie. I still remember what a horrible game Revelation 2012 was. If you are looking for other examples feel free to browse steam forums for errors and bug reports to see how many Steam users suffer from “high quality” games Steam provides. Stop being a fan and start seeing things as what it is. Steam is a business. It does what businesses do.

    What bothers me on the greenlight is simple. I’m not the one donating to the charity, Steam is. And donating to charity is tax deductible. So if I fail Steam is earning money, if I succeed Steam earns more money. And all the legwork is done by the users. Don’t try to sell me this as a thing thats to my benefit. That’s dishonest. This is a thing for Steam’s benefit.

    And please don’t tell me “if your game is good it’ll get noticed”. No that’s not a guaranteed result and anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of gaming history knows this.

    • Revelations 2012 went on Steam because SOMEONE at Valve determined it would be profitable. I don’t know if was or wasn’t (for the record, I think it looks like a garbage game), but your own personal standards of quality are different from Valve’s, who runs the Steam service to deliver games to players they believe players will buy.

      And I KNOW Steam is a business! I’ve been saying that this entire time! IT IS ALMOST MY ENTIRE POINT. You guys are making me feel like I’m losing my fucking mind over here.

      Yes, Greenlight is simple from the user’s point of view. At the time of your comment it’s been like 5 days. They’ve already openly stated it will continue to change. Give it some time!

      And suggesting that Valve intends to profit from Greenlight submissions by writing off the donation is supremely juvenile. Do you think they really give a shit about whatever money they’d net from that? One artist at Valve could spend one hour making a new texture for the Half Life 1 crowbar and put it on sale and it would make more money than Greenlight submission fee tax deductions will make.

      “And please don’t tell me “if your game is good it’ll get noticed”. No that’s not a guaranteed result and anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of gaming history knows this.”

      I won’t tell you that, because I’ve never said that and I don’t believe that. What I WILL tell you is that if your game is GREAT and a lot of people will care about it, highly profitable doors open up to you. You just have to realize this and then, you know, walk through them.

    • 1. Steam maintains a generally high bar of quality for its games. There are over 1,200 games on it, of course a few are going to be bad. They’re outliers, and that they only prove that their system for finding diamonds in the rough needs work, which is why Greenlight exists.

      2. Yes, Steam is doing this for its own benefit and to make more money. Do you have a point? Are you saying that this is a surprise? Or that they pretended something else? Or that it’s morally wrong? None of these are true.

      3. You’re an indie, nothing is guaranteed for you period. If you want a guarantee, go work for a company, which will guarantee you a salary and benefits, and also guarantee that the owners will pocket all of the profit of what you create (which will far outvalue your salary in the long run, which is why they do it). If you recognized that guarantee kinda sucks in a lot of ways, that’s why you decided to go indie and give up any guarantees. Getting noticed is your problem just as much as making a great game is your problem. Neither is Valve’s problem and they’re not pretending that it is.

      • ANOTHER AMEN FROM THIS GUY.

      • @Shay and @Ben

        Both of you have missed my point.

        Change from “Everybody sends their games and it’ll be voted” to “Everbody that paid 100$ sends their games and it’ll be voted” is a move beneficiary to Steam. Steam is essentially stacking the decks. They’ll change their situation to win-win while developer is still win-lose.

        My point is selling this change as something beneficiary to indie developers is dishonest. It’s not, that’s a pay wall considering the facts of the world:
        Gross annual income of US is 15000$
        Gross annual income of Russia is 2000$

        I dare to you raise 100$ dollars in Russia mowing lawns and cleaning garages in a weekend.

        • You do not appear to comprehend why Greenlight was created in the first place.

          Greenlight was created to help Valve by taking an unmanageable load of submissions and crowdsourcing the selection efforts. There are only x people at Valve who manage submissions as their full time jobs, and it has become too much work for them in recent years. Not too much work as in “Gee we’re lazy and don’t feel like doing all of this”. More like “Holy crap there’s so much shit to do and trying to do it all is unrealistic”.

          Continuing to operate like this would hurt Valve because it spreads their portfolio team thin and which hurts their portfolio, which HURTS EVERYONE.* It especially hurts indie developers because the process is bottlenecked, and if those x people only have so much time and energy, they’re going to prioritize with their established partners like EA and THQ and Ubisoft and Squeenix and all those AAA companies they have long standing relationships with. Meanwhile, the AA and the A and the indie developers are probably not going to make it through and onto the service. But they recognize this and WANT TO FUCKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! It’s why they created Greenlight.

          What’s going to happen now is that in any given period of time that only x indie games would make it through the bottleneck and on to the service, now Greenlight will ensure that x + y indie games will make it on to the service since they’ve enlisted the player base’s help. This is how it helps the indies; in the long term, and as a whole.

          Not every last indie, and not right now.

