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No surprises with Steam Greenlight's first approvals
No surprises with Steam Greenlight's first approvals
September 11, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

September 11, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing

It's been nearly two weeks since the debut of its new Greenlight platform, and already Valve Software has announced the first 10 user-submitted titles that will join the Steam marketplace.

The selected games include Black Mesa, Cry of Fear, Dream, Heroes & Generals, and Kenshi, all of which are among the community's top ranked choices on the Greenlight platform. In fact, other than the omission of Slender: Source, Valve's initial approval list is identical to the top 10 games currently on Greenlight.

While the service is still very much in its infancy, it seems Valve is selecting its games based primarily on community votes. When Valve announced the service in July, it did not detail how it would select its games, noting only that community votes would help bring popular titles to the studio's attention.

Now that Valve has approved of these community-selected titles, they will move onto the new 'Greenlit' section within Greenlight, where they will exist until they are ready debut on Steam. Some of these titles will become full-fledged, purchasable games, while others will be available as free downloads.

Valve pointed out that many of these titles are still in development, and thus will not become available on Steam for another several months.

The full list of these approved Greenlight titles is as follows:

- Black Mesa
- Cry of Fear
- Dream
- Heroes & Generals
- Kenshi
- McPixel
- No More Room in Hell
- Project Zomboid
- Routine
- Towns

Since its launch in late August, Steam Greenlight has received tons of game submissions from users and developers all over the world. It's received so many submissions, in fact, that Valve chose to charge a $100 entry fee to limit spam and joke entries on the service. Valve says it will donate the proceeds of that fee to Penny Arcade's Child's Play charity.

Developers on the service, while optimistic, have voiced concerns about Greenlight's limited discoverability options, though Valve has said that it is working to smooth over these issues and make the service more friendly for both developers and users.

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Joseph Pearlman
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Last I checked (a few days ago) Black Mesa had around 30% and from what I saw was the most popular game on greenlight. Valve is still obviously playing around with how greenlight is going to work, but do we know if these games got the 100% of positive ratings required, or if Valve just saw that they were really popular and also were a game that they wanted on their service and greenlit them early?

Tom Baird
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I don't think you understand how Greenlight is supposed to work.

From the FAQ on Greenlight:
"How many votes does a game need to get selected?
It's going to change during the first few days/weeks since we don't know what kind of traffic to expect. Part of the drive for this system is the need for customers to help us prioritize which games they want to see made available on Steam. So the specific number of votes doesn't matter as much as relative interest in a game compared with other games in Steam Greenlight.

We're going to be reaching out to developers as we see their games getting traction regardless of whether they have achieved a specific number of votes or are sitting 1st or 2nd place at any given time. We are most interested in finding the games that people want, not requiring them to always hit a specific number of votes."

In short there are 0 required values for acceptance, since acceptance onto Steam is still largely based on Availability, and this simply allows them to sort by relative interest (as well as giving Indie developers a place to see if they can sell their game, and not just develop it, since you could have the coolest game ever, but it wouldn't mean much if you couldn't market yourself properly on their Store)

james sadler
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May want to edit the top of this article a little.

Probably the only titles of these that I'll fork over money for (if they weren't free) is Black Mesa and Routine. I've been aware of Black Mesa for awhile now and am glad to see it coming to light finally. Just started replaying HL2 last night and was wondering when BM was going to be launched (didn't even see it on GreenLight, but I haven't looked that hard). Secondly Routine caught my eye when GreeLight first launched a couple of weeks ago. One of the few games that "looks" like it belongs on steam personally, and I'm not that big of FPS's. I'm glad to see steam has Greelit some of the games. For me that has always been one of the steps they've needed to do in order to make the service really viable to me as a developer. We'll see what happens from now to when those games get onto the store.

Maurício Gomes
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I already bought Towns on Desura and I was considering buying Zomboid until I moved away from my PC :(

The survival horror games... meh (I am not much into that).

matthew diprinzio
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Routine is a day one buy for me. It looks like the most high-quality title on that roster.

Jane Castle
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Color me skeptical how can Routine possibly be on this list? I am not knocking the game by any means, but all you have to go on is a slick but minimal trailer and some environmental screen shots and text describing the game.

I have yet to see any gameplay. What if the finished product turns out to be substandard? Will Valve pull the game and not let it get on Steam?

It seems to me if you wish to get GreenLit all you need to do is make some slick trailers and artwork and you are most of the way there.....

Or does Valve have access to preliminary builds of these games?

