1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Steam Changes Indie Game Policy. For Better or Worse?

Discussion in 'News' started by R-T-B, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. R-T-B

    R-T-B

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    5,934 (1.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    5,116
    Valve has a right to be proud of their Steam platform. After all, it's become an essential part of any gamer's tool belt. Even if one does not buy games on the Steam store directly, many games require it as part of their DRM to activate and launch, and you will end up with Steam on your system anyway. Recently, Valve has been looking into ways to make their system more accessible to smaller companies and Indie Developers, and until now, Steam Greenlight has been the main way to allow for this.

    Under Greenlight, for a fee of $100, a developer could put up as many games as they desired into the Steam platform, but they are not immediately put into the store. Rather, they are voted on by the community and only games that do well are allowed in. Steam Direct differs from this in that it gets rid of the community voting process and allows developers to publish directly for a fee that is paid for each title. This opens a new can of worms that depends entirely on how large this fee is. Valve is currently talking in the range of $100 to as high as $5,000 (based on a survey among developers).
    [​IMG]

    On the high end, indie developers will be largely excluded from the Steam Direct process short of doing something like crowdfunding, and honestly, I have a feeling that backers would much prefer their crowdfunding money went towards developing their game, not to publisher fees. On the low end of pricing, anyone can afford to push software out that may or may not be of quality or even in some cases, amount to nothing more than shovelware. The idea is to find a middle ground, but where should that middle ground be? Additionally, how does Valve's excellent Steam store refund policy play into this? Can we justify shovelware if you can get a refund for it? Does having the Steam store "spammed" in such a way still become a nuisance?

    To be honest, I feel both sides. I was an indie developer once who you've never heard of precisely because he never got published, and on the same token, I hate seeing 1 billion "Rock Simulator" titles populating a genre I actually like, but it's an interesting question: Where do we draw the line? Or more particularly, what dollar amount is the magic number? More to the point, can a magic number really fix this at all?

    Personally, I feel that this has the potential to break more than it fixes, and that the bulk of the "fix" we see here could simply be had by making each Greenlight title need a separate application fee, rather than a "one time entrance" fee. We still need the Steam community to sort garbage from gold, as ultimately only the consumer truly knows what he or she is willing to buy. Why eliminate that in a "direct" publishing method that is only driven by money? It makes no sense to me.

    Please, feel free to post your thoughts on the matter below.

    Source: Steam Community
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
    qubit, biffzinker, ne6togadno and 4 others say thanks.
  2. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2007
    Messages:
    16,488 (4.47/day)
    Thanks Received:
    4,753
    Location:
    London,UK
    I watched Jim Sterling report on this on his YT channel. I think this will go a long way to sorting out the cancer that is steam greenlight.

    one-man-in-a-room asset flippers, and coders who cut and paste games as well as copyrighted content to put into their own games never mind the fact that some games run extremely badly, are full of bugs and some dont even have an exe file to start the game off....

    Steam wants to keep its 'hands off' approach mainly using algorithms to determine which game gets greenlighted but obviously thats still not going to work too well as people can still upvote shitty games to get them published, Its a broken system....

    One of the suggestions Jim made was that a handful of people or even less then that could play a few of the games that have been voted up to see if they are worthy of being published rather then have the automated system greenlight it automatically. Starting off at 30 games per day because hundreds of games go up on greenlight every week -- Its a start and a very good solution to the problem.


    Video can be found here -- He really makes some great points and pulls no punches with the crapware that gets voted up on steam greenlight to the point where some random dude in Russia has tried to sue or take him to court for calling his games shit in his videos because its slanderous and misrepresenting the game as well as his 'company/studio' that this Russian guy has formed and has suffered a loss in sales....

    Honestly, go watch the video lol
     
    TheinsanegamerN says thanks.
    10 Year Member at TPU
  3. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Messages:
    19,890 (6.32/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,168
    Location:
    IA, USA
    I never really understood the necessity for Greenlight in the first place so I'm not particularly sad to see it go.


    If they're trying to police access to the platform, they should just recruit gamers to test games, give feedback (mostly for developer), and vote on whether or not they'd buy it based on criteria (e.g. shut up and take my money, maybe if they fixed stuff, maybe if they added more features, nope, you're kidding right?, and so on). Since it takes money to even get on the list for veting, Valve could pay the people that do the testing (only if they complete the survey and provided quality feedback worthy of compensation). Since Valve doesn't have the manpower to do it themselves, this is a means of recruiting temporary employees to do it for them.

