Valve To Offer IGF Finalists Steam Distribution

By Adam Smith on December 6th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

It’s too late in the day for anything but an explanatory headline. I was going to go with ‘Steam Punk’ because ‘indie development = punk’ but then I realised that was utter nonsense so I decided not to. Here is the news, straight from the IGF organisers: “All IGF Main Competition finalists for this year’s event will receive the opportunity to accept a distribution agreement for Steam.” The IGF hasn’t made distribution agreements on behalf of developers though, with the final decision as to how the finalists reach the public still in the hands of the entrants. Instead, this route appears to be a means of avoiding arcane normal submission procedures or Greenlight.

This seems a decent way to give worthy games extra commercial exposure, although I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and discover that half of the internet thinks it’s a cunning ploy to destroy independent development once and for all.

Finalists in each of the categories, all of which are covered by this agreement, are due to be announced in January. Last year’s winner of the Seumas McNally Grand Prize was Fez, so let’s hope they make this deal retroactive and work on bringing that to Steam, eh?

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135 Comments »

  1. Hoaxfish says:

    come on:

    “Kettle’s Boiled: Valve To Offer IGF Finalists Steam Distribution”

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      Lambchops says:

      Seems like someone is looking to tea off a pun thread.

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        aego says:

        It certainly steams that way to me.

        • Mike says:

          Let’s leaf this alone before it gets carried away.

          • rebeccaadams15 says:

            until I looked at the paycheck 4 $9178, I didnt believe that my cousin could realey receiving money in their spare time at there labtop.. there great aunt haz done this 4 only 14 months and just now repayed the morgage on there apartment and got a brand new Alfa Romeo. read more at..Read More

          • noogai03 says:

            IGFs are known for there creativi-tea

      • Houghtezo says:

        This certainly looks like a good opportuni-tea for some indie developers

        • deadly.by.design says:

          Those finalists are going to face some steep competition.

      • noogai03 says:

        The IGF badge means we can’t just lump these games in with the rest while we sift through steam

      • noogai03 says:

        Pot’s all this about?

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      The Sombrero Kid says:

      I was going to enter this years igf but my game was camo-miles away from being ready so i held off till next year, hopethey offer this next year too.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      Let’s hope they brew up something special.

    • Unaco says:

      I’m wondering if I should milk this pun thing for a bit more. I think I’m just bringing up the dregs in the bottom of the pot now.

    • Vurogj says:

      Samovars have better things to do than get involved in another pun thread.

    • noogai03 says:

      As per usual, the RPS communi-tea has responded with gusto…

  2. dE says:

    “that half of the internet thinks it’s a cunning ploy to destroy independent development once and for all.”

    Oddly enough I’m expecting the same. Including at least 3 pages about how Steam is basically Hitler, only worse, some Rage about Fish and IGF Corruption, some folks moaning about how SUPER OBSCURE OBSCURITY REALITY ARTFART ADVENTURE SLAMBAM SUPERJAM (Fanbase: 7 Players) didn’t make it into the IGF and somehow somewhere it spirals into another AAA versus Indie Debate.

    • Terragot says:

      Every developer that I’ve seen make these complaints has made uninteresting, badly crafted and low quality games.

      Then again, Indies usually consider themselves humble buskers on the razor edge of creationism.

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        LTK says:

        “Creationism”

        I do not think that word means what you think it means.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          Are you telling me the 7 Day FPS jam was just a coincidence?!

      • SeeBeeW says:

        The problem is that this whole track—Indie community support ->crowdfunding campaign->IGF->Steam—creates a world where 99.99% of creators can’t pay rent and 0.01% make enough from every game to launch their own mid-sized studios or never have to work again (depending on preference).

        Imagine if every week you went to work, your boss told you that only one of you was getting paid (and it was almost always the same person). That’s pretty much what indie dev is like right now, and it’s because of a system where everyone wants a piece of the five most popular games while everything else is left to wither and die.

        As a player, this doesn’t matter, because no matter what happens you’ll always have people starving themselves to give you whatever you want. So whether you get behind it depends more on whether or not you think someone should have to spend their life couch-surfing and eating beans and rice just for having the audacity to try to do something nice for you.

