Valve hosted a developer chat today, which brought a whirlwind of ideas and discussion. Here are some of the biggest points that were covered throughout the 1 hour chat in condensed form. This information was compiled from both developers and Valve employees:
On the topic of whether developers could gain access to the Steamworks API prior to being greenlit:
This seems to be one of the focuses for Steam and Greenlight as it moves forward. Although there is “no timeframe yet,” TomB [Valve] has stated they are actively looking into it. He reiterated that Gabe Newell has talked about moving towards an open platform.
Although developers may be able to use Steamworks, whether or not their games will only show up in Greenlight, through searches, or on the main page is still not decided. Alden [Valve] said “There’s a lot of unknowns and a bunch of work to get there, so we’ll see the systems evolve over time as we iterate and make progress in that direction.”
On the topic of Greenlighting more games:
According to TomB [Valve] the limited amount of games going through the process now is due to “limited resources.” Chet [Valve] stated that their new strategy of greenlighting titles in smaller, yet more often batches should actually increase the amount of titles being greenlit.
This appears to be one of Valve’s greatest concerns. Alden [Valve] acknowledge that it is important and stated that they have “a bunch of people working on it.” However, you have to deduce that increasing the flow within the current system is only a temporary solution. The more permanent solution seems to be changing the system into an open API as discussed above.
On the topic of adding a demo button to Greenlight rather than relying on copy-paste links:
TomB [Valve] says “they are working on it,” but expressed concern with the possibility of malicious exploitation of this system. This prospect is likely what has delayed the inclusion of a direct link and is of particular concern with concept pages.
On the topic of creating a separation between “In-development” and “Complete”
TomB [Valve] said they will “discuss [this] internally and see what [they] can do.”
On the topic of dwindling traffic on Greenlight:
TomB[Valve] stated that there’s been “roughly 2 million voters” to participate in Greenlight since its launch. Apart from the initial spike during launch, there has been no tapering in the numbers. However, several developers reported being “stuck” around 20,000 views, typically with around 6,000-7,000 “Yes” votes, which seems to be the natural number you’ll achieve with minimal external influence. In other words, this is the amount of active Greenlight participants that typically go through their full queue of games.
On the topic of reposting your project if you are unsatisfied with initial numbers:
As discussed earlier, you can only expect a certain amount of people to browse to your project naturally on Greenlight. If you launched your page prematurely and feel you may’ve missed out on potential votes, Alden [Valve] stated that you can “absolutely repost if you want to.”
However, he warned that you may miss out on any fans that have “already favorited and followed you item.” He suggested that ” you can leave your existing page up for a while and post an announcement to your existing fans and ask that they vote for you again on your new page.”
On the topic of how the actual decision to Greenlight a game is made:
This was asked many different ways, and the answers were always similar and vague. According to Alden [Valve] there are no “hard and fast rules.” They try to compile as much data as they can to make “informed decisions.” TomB [Valve] stated that they do consider a game’s “success on other platforms” when making their decision. Alden [Valve] said they also take into account “critical success.”
TomB [Valve] stated that they do look at games that have already been passed up in previous publishing batches to see if “they’ve gained more votes or there’s more data to make them ‘stand out.'” If a game is not picked even though it is high on the list, it “doesn’t mean that [they] will never pick” it for greenlighting.
There is currently no easy way to communicate directly to Valve through your project page that isn’t also visible to the general audience. This was brought up and suggested, but there was insufficient time to properly address the issue.
The Early Access program has allowed Valve to “look at games that aren’t ‘finished’ now, but think would be successful on Steam,” according to TomB [Valve].
To read a full recap of all the questions asked and answers given, go here
Some of the prevalent ideas and suggestions:
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[Enrique Dryere wrote this on sister site Gamasutra’s community blogs]