    I think it would cut way back on the shit games and weed out the developers that are in for a quick buck from those that are seriously committed to their product. Hell, these same people can even throw caution flags on copyright concerns so Valve will be aware of them before some very formal letters come in the mail. It'd be win-win for pretty much everyone except the products that shouldn't be on Steam.


    Edit: that's a good video @FreedomEclipse and I didn't realize Steam Direct...let's just say it isn't going to work. Valve needs to do the above if they don't want to get serious about doing it themselves.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
    Crunching for Team TPU
  4. R-T-B

    R-T-B

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    5,934 (1.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    5,116
    I'm not really convinced what they have planned will improve anything.
     
  5. alucasa

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,509 (1.18/day)
    Thanks Received:
    2,284
    Steam Greenlight was kind of crooked. There are communities you can pay and have them vote for your game. I will be glad that it's gone.
     
    theoneandonlymrk says thanks.
  6. manofthem

    manofthem WCG-TPU Team All-Star!

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    10,555 (4.53/day)
    Thanks Received:
    25,314
    Location:
    Florida
    Congrats @R-T-B on being a News poster, we look forward to all your articles! :respect:
     
    biffzinker, R-T-B and rtwjunkie say thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  7. alucasa

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,509 (1.18/day)
    Thanks Received:
    2,284
    Yeah..., we now have a frog delivering news. I fear for the future of TPU.... :p
     
    biffzinker and R-T-B say thanks.
  8. R-T-B

    R-T-B

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    5,934 (1.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    5,116
    That's specist... :p
     
    TheinsanegamerN and manofthem say thanks.
  9. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2007
    Messages:
    16,488 (4.47/day)
    Thanks Received:
    4,753
    Location:
    London,UK
    I dont blame you. I cant stand French people either.
     
    Fluffmeister says thanks.
    10 Year Member at TPU
  10. londiste

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Messages:
    91 (0.81/day)
    Thanks Received:
    29
    that was exactly the idea behind greenlight.
    especially with the increasing amounts of greenlight stuff coming in, valve really does not want to do vetting themselves and tried (and will continue trying) to push that effort to the community.

    what valve appears to be doing with steam direct is to mainly raise barriers of entry.

    you missed some crucial parts of what greenlight is for. the expectations are simply wrong. as long as game is in greenlight or in the (usually) following early access phase, it is not ready, bugs and problems are expected.

    there is a considerable problem with perception and expectations. largely the same problems that are plaguing kickstarter and similar sites. these are not ready and complete products and in many cases will never be. there are warnings about that all over the place which people just choose to ignore.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  11. efikkan

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2014
    Messages:
    478 (0.44/day)
    Thanks Received:
    201
    I think a small flat fee per title and some light moderation is the way to go. There are way too much garbage on Steam right now, and no one including independent developers is benefiting from that.
     
    R-T-B says thanks.
  12. RCoon

    RCoon Gaming Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Messages:
    11,178 (6.00/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,194
    Location:
    Gypsyland, UK
    I'm gonna weigh in because I've been discussing this for a while now.

    If the aim of $100-$5000 is to deter sleezeball developers from bashing up a game in 24 hours and flooding Steam with trash, then I feel they're going about things the wrong way. Many top notch Indie titles wouldn't be available today simply because they've been "priced out" by Steam's heavy handed solutions to otherwise simple problems.

    Greenlight was always being heavily abused, and it was a peculiar method that just allowed Steam to be filled with trash and taken advantage of. Greenlight actively hurt Indie developers, the new storefront hurts Indie developers, and the new Recommended for You system hurts Indie developers. Thus far I do not see a way for Indie games to flourish on Steam (those that deserve it for their time and effort), without getting incredibly lucky on initial review thumbs up, spending masses on marketing externally(which many cannot afford), or getting masses of initial lucky sales to push them into the top sellers category for a day.

    I have always held the view that Steam is inherently bad if you're looking for a new game. If, like me, you've bought numerous bundles that may come with random games' who's genres are not your typical port of call, it won't stop Steam from recommending you ten survival horror builder shooters in quick succession. It will offer me numerous games that simply share a random tag with a game I own, or recommend to me several games simply because my friends own them. The only time I ever buy a game on Steam is when I click on a link to the game's store page after reading an article about it on another site. The new releases section on the front page is rife with AAA titles that sit there for weeks on end, while newly released trash titles clog up the upcoming releases. If a decent respectable Indie developer finally releases a game, they'll probably see some front page action for a little less than an hour. Some are even forced to play the "10% off" on release day game simply so they can hit the front page Today's Deals slot.

