Last week, we saw the news that the normally glacial pace of Steam Greenlight had just hit a thaw: 100 games were greenlit at once. Greenlight approvals were usually limited to a mere ten at a time, and the process seemed to be a magnet for controversy . Now, an indie developer writes that although more approvals are great, more approvals also mean less coverage and prestige for greenlit games.
“[R]elativity is the key to understanding the ramifications of this significant boost in Greenlight's throughput,” Saul Whitton, of indie developer See Through Studios, wrote in a post titled “Yay! but Hmm…”
“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.”
Digital distribution sites like Steam and GOG continue to dominate the PC gaming marketplace, so these sites are becoming more and more crucial for indie developers if they want their games to be noticed. Having these indie games on board is also good business for the marketplaces themselves, which is why we've recently seen GOG establishing new generous contract terms and Steam is working hard at upping its Greenlight approval rate.
It's a huge, competitive marketplace, and everyone's looking for an edge. In unrelated news, Whitton has a game called Particulars working its way through Greenlight right now. Curse you, Whitton! I played right into your hands!