        Btw, this whole “SUPER OBSCURE OBSCURITY REALITY ARTFART ADVENTURE SLAMBAM SUPERJAM” stuff is childish and disrespectful to people who work very hard to entertain you. You should be ashamed of yourself for that kind of talk.

        Yours, C. Whitman (contributor to such uninteresting, badly crafted and low quality games as Dungeons of Dredmor)

        • Melliflue says:

          You seem to be taking a lot of things personally. I can’t say for certain what dE meant but he didn’t say that every indie dev was of the form “SUPER OBSCURE OBSCURITY REALITY ARTFART ADVENTURE SLAMBAM SUPERJAM”.

          Also, the sentence “So whether you get behind it depends more on whether or not you think someone should have to spend their life couch-surfing and eating beans and rice just for having the audacity to try to do something nice for you.” is somewhat disingenuous. How many devs make a game just to make people happy? If you genuinely made Dungeons of Dredmor to make people happy then you were successful. But I think it is naive to think that all indie devs are so altruistic.

          • SeeBeeW says:

            Well, I do take this stuff pretty personally. It eats about 60 hours of my life per week, it’s my career, and the people who are being talked about are, if not me directly, my close friends and colleagues.

            I was maybe being a little flippant, but games are made, if not to entertain, then for an audience in some capacity: to teach or bewilder or, you know, punish (i.e., Dark Souls and what-not). No one’s legislating your enjoyment of any of these things, but having a modicum of respect for the people who work hard to create them *for people* does not hurt.

            (Also I didn’t “make Dredmor.” I just contributed to it: I was primary engineer/co-designer for CotW as well as doing a lot of maintenance for the core game, etc. Dredmor was a team effort! Also obviously it should go without saying that anything I say here is not a Gaslamp Opinion. I just work here.)

          • dE says:

            Missed the point of a meta comment. I indeed did not specify a certain developer or developer team. That part of the comment is in reaction to two things:

            1) people not bothering to advertise their games – who then act surprised no one actually knows about their games.
            2) Application for IGF is based upon a monetary delimiter, not popularity or reknown (getting your game looked at however… heh). Thus a person complaining about not getting into IGF should either blame monetary requirements or themselves. Not the system.

            In other words: A person making a game of niche appeal (like let’s say an intergalactic wheel pushing simulator where you have to calculate mass and friction to adjust for loss of speed over time while bombarded by diapers and trashcans made out of record industry tears), without advertisement, PR or word of mouth – yet complains about lack of audience and reception is indeed a fool. So no, it’s neither shameful nor childish. It’s more about realistic expectations.

          • SeeBeeW says:

            And since you basically made that person up for the sake of your argument, I agree. They’re both foolish AND ugly.

          • dE says:

            I kinda suggest you re-read my original post and think long and hard about how you’re blowing it way out of proportion, while acting Drama at the same time. So because I chose to not address specific developers, I’m now making people up? Yet if I name specific developers I’m obviously “hurting their feelings”. Uhm okay. Yeah, well no.

            This might be enlightening to your vision of impeccable Indie Developers:
            http://www.unwinnable.com/2012/02/23/the-igf-is-just-fine-youre-the-problem/

            If after reading that and doing some of your own research on it, you still think my comment is out of place, I’m afraid I can’t help you. As I said, re-read my original post and take a long and deep look at the other comments. You’re taking one small part of it, disregard the cynical tone and the message it conveys, then proceed to blow it way out of proportion, bump heads with that oversized super inflation of a cynical joke and get hurt in the process.

        • Consumatopia says:

          The problem is that this whole track—Indie community support ->crowdfunding campaign->IGF->Steam

          I don’t deny that it sucks to be an indie games developer for a lot of the same reasons that it sucks to be a musician or journalist right now (barriers to entry have been reduced to nearly zero) but how would you wish to change that track to help out the 99.99%? Are you saying they would make more money if Kickstarter, the IGF, and Steam all vanished?