          And to be totally honest, I feel like you’re not really thinking about this at this point in time. What possible way do they benefit by making it harder to help the people they created the service to help? You’re focused on this one move they made that they didn’t originally want to make (remember, there was no fee at first) because people abused their service. To sincerely assume they sat there and cackled about how it’s going to make it harder for some people is naive and cynical and pessimistic and like I already said; juvenile.

          Last but not least, knock it off with that “in Russia” business. You know what point I’m trying to fucking make; it’s to do whatever trivial, meaningless, degrading, boring thing you have to do in order to get the money you’d need if your situation is that dire.

          *If they’re not able to maintain their portfolio in whatever way they do and have been doing for years now, Steam would be valueless and we wouldn’t give a shit about Greenlight, or about getting our games on the service.

          • Ok now you are deliberately misleading.

            I am not arguing over a fictional discussion of “if greenlight in itself is good practice or not”. And I never claimed Steam is made of fat cats with twirly mustaches exploiting indie devs. They made a perfectly valid business decision from their perspective.

            I was oblique about the Russia issue. Let me clear it up for you. When you pay 100$ to Steam it’s not a guarantee that you are going to be able to sell your product over Steam. That is a risk. That risk means 2 days of menial work for you. That same risk means 15 days of menial work to a Russian. That was the point of my dare. 100$ does not mean the same to you. A guy in Russia or a guy in Mexico or a guy in India takes more risk than you when he invests 100$. You can’t claim that’s a fair practice.

            I don’t have a problem with Steam. Steam is business it does what businesses do. I am not arguing about greenlight as a system. Simply, what Steam CHANGED about their system is not good for indie developers nor is it fair for everyone. Now does Steam has to make it good for devs? No, Does Steam has to make it’s decisions fair? No again. That’s entirely their prerogative. But the decision is still not good for indie devs and it still is unfair.

            Anyone saying otherwise is either can’t grasp the business aspect of the works or deliberately misleading.

          • No I’m not. I’m understanding it to be a certain way and I’m trying to make that point. Why would I be deliberately misleading? There’s no incentive for me to lie to you so comments like that are frustrating and confusing.

            I understand what you’re saying about $100 USD being a lot of money for Russians. The conversion makes menial labor unrealistic. Fine! But you’ve also got internet access. If you can’t leverage that into $100 USD then I don’t know what to tell you.

            I’ve continued to argue because you keep employing language that suggests Valve is intentionally implementing unfair systems so that they can benefit from Steam submissions fee.

            “I’m not the one donating to the charity, Steam is. And donating to charity is tax deductible. So if I fail Steam is earning money, if I succeed Steam earns more money. And all the legwork is done by the users. Don’t try to sell me this as a thing thats to my benefit. That’s dishonest. This is a thing for Steam’s benefit.”

            “Steam is essentially stacking the decks. They’ll change their situation to win-win while developer is still win-lose.”

            I know they are not trying to slight anyone and I see an amazing light at the end of the tunnel but seem utterly intent on supporting the idea that they are fucking you up so I’m done. Good luck with everything.

  7. Frankly, my two cents on this are: Library and system load.

    First, Steam’s Cloud server, like any other, has a limited capacity and space on that server is a premium as much as land but doesn’t cost as much. Yes more space can be added too accommodate more games, but if adding that space costs more than those games bring in to justify the expense, why do it? It’s a waste of space and money at that point.
    Secondly, suppose we get an AppStore approach to this and find games on their for 49-99 cents in some cases. These will QUICKLY clutter up anyone’s library on Steam to the point they would have to add a ‘hide’ or sorting functions to the client. Top it off with these cheap games being like tiny nails in the coffin of an account that gets banned. Imagine, a library of thousands of games, tens of thousands of dollars worth of games, getting banned. All that value, down the drain. That scares me enough I don’t even bother using the community functionality, I just use it as a collective webstore for my games.

    Finally, I won’t deny that Apple’s AppStore arguably ‘does it better’ so to speak, but that’s a whole other debate I dare not get into. Steam is what Steam is, and always has been. Yes they have (or had) a large dedicated team of coders and testers quality-checking submissions. However, with the latest surge of shoddy garbage games they were receiving due to the popularity surge of indie games, it stands to reason that giving these submissions a credible chance while lightening the load on the QA testers gave them reason to try GreenLight. It was abused, they tried to counter the abuse in a reasonable way, they get scolded by wannabe self-righteous zealots of the internet. To them all I say: “Sod-off, they didn’t have to launch GreenLight in the first place and it got abused. Scream at the people who abused it!”

    • Well now look here. Someone thinking critically, technically, and logistically. I’m delighted. :)

      I don’t have much to say except that’s a lot of valid points and I appreciate you thinking about it from both the user’s and developer’s point of view. Hopefully you’re using that brain of yours to improve things!

