This Week In Indie: Valve Stress Tests Greenlight, And Has No Concern For Other Issues
Valve has confirmed that they indeed have Greenlit 100 new indie games for release on Steam Greenlight. Valve now promise that are at work in streamlining the “publishing workflow” of Greenlight and are actively improving the tools available to developers as a result. Now, they say, they are ready to take the next step and stress test the system they have developed in Steam Greenlight.
This is what Valve had to say about stress testing Greenlight:
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The best way to accomplish this is to invite a significant number of developers to use the updated tools and systems, ship their games and software with these tools, and to give us feedback so that we may continue to improve the process.
To that end, today we’ve Greenlit another 100 titles, bringing the total number of titles offered worldwide Steam publishing agreements via Greenlight to 260.
Accordingly, if everything goes smoothly this will be a great milestone for Valve as it shows that they have made some progress and that the systems put in place remain stable even under an influx of new game titles into the system. Valve says that this will be the largest batch to date and that future batches won’t be as large in comparison. This stress test will allow them to continue increasing the “throughput” of games from Greenlight to the Steam store.
Whilst this is all positive news, there remains some serious doubt from a number of indie developers that this is progress in the wrong direction, as some of the central qualms with Greenlight are not being addressed. Most notably Valve aren’t addressing concerns as covered in this previous article related to Steam Greenlight.
Gamasutra highlighted the disappointment of a number of indie developers who have expressed distaste at the current form of Steam Greenlight, with many citing the service as producing “the wrong atmosphere to promote the most worthy titles in its system”. David Gallant, the developer behind I Get This Call Every Day, had this to say to Gamasutra:
Valve’s been playing around with some elements of Greenlight since it launched… but they still haven’t addressed the one core aspect of Greenlight that makes it a piece of shit: its competitive nature
Games are ranked by vote numbers. One game getting more votes knocks every other game behind it back in the ranking. It is incredibly demoralizing for developers, hurts camaraderie among developers, and helps sustain the false notion that these rankings actually matter.
Gallant has addressed one of the central issues with Steam Greenlight, one which we have discussed previously, that of Greenlight being inefficient due to its voting system and emphasis on competition rather than quality control. As shown above, this becomes a demoralising situation for indie developers pursuing the self-publishing route via Greenlight as the quality of a game is based on rankings and not actual quality.
In defence of his point, Gallant cites Stegersaurus Games’s Mount Your Friends as a poignant example of the inherent problem with Steam Greenlight. Mount Your Friends was ranked 76th before today’s announcement, and was not included in the 100 approved titles for Valve’s August batch. Gallant says that on top of ratings Valve also uses other factors such as festival awards and press coverage to evaluate a game, and asks if these are essential factors for submission why aren’t they included as a specified field for an entry submission. This again brings to the fore the actual problems with Steam Greenlight that are not being addressed by Valve when they should be. Steam Greenlight still very much remains a popularity contest for indie developers.