        • Yglorba says:

          It’s not like there was a vibrant and successful indie games culture that rewarded everyone with big paychecks before. The basic fact is that making videogames is a hugely expensive gamble with, most of the time, relatively little payoff even for the big studios — that’s why they go with movie tie-ins and reliable clones of popular games. It’s no different than the film industry. The systems you describe aren’t making anyone rich, but without them most indie game developers wouldn’t be making anything (or reaching an audience at all, or, in all likelihood, making indie games in the first place.)

          You shouldn’t get into indie games if you want to make a lot of money; nowadays, games are art, and they pay accordingly.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Steam’s heavy curation undoubtedly prevents a lot of creative devs from making money, and some trash still gets on. However, the alternative seems to be the iOS store and XNA (I forget the name of the actual non-XBLA marketplace), where most creators don’t make any money anyways. Just ask Zeboyd.

          I think it’s important to note also that with the boom, more indie devs than ever are getting paid. However, the number of devs has grown so much larger than that. We’re going to see a period of significant contraction as indies start realizing the market is crowded and flee for whatever platform is more lucrative next regardless of the existence of this pathway.

          I think you’re overestimating the effect of the IGF. Dredmore was not an IGF game and still did well, right? You’re also underestimating how greater exposure helps kickstarter. A high tide raises all boats; Star Citizen, Maia, and Spud’s Quest can succeed at the same time. It’s important to note that kickstarter is democratic, an easy way to test interest, and far more open than either Steam or the IGF. Have we really seen a link between the two besides publicity generating more publicity (which would happen regardless)?

          Finally, with all the worry about a pathway from one to the other, you missed the one organization with the greatest effect on indie developers: the humble bundle. They have far more control over an indie’s fate than the confederacy of chums that is the IGF ever did.

          • Bhazor says:

            But that’s fair market economics.
            You make crap? You get paid crap.

            Steam stops you even setting up your stall.

          • InternetBatman says:

            It seems a bit less like fair economic practice when people make good games and get paid crap, go to steam and get paid well. You flood your market with crap; it makes good things harder to find even if there are more of them.

          • Moraven says:

            Mobile platforms have so much crap that its hard to find anything good that is not Top 20.

            Steam gets crap already. Beyond New Releases tab they will not get any notice unless they become: top 20 seller on release 3)daily, midweek, weekend deal.

            Having promotions and giving away Steam keys is pretty big form of advertisement since you jump up in the top seller.

          • Phantoon says:

            I dunno, Zynga was doing pretty well there for a while. In fact, don’t most triple A publishers just advertise rather than worry about if the game is any good? (Yes.)

        • PopeRatzo says:

          Part of being a creative person is finding creative ways to pay your bills.

          I’ve lived entirely from my creative output for the past 20+ years and everything’s changed in that time. And back again. Twice. Still, without feeling like I’m selling my soul, I’ve been able to raise a family

          If you’re an innovator, innovate. Don’t complain that the world hasn’t thrown money at your feet. And remember how many of the greatest artists of all time had to keep their day jobs, including Leonardo Da Vinci.

        • lcy says:

          The problem is that this whole track—Indie community support ->crowdfunding campaign->IGF->Steam—creates a world where 99.99% of creators can’t pay rent and 0.01% make enough from every game to launch their own mid-sized studios or never have to work again (depending on preference).

          Imagine if every week you went to work, your boss told you that only one of you was getting paid (and it was almost always the same person). That’s pretty much what indie dev is like right now, and it’s because of a system where everyone wants a piece of the five most popular games while everything else is left to wither and die.

          This is, however, the inevitable and natural result of this kind of work. It follows, not from the funding situation, but from the nature of the market. In particular, games can be replicated with ease, to the point where supply can meet any demand – this is more true with digital delivery, but given how little DVD/packaging costs, it’s always been relatively true.

          If I want to be treated by the best doctor in the town (or, say, the world), then I’ll have to queue, or pay – and if I can’t, then I might just find myself with the worst doctor in the town. However, if I want to play the best game in the world (never mind just the town), I will have no problems doing so – the worst game developers will get nothing from me.

          If you want a predicable, reliable job – be a doctor. You won’t be buying that island any time soon, but you’ll not starve either. Creative work gives you a chance to have fabulous wealth, or be remembered through the ages – but it’s much more probable that neither will happen. Complaining about the industry won’t change anything.