    This last year alone, Steam's library doubled its number of games - many of which don't actually run in the first place. I've spoken to people in the industry about this torrent of GameMaker titles that get sold for a buck, many of which don't even work properly and are literally unplayable. It's hard for an Indie dev to get seen underneath this enormous pressure.

    I feel like the solution is pretty easy. Valve need to pay a small team of people, whether they have a dozen full time or two dozen part time people, who's sole purpose in their role is to play the release build of these "Greenlight"/"Steam Direct" titles before they get published publicly. We're getting about 10 new game releases every day. The job wouldn't necessarily be to play through the entire game. Just opening the game and making sure the damn thing runs would be a start. Make sure the controls are bound correctly. Check the sound, check the quality of the first level to see if there are any obvious elements of brokenness. If its broken, feedback to the developer, ask them to fix and resubmit, then check again. Steam relies on everybody else to do their curation for them, and in my opinion it's time for them to start taking responsibility for the wave of trash they've allowed to drown out the presence of other more worthy titles. They created this platform, they must support it. So far I have yet to see evidence of them doing so.

    As a side note, I despise the review system. If a game is newly released, and some asshole comes along and plays for 1 single minute, they are then able to give a negative review of the game immediately. This then permanently plasters the game with the "Negative" tag on the store page, and a thumbs down on the new releases list page. This is never changed unless another review is posted, being either neutral or positive. A single early review can utterly destroy an Indie title.

    EDIT: Here's a very conveniently timed article on the matter, which I wholeheartedly agree with https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/02/14/steam-curation-user-reviews-fixes/

    EDIT EDIT: Gonna throw this article on the NPU Facebook Page
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  13. rtwjunkie

    rtwjunkie PC Gaming Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    8,732 (2.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    12,149
    Location:
    Louisiana -Laissez les bons temps rouler!
    Indeed you have! I think for a couple years you've led the anti-Greenlight charge. Glad to see you putting it on NPU for even more exposure.
     
  14. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Messages:
    19,890 (6.32/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,168
    Location:
    IA, USA
    Microsoft has game certification. Nintendo has game certification. Sony has game certification. Why doesn't Valve? Not only that, but Valve could certify games for Early Access meaning they can kick games like ARK out of Early Access if they violate the spirit of the program (paid DLC for beta software).

    If Valve has a problem with trash on their store, they need start a garbage collection service.
     
    rtwjunkie says thanks.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  15. TheinsanegamerN

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    693 (0.43/day)
    Thanks Received:
    237
    I feel it is largely because steam both makes money from this garbage, and they have no competition. they have the PC market cornered. Everybody* buys games from steam. So what incentive does valve have to put actual effort into cleaning up the storefront? They make more money not doing anything, profiting from both good games and the people who lap up crapware. Look at air control. terrible game, but valve was profiting from every copy, so they waited until everybody had jumped on it, buying it for shock value, THEN delisted it.

    Given how many of these new "games" dont run right, it wouldnt take too many people to sort through the incoming greenlinght entries. They need verification, as you pointed out. But they dont have a sony or nintendo to fight, so they dont really care.

    And then there are those who defend greenlight, stating that it allows beginner devs to throw their work on steam and be supported, even when many of them are asset flip CTRLC CTRLV hack jobs, and allowing those who want trash games to buy them. Somehow new-grounds wasnt good enough for them. (and that is an insult to newgrounds. Most greenlight garbage isnt good enough for them)

    My only guess as to why they are doing something over 2 years after it became obvious that greenlight was doomed is because the plague of terrible games is finally affecting their sales. Valve cares about money, nothing more. As long as there is no competition for steam, valve will continue to allow all this garbage onto their store.

    *Yes some people only use origin, uplay, GoG, ece but these are a minority of gamers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
    rtwjunkie says thanks.
  16. rtwjunkie

    rtwjunkie PC Gaming Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    8,732 (2.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    12,149
    Location:
    Louisiana -Laissez les bons temps rouler!
    And some use ALL platforms. Personally, if a game is on Steam and also on GOG, I always opt for GOG.
     