AGAIN I AM NOT KNOCKING THIS GAME. I quite like the art style. But it doesn't make sense to Green Light games that are just barely out of the concept phase in many cases......

Ron Dippold
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They got enough tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people to thumbs up Routine that enough people will probably actually buy it from Steam to make it worth Steam's while.

I think that's all that's required. You're not demonstrating quality, just enough interested people who are presumably buyers, or representative of buyers.

Some of the indie games that've gone on Steam through the normal process already have been /horribly/ broken at launch. Patched later, but apparently that's not a big concern.

Jane Castle
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Thumbs up does not equal guaranteed sales..... Unless if you vote for a game the money is deducted from your account.

If the end product turns out to be flawed and NOT fun (remember no game play has been shown) no amount of up voting can get you sales..... How many slick trailers have the big AAA studios released and when it comes time to play the actual game it is a disappointment?

And that is my concern some of these games aren't anywhere close to being finished and predictions are already being made.

Then again people are willing to throw money at a non existent Android based console. Said console is from a group of people that have no experience in the space and provide very little if any credible information on how they might pull of such a massive under taking in so little time.... Ouya I'm looking at you.....

So heck maybe simple mouse clicks is a predictor of sales on Steam....

Ron Dippold
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It's definitely not guaranteed sales, but it IS a measure of interest, and now you are at least mildly invested in the game, since you gave it a thumbs up. Not as much as if you Kickstarted it, but...

Number of people willing to click 'Greenlight this!' does seem like a reasonable predictor of possible buyers. You interested these people for whatever reason, maybe J Random Steam user will also be intrigued. I guess we'll see.

james sadler
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I tried to submit our game when Greenlight first launched and there was a checkbox asking if we had a working build of the game. I didn't select it and was given the error "Greelight is not accepting games without working builds at this time" when I hit submit. I didn't see anything explaining what "working" build meant so I didn't press it. Since the community doesn't have access to this build (yet) I can see valve checking out said build once a game looks like its getting positive attention.

Rik Spruitenburg
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Actually, getting people to say "yes" to a product when it doesn't cost them anything and then later reminding them they wanted it when it is available is a pretty sneaky way to get around people's natural purchase resistance.

Ron Dippold
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Yes! Now you're invested! Less than a Kickstarter, but emotionally invested.

Hell, I thumbsed up a few of those myself, and I can already feel the urge to validate doing so by buying them when they come out. I am genuinely interested in all of the ones I thumbsed up, but this is sight unseen. Bad hindbrain! Bad!

Kyle Redd
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If the only way for indies to get on Steam now is to be one of the most popular games on Greenlight, then Greenlight is going to be a major disappointment. In fact I would greatly prefer the previous system.

Out of this initial 10 games, three are free mods, and Zomboid, Kenshi, and Heroes & Generals had very large fanbases already and were virtually guaranteed to get on Steam with or without Greenlight. As Jane pointed out, Routine has only a slick trailer and a promising description to this point, and with Lunar Software being a first-time developer the quality of the final game is anyone's guess.

So that leaves only Dream, Towns, and McPixel as the games where Greenlight can genuinely be said to have played a significant role. That's not an encouraging record if this is intended as a way of getting games on Steam that otherwise would've been passed over.

Prior to Greenlight, Valve had a long history of picking out obscure or hard-to-define titles that only found success through word of mouth after their release on Steam - games like Binding of Isaac, Recettear and Jamestown that would never have made it to Steam if they would've had to go through Greenlight first.

Popularity can not be the only deciding factor; there still needs to be people at Valve going through submissions just as they were before, looking for unique games with original ideas that may not necessarily be huge sellers, but will contribute to Steam's image as a distributor that primarily values quality.

Jane Castle
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I think the other method of getting on Steam is still available. I for one will NOT put my game on Green Light. I will submit it through their traditional channel. I will also submit it to all competing services as well as selling it on my website. While Steam has the upper hand in the digital marketplace right now it is NOT a monopoly that cannot be over come.

So if Valve mandates that ALL indie games need to go through Green Light to get on Steam, then Steam will not be the goto site to purchase indie games....

Alex Jordan
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The old method of submitting indie games to Steam without Greenlight has been shut down. You now either submit via Greenlight or via a publisher.

Jane Castle
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wow that was foolish of them..... Well everyone can make mistakes I guess....

Arthur De Martino
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The game I picked (Kenshi) got in. So I'm happy! Now hurry up and pick Pro Wrestling X, Gabe.

Michael Hartman
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Greenlight seems like a net loss for indies, not a gain.

What a shame. :(