    • Melliflue says:

      As well as the Steam haters there will also be those who defend Steam to the hilt, proclaiming this a benevolent act of altruism. Although the hip thing does seem to be to hate on Steam these days.

      • SeeBeeW says:

        It is also possible to have legit opinions that go beyond social posturing. Try it sometime!

        • Melliflue says:

          I was trying to make a counter-point that there will not only be anti-Steam comments but plenty of pro-Steam comments too (but I think there will be more anti-Steam comments since that is the way things seem to go). It was not intended as social posturing and I’m sorry it came out that way.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          I propose a third option: terrible opinions that aren’t social posturing.

      • InternetBatman says:

        It can just be a mutually beneficial transaction. It can be praised for being smart even though it is not altruistic.

  3. Vinraith says:

    “Steam offers to sell games which are basically guaranteed to sell well.”

    OK. How is that news, again?

    Edit: Apparently I didn’t word this clearly, so to clarify:

    “Steam offers to sell games which are basically guaranteed to sell well on Steam.”

    • KevinLew says:

      First, I don’t know how winning an IGF award guarantees great sales. Second, if indie games had such an easy time selling their games, then that doesn’t explain why there’s so many developers fighting to get to the top of the list on Steam Greenlight.

    • Unaco says:

      Well, putting it like that it’s maybe not news. But, maybe you’re not quite seeing it… or you have some blinkers on. How about “Steam guarantees major advertising and exposure to a crop of Indie Games, granting them parity on their digital distribution/Store with AAA titles”? Or “Steam offers to sell games which are basically guaranteed to sell well, thus guaranteeing they’ll sell even better”?

      See? When you look at it differently, it’s quite newsworthy.

      • Bhazor says:

        “SHOP SELLS THINGS THAT ARE NOW AVAILABLE TO BUY”

        • Unaco says:

          Yes, but it’s not just a shop. And it’s not just things that are available to buy. It’s Steam (as you yourself have said at least twice today). And it’s IGF Finalists. The actual details of the story are quite important to its relevance and newsworthiness.

        • The Random One says:

          Yeah, but this has some relevance, unlike “Planescape: Torment May Be Coming to Steam” (RUMOUR: THING YOU CAN BUY TO BE ABLE TO BE BOUGHT FROM OTHER, LARGER STORE)

          • El_Emmental says:

            I think you missed the “Video Games History” course.

      • subedii says:

        I’d say it’s newsworthy even without the qualifiers.

        But then if I’m honest, what I’m reading from Vinraith’s comment (and apologies if I’m wrong, but of course, snide comments like this rarely ever give much to work with) is:

        “Valve will make MONEY off of this! Do not try to even THINK this is a gesture of niceness, It’s cold-hearted capitalism and nothing more!”

        Which is effectively true. Even more effectively, I don’t care, and it’s likely that a fair few of those winners will sign up regardless because they consider it a good deal for them.

        Its newsworthiness alone easily comes about pretty much by dint of Steam being the largest DD network for PC games in existence today. And by dint that Indies typically have a hard time getting any exposure. So if they’re offering automatic contracts to the winners, I can easily see how that’s newsworthy.

        EDIT: I mean it was pretty significant news here when Skulls of the Shogun became a W8 exclusive all of a sudden.

        • Vinraith says:

          It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that this might be seen as an altruistic gesture. Surely no one is that far up Gabe’s bum?

          • subedii says:

            Meanwhile I’m afraid I don’t see much difference with your edit.

            Either way: Yes. It’s pretty valid news.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Shocking news: the indie developers will also make money ! And get jobs opportunity ! They’ll spend it on good food, a car, kids ! Macbooks, tablets and graphic cards ! Oh the capitalist monsters !

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        Malibu Stacey says:

        Well it’s a post related to Steam with a comment from Vinraith. Anyone expecting anything other than negativity and/or snide comments is one hell of an optimist.

    • Bhazor says:

      Because its Steam. I guess.

      Same reason that Greenlight was praised despite it being evidence that their system for deciding what games they sell is nonsense.
      Spiderweb games? No way anyone wants those in depth RPGs. Now 300 different hidden object games? That’s the kind of quality our shoppers want.