  8. I think that Jonas Kyratzes has some good commentary on the subject if you do care to see another side of things; http://www.jonas-kyratzes.net/2012/09/06/the-one-hundred-dollar-question/ – I dont agree with every concept or implication, but I definitely see where hes coming from, and I respect where his indie game design comes from.

    I think in general, its good to exclude some games- but I can imagine a situation where a great game gets created in a dirt poor area, and otherwise would have been accepted by Greenlight. They could be blocked by this. Steam is a private company, they can operate however they like, Im not saying they should or have to change, but the situation could block some games that would otherwise be well received I think.

    If people dont speak up and just read the policy, and come to your conclusions above, another perspective would not be heard.

    Having said all that- I think Valve is so great, that if someone like Jonas Kyratzes emailed Valve directly and linked to his game, they would actually take a look and decide if they waive the fee for his account. I bet they would do that… Whether they do that for “the sea will claim everything” is another story… but, well they would look at it.

    • Jonas’ complaint suggests that games like his or Dear Esther deserve privilege simply because they are “pushing boundries”. I’m surprised that this issue has gained so much attention because I’m surprised that people ever thought Steam cared about pushing boundries!

      • Exactly! This not something they do (not intentionally) and this is not something they care about (intentionally). This is the weird miscommunication I was talking about; when and where in the fuck did people get this idea?! Haha!

        Thanks for making me feel like I’m NOT losing my mind.

      • In terms of pushing boundaries- Im not sure if Steam cares about pushing boundaries or not, Ive read their employee handbook, and perhaps because they actually do push a lot of boundaries people assume this is a goal of theirs.

        There is a lot of emotional chaff in Jonas’ writeup to be sure, but I think the point I take away, as it applies to this, is about the cost to be on Greelight. Or even more specifically the reaction from both sides. I believe that the reaction of North Americans that 100$ (USD) can be easily acquired is a little short sighted. I think that in other areas of the world the cost “could” certainly be a blockade. This is something we should be aware of as developers and as people on this planet. Personally I instantly saw inconsistency with Steam’s own selling policy. If its ok to lower purchase prices of games in a place such as “the Russian lands” (sorry Estonia!); then the same area should be able to receive a Greenlight upload discount no?

        Either way though, its certainly not ridiculous or stupid to talk about this simply as an idea, even if its not something we can ever dictate Steam to change. If this is how legit developers in that area feel is a problem for them getting on a global market*, how is it stupid or ridiculous to at least listen to that? I feel this is important, and I desperately want to see those games, if only for reference. You can say that cream will rise to the top anyway, and sure, that could be true; but why put blockades up?

        Do we demand a private company change their legal policies for any reason? Fuck no. But should we talk about different options in sometimes heated discussion without being dismissive? Of course we should. Should we find an acceptable way to view the most cool indie games? I dont see why not. A proper rating system along with journalism ect will weed out crap anyway- Lets not block people by income lets block them on their game ideas.

        *As private companies do more and more on a global scale, and start to monopolize, by preference, I think its functional to have a forum for open discussion on how everyone thinks that company should perform on certain issues; simply so ideas can spread and be heard by said company. Clearly with no requirement for that company to enact on any of it. Im sure Valve welcomes this and understands this very well when listening to people talk about their experience on Origin or whatever that blip Ubisoft made….

    • Part of the point I’ve been trying to make is that even if you’re in a dirt poor area, as long as you’ve got internet access (and where is anyone making videogames and not have internet access?) than you still have options. And even if you don’t have internet access, then one can certainly go and utilize some of the less interesting ways of making money that people in their part of the world did in that vast window of time before there was internet.

      But the tricky thing about options it that you have to pursue them. I don’t believe anyone has ever said at any point in this conversation that anything is just going to fall onto your lap.

      Now see the last thing you just said is a perfect example of pursuing an option! I agree that Jonas can and should try that, and if that doesn’t work, move right onto the next thing that might work. If people care about your creations these kind of things are highly likely to happen as soon as you ASK.

      Thanks for being calm and reasonable. :)

    • First: Jonas IS on Greenlight, and he didn’t pay for it because he had submitted his game before Steam decided to add the fee (that is not retroactive and it’s a one-time fee to allow an account to publish). It could seem unfair for other developers, but first come first served… There is nothing wrong with it, timing is essential in making a successful product

      Second: “pushing boundaries” doesn’t mean anything: implementing complex mechanics without making your game overcomplicated is pushing boundaries; creating tight control and smooth gameplay is pushing boundaries; implementing new technologies and perfecting what came before is pushing boundaries; making a system and a story more interactive, trying to implement different ways to overcome the same obstacle (maybe using ingame logic and physics instead of prescripted events) is pushing boundaries.

      Almost all (good) games are pushing boundaries, the problem is pushing boundaries and at the same time targeting a demographic large enough (or rich enough) to make your game commercially viable, if you want to make a job of your passion.


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