Greenlight is a weird phenomenon, and I’m aware that there are folks who read this who might not know how it works.
Which is okay, because even the rest of us kinda don’t.
Steam itself is one of the (likely the) largest digital distribution platform for PC games. Traditionally, however, the vast majority of games on Steam have been AAA titles–your Far Crys and Borderlands‘s and Portal 2s. Games that get, like, television commercials.
A couple years ago, Valve (the company behind Steam) was like, “Hey, we like indie games. But boy, there are a lot of ’em. How about we devise a way to let them in in batches?”
And Greenlight was born.
So here’s what indie devs do (if their game is already released, or will be very shortly released): they make a new trailer, they plan some announcement posts, they prep some press emails, they plan some social media stuff, and then they click the “Publish” button on Greenlight.
And then they try to get press coverage and wait for the votes to roll in.
Steam doesn’t really publish how many games they’re going to let in or how often. Sometimes it’s been 50, sometimes 100.
People vote “yes”, “no”, or “ask me later” on Greenlight–yes, they’d buy the game if it were on Steam; no, they wouldn’t; or umm, maybe.
Devs are shown their stats of the number of votes in each of those buckets, how many views and–somehow–what percentage of the way they are to being in the top 100. There are graphs of how your project is comparing to the top #5 project, top #15, etc.
Are the games let in the top 50 or top 100? Not necessarily. Valve says:
Votes in Greenlight give us a hugely valuable point of data in gauging community interest along with external factors such as press reviews, crowd-funding successes, performance on other similar platforms, and awards and contests to help form a more complete picture of community interest in each title.
The stats provided are really good at giving the devs whatever feedback they want. Want to feel inadequate? Look at your numbers compared to the top #5 game! Want to feel good? Look at your percentage towards being in the top 100! It can be singularly nerve-wracking if you’re a stats refresher.
Oh, and one more thing: Valve has announced that within the next 12 months, Greenlight will be replaced with some other process.
It’s hard to know quite what to feel about Greelighting Ossuary–it’s not a mass-appeal game, but I do think it’s solid, quirky, funny, and fun, and I want more people to play it. We already have the game available for sale on Desura, IndieGameStand, and Humble via Future Proof’s own site. (I’m still on the fence regarding the business tactic of having one’s game up on multiple/many portals–sales are split, but people’s preferences are accounted for [some folks really like Desura’s platform, for instance]. Fees are different for each portal, as are payout thresholds.)
All of that said, Greenlight is here now and it would be awesome if Ossuary made it into Steam. If you have a Steam account and are willing and able, I’d appreciate if you gave us a vote!