Nixing Steam Greenlight Will Be Good For Gaming
In 2012, Valve launched Steam Greenlight which allowed developers to pay a one time fee of $100 to submit as many games as they want to the Steam Community for voting. Since then, the release of games has risen exponentially and, in return, has flooded the market with half-assed buggy games, promised releases still in “Early Access”, and the once in a blue moon gem that makes the system worth-while.
Recently, Steam has announced they are getting rid of the Greenlight process and replacing it with “Steam Direct”. Developers no longer have to go through a community approval process and, instead, have to pay a fee of up to $5000 per game to submit. This has caused a stir in the developer’s community due to one of the biggest issues surrounding development being money. Greenlight offered an almost barrier free process in getting your game on the forefront of a major gaming platform.
I have spent many hours upon days sifting through Greenlight submissions looking for my own content. Some of the games do have a lot of potential, but probably half are worn out concepts and overused ideas. This isn’t to downplay the hard work someone has put into a project, but the over-saturation of the market has made gaming less enjoyable and more intimidating.
The currently submission fee on Greenlight goes directly to Child’s Play Charity. This meaning the only money Steam is making off of developers is per game sale itself. It’s probably safe to assume that this business model won’t continue for Steam Direct, especially if the submission fees end up being in the thousands of dollars, but I hope they at least direct a portion of the proceeds towards charity. #PayItForward #DoTheRightThing
Over the last few years, there has been a mass increase in the development and interest of gaming. Video games have shot past Movies and TV to become the fourth biggest entertainment market in the world with NewZoo projecting the Global Video Game Industry to reach upwards of $107 billion in 2017.
This, of course, makes the video game industry a desirable one. Greenlight along with crowdfunding, the increased use of technology and social media, and the many resources available to make and market games has resulted in over a 700% Steam game release increase since 2013.
Why do I think getting rid of Greenlight is good for gaming?
I’ve worked with many developers over the years. Most them did go through the Greenlight process. I’m not downplaying the effort that looks like it may be met with a brick wall, but I am pointing out the fact that making it that easy to release a game, waters down the achievement of actually making a good game.
By December 1st 2016, 4207 games had been released on Steam. That’s an average of 12 games a day. In my mind, that’s a ridiculous number. Can you imagine what it looks like to the consumer to be bombarded every single day with another iteration of the same types of games that were released just the day prior?
This isn’t even considering the quality of games. My current Steam library sits at 403. It’s a nice mix of Triple A titles and indie games of every genre. I won’t lie to you and say I’ve played most of them. I can’t even say I’ve played half of them. If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve probably played 30-40. Out of those 30-40 games, maybe 20 are playable. By playable, I mean free of most bugs, complete and coherent game play, and are not in Early Access. That’s frustrating to the average gamer.
We are spending our time and money on a product that’s supposed to entertain us and we keep getting disappointed. There’s minimum accountability when it comes to releasing games and it’s time for a change. We deserve to be given a good product that we feel happy about purchasing and playing. This can’t be done consistently when the market is constantly flooded.
What I’m hoping will happen with Steam Direct, is the high application fee will completely stop this barrage of games in its tracks. I’m hoping that, instead of abandoning games as soon as they’re released and moving on to the next project, developers will continue to improve and communicate with their community. In reality, if you are making a game that people want to play, you’ll make the money back in time. Isn’t that how every other industry works? You spend money making something and the final product allows you to pay yourself back for the original money spent. The video game industry should be no different.
This, of course, does make it a hassle for those developers that are doing the proper work to create a game. I am in firm belief that if these developers are making something worthwhile, it will come to fruition. Just because the process is not as easy, doesn’t mean it won’t still be achievable. This might even allow other indie-progressive resources to become more popular.
I feel like Valve is making the right decision. At least they are acknowledging the fact that Greenlight has turned into a shit show and are trying to fix the system. I can only look on this optimistically with the thought that we can bring more positivity to gaming by focusing on quality rather than quantity. Let’s bring back more pride in developing games and enjoyment in playing them.