  17. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    Messages:
    13,950 (4.03/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,583
    Location:
    Quantum Well UK
    Oh great, now I can publish my riveting Watching Paint Dry Simulator (Magnolia) 1.0 onto Steam!!! :rockout: Version 1.1 will even feature different colours!

    But yeah, where does one draw the line? I think having the Greenlight community vote for a title, along with a reasonable fee of no more than a few hundred dollars is the best combination to keep Steam reasonably spam free. Looks like Valve are so big now that they're just going for the money grab.

    Great editorial @R-T-B keep 'em coming. Great to see you on the writing team. :)

    Your adventures as an indie developer might be a good subject for your next editorial.
     
    R-T-B and rtwjunkie say thanks.
  18. TheinsanegamerN

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    693 (0.43/day)
    Thanks Received:
    237
    As do I. Sadly, most AAA devs wont even consider GoG.

    I would have spent so much more money on games if GoG had every AAA release.
     
    R-T-B and rtwjunkie say thanks.
  19. Live OR Die

    Live OR Die

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,243 (1.16/day)
    Thanks Received:
    487
    As a Indie Dev my self i think its a good choice steam greenlight is a huge troll base and these days 10 year old kids are posting up marketplace assets and calling them there own wasting valves time. my project got lit in the 1st week by valve with less than 500 views it just shows you they dont care for it.
     
    10 Year Member at TPU
  20. R-T-B

    R-T-B

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    5,934 (1.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    5,116
    Yeah, not sure how I'd fit that into the news section of a pc hardware review site, but I'd be happy to make a post in the general forum about my experiences as 21GunSoftware if you want. :)
     
    qubit and rtwjunkie say thanks.
  21. Manu_PT

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2016
    Messages:
    108 (0.66/day)
    Thanks Received:
    16
    This recent trend of indie shovelware is destroying my experience with PC gaming. I can´t stand it anymore. As if it wasn´t bad enough that right now I need 5 or 6 different apps to launch games (origin, etc), steam is a complete mess. Most of the titles are either early access or just bad, or both. Someone needs to stop this because we won´t convince all the ps4 players to play on PC like this. We need more quality over quantity. We need more AAA games on PC and SOMETIMES an indie game that makes the difference and brings something.

    I´m a experienced Steam user for years and I get lost when looking for good games on the store. Some websites even gave up reviewing all of them, is just too much. This measure by steam will only make it worse. So good luck trying to beat playstation 4 numbers if you are contributing for pc gaming to be more and more the house of indie gaming and shovelware. Bad reputation for the platform, quantity over quality.

    I feel like PC is some kind of filter right now. The good indie games (like this war of mine and stardew valley) were ported to ps4 anyway. Just... stop.... we need in 2017 something like Quake, MDK or Crysis were in their time, not tons of shovelware. Sad!
     
  22. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    Messages:
    13,950 (4.03/day)
    Thanks Received:
    7,583
    Location:
    Quantum Well UK
    Fair enough, but TPU does cover games, so I think it would work and makes for an interesting break from the same old hardware news and reviews all the time. Run it past bta and W1z first and see what they think.

    If not, then a forum post would be great. :)

    Thing is this effective gaming spam doesn't actually reduce the number of quality games on the PC platform, so it's just an annoyance. It's the price of having a more open platform and it's better this way, overall.
    Welcome to TPU. :toast:
     
  23. rtwjunkie

    rtwjunkie PC Gaming Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    8,732 (2.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    12,149
    Location:
    Louisiana -Laissez les bons temps rouler!
    Then may I recommend Valley, available on Steam. Real indie COMPANY, not just some dude..

    The game is seriously grin-inducing and fun!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
    biffzinker says thanks.
  24. Prince Valiant New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2017
    Messages:
    9 (0.09/day)
    Thanks Received:
    8
    I think what we need is more A games. Budgets bigger than a shoestring but not astronomical (and wasteful), good genre saturation (something sorely lacking nowadays), and games that were different in an effort to compete and be fun, rather than for the sake of it. The landscape was a lot nicer when there was a middle ground like that instead of mostly indie or AAA only.
     
    rtwjunkie says thanks.
  25. rtwjunkie

    rtwjunkie PC Gaming Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    8,732 (2.71/day)
    Thanks Received:
    12,149
    Location:
    Louisiana -Laissez les bons temps rouler!
    There are a fair amount of Indie games that do fill that fun, A-role you described. I mentioned one above, and there's a lot more! Unfortunately they get overshadowed by the large amount of Indie crap.
     

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)