      • zeroskill says:

        Wait, are you saying spiderweb games aren’t on Steam?

        http://store.steampowered.com/search/?snr=1_4_4__12&term=spiderweb

        ?

        Besides Valve or Steam isn’t public property. They are very well in their damn right to not allow anything or anyone onto their service for whatever reason they want. Nobody has the right to be on Steam for whatever reason, no mather how good or bad their game might be.

        It is their service. They are in their right to not have your game on there. You arn’t entitled to anything.

        • Consumatopia says:

          They are very well in their damn right to not allow anything or anyone onto their service for whatever reason they want.

          And rest of use are in our damn right to decide whether to patronize them as customers or developers, to make that decision on the basis of whether we think Steam is good for the market and culture as a whole, and to share our reasoning process in making that decision in case others might be so motivated.

          I personally don’t have problem with Steam. But if someone thinks a company makes things worse off, they should feel free to express that–a company has the right to make money however it wants to within the law, and everyone else has the right to judge the company and its management accordingly–just because you have the right to do it doesn’t mean you are in the right. If a company blocks a good game from distribution, that’s bad. Even if they have the right to do it, not everything they have the right to do is good, and everyone is entitled to express their opinion on whether a company’s decision was good or bad.

          • zeroskill says:

            Yeah, you have to right to express your opinion. I never said otherwise. But you havn’t got the right to demand something be on Steam, wether you are a developer, or a consumer. I am saying this because lately, some people, developers included, act like they have a right to have their game published on Steam. It’s Valve company, they build this thing, against all odds, in a time when not one of the big money houses gave a damn about the PC market, and they have all the right in the world to handle their service in anyway they see fit.

          • Consumatopia says:

            But you havn’t got the right to demand something be on Steam, wether you are a developer, or a consumer. I am saying this because lately, some people, developers included, act like they have a right to have their game published on Steam.

            As soon as someone starts using the words “demand” or “entitled” in arguments like these, they’re almost always pulling a fast one, because the meaning of those words is completely ambiguous in this context. Of course, Valve has the legal right to refuse publishing of any game they want. I don’t see anyone–certainly not here in this thread–asking that government should step in and force Steam to sell indie games. That’s what the word “demand” suggests–that people are trying to apply some kind of forcible coercion to make Valve comply with their wishes, or that they claim some
            legal entitlement that Valve must fulfill.

            Some people think that if Valve were a better company, or were run by better people, it would be easier for indies to get on Steam. I’m not even sure most Steam skeptics would go that far. But it’s a perfectly legitimate point of view that anyone has the right to express.

            Nothing that anyone said in this thread makes any assumption that Valve is in any way “public property”.

          • SeeBeeW says:

            The change everyone’s fighting over, and what makes these issues of entitlement so tough to puzzle out, is that your time and attention have become monetizable resources that are owned by entities who are not you, and the internet has made it remarkably easy to trade these around.

            We’ve got a pretty firm moral bead on “if I try to sell you X and you don’t like it, that’s your prerogative,” but how does that work on a medium where every aspect of your attention is a salable resource? It isn’t like you’re a prisoner, but it’s also really hard to say you’re properly free, either, when in the absence of a public space to fairly mediate your activities you’re shuttled from one privately-owned corner of the internet to another.

            It’s easy to put blinders on, state “no one owes anyone anything,” and sort of just expect the ghost of the commons to fairly police all transactions, but the result of that seems to be this huge concentration of wealth, with individuals becoming precarious free agents whose mostly unpaid labour is exploited by a pool of global businessmen.

            (This is not just games by any stretch, btw—it’s literally everywhere.)

            I challenge anyone to say that’s a fair society, or the society that we want to live in. If you think it’s not happening… I don’t know. I envy whatever you do that has left you insulated from these changes. But again, we don’t have much of a notion of what the alternative looks like. Traditional moral considerations aren’t much good here, since they seem to have created the problem in the first place.

