“Yay!” But “Hmm…” The Ramifications of the 100-Game Greenlight

You can vote for Particulars on Steam Greenlight by going to our Greenlight page, or by searching for the title of the game in the Greenlight section of Steam. Please do!

It was with a great deal of excitement that I greeted today’s news that Steam has approved a hundred games for sale in a single fell swoop. “Can you please bring me the laptop?!” I babbled at my partner, keen to see how far the mass Greenlighting had allowed us to bump up the charts. And low and behold, our “percentage of the way to the top 100” had jumped from 56% to 85%. Twenty-nine points! We only got five points the other day when we both released our free demo and got featured in a Groupees bundle. (Oops, we shoulda done a blog post about that. We told the SeeThrough Club mailing list. You should join that.)


We are now a whole lot closer to that dreamed-of goal of getting our game onto Steam, the behemoth that controls 70% of the PC digital download market. But of course it’s all relative. And that relativity is the key to understanding the ramifications of this significant boost in Greenlight’s throughput. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, by any stretch, but ramifications there will be. Basically: the more games that are greenlit, the more crowded and competitive the Steam marketplace becomes. Perhaps even more significantly, the less attention will be paid to each game that gets through. The previous lists of seven or fourteen greenlit games were splashed across the news sites of the Internet. But this hundred? Steam couldn’t even fit the list in their blog post, and had to make a separate page for them. They’re just not going to enjoy the same amount of individual attention as the previous batches.

Of course many of these games are going to do fantastically well in any case, but this will be due in large part to the rabid fanbases they have already accumulated as part of the process of rising to where they were in the Greenlight top 100. If Steam is moving towards a generally much faster throughput (as they say they are), then games with a lot less of an established following will begin to get through. And thus the cache of “getting onto Steam” will begin to lessen. All of the marketing and community building that people are doing pre-Steam will still need to be done – but it will more-and-more will shift towards a post-Greenlight battle to be noticed. It will become the case that getting on Steam will be the minimum hurdle that a PC indie game needs to clear to be successful, rather than the significant milestone that it is now.

So – while I am still very excited that we may actually manage to be greenlit by the end of the year, I am also girding my loins for the battle for hearts and minds that will continue into the ever-more-crowded bazaar that is Steam! En garde!

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