            I know I can’t tolerate a system where Ron Carmel can make enough from a single game to, in his own words “not have to work for the next 20 years,” while many people producing similarly excellent work are going hungry. Then again, I don’t know how to fix it so everyone gets paid for their work. I do know that the world we’re currently living in, with abundant talent producing truly excellent work across games, music, art, literature and poetry, is going to collapse if this can’t be sorted, because everyone is already racking up debt, no one can eat, and eventually everyone is just going to have to go into marketing for multinationals.

            I mean, what would you prefer us to be doing, indie games or shoe advertisements?

          • zeroskill says:

            I hate to sound like my dad but life is about compromise. You don’t always get to do what you love or want to in your life. I don’t know how many stupid webpages I did and how many uninteresting page placements I had to do before I could start living from doing illustrations. And I was happy doing it too. I had to do all kinds of jobs including working on phones for airline companies. I have a friend who had to do all kind of idiotic jobs for 15 years before somebody actually figuered out he is rather good at making photographs. Stop crying about how you can’t make a living coding video games when there are people that are happy getting a job at a freaking grocery store. Welcome to the real world. Getting seriously worked up here.

            Freaking first world problems.

          • Consumatopia says:

            zeroskill is right that the vast majority of people have boring, terrible jobs. I do wonder, though, whether the present state of affairs is actually any better for those with boring jobs than it is for starving artists–between automation and economies of scale, it’s hard out there for a lot of people, even as society produces more than it ever did.

          • SeeBeeW says:

            A. I’m already paid money to code video games. I know what the industry looks like. I’ve shipped titles on most of the services I’m complaining about, and I know how they work. I’ve also worked alongside a lot of vets who know what the industry used to look like.. B. .”Stop whining/first world problems” is not an argument (and in what world is employment a first world problem?).

            So you sound like your dad, congrats. “I worked really hard so no one else’s problems matter.”

            And yeah, work sucks for everyone right now. Huge numbers of people are out of work. Even more people are underemployed or forced by financial necessity to take jobs well outside their areas of expertise or interest. I take it you like this, then, and you want it to continue?

          • El_Emmental says:

            Arg, had an answer, the RPS Castle dragon ate it :C

            TL;DR: when I was younger I once wanted to be a game dev, but after looking at the industry and market, opted out for law univ because I don’t want to be underpaid, unpaid overtime, and laid off when I’m 40 years old because I can’t keep up.
            At least in the law sector (in my country) you’re underpaid for the first 3 years (at worst), overtime is often compensated (unofficially) and after 40 years old you’re actually better paid and employed (because of your experience in the field).

            A friend of mine found out about playing music 1 year ago, dropped out (despite having good marks, parents funding everything), formed an ephemeral band (now dissolved). He is now jobless, living off parents’ money, doing a gig every two-three weeks, no desire to work at slave job at grocery store nor getting a 2-years/3-years diploma to be above minimum wage. Poor, deserving artist ? Or immature adult afraid of becoming “serious”, who tried to stay a teenager by forming a band ?

            When you decide to become a game dev, when there is already thousands of other indie devs in the world, thousands of bigger companies making video games, you don’t act all offended and shocked when you can’t earn a living out of it.

            Why would it be different for game devs ? It’s the same for artists since the first paintings in prehistoric caves, if your activity is not about self-sustainability, you either need to provide a service requested by the society you’re living in, or deal with severe scarcity and worse living conditions.

            In a perfect world, everyone would be artists and money would come from abundance fountains. Sadly, we’re not living in a perfect world.

            Regarding Steam not accepting “everyone”, I’m sure you all read the few words Valve said about that. They’re not getting every single indie game on Steam for two main reasons: keeping a minimum of clarity and giving proper exposure to each release (including the indie games).

            If Steam was accepting every single indie games, what would happen ? You would get all the match-4 clones, tetris clones, Breakout clones, artillery clones, Facebook-games clones, “launch the * as far as you can !” clones, etc… and the chinese/korean/japanese ephemeral MMORPG clones (using the same engine, code, assets, only relying on “new release” effect). And the initially-browser-based games too.

            There would be more than 10 000 games in the indie category, drowning games like FTL or Dungeon of Dredmor, between Big Boobs RPG XVII and The Ultimate Fart Machine n° 2365. Seriously.

            Then who’s gonna sort that pile of crap (with a few golden nuggets) ? No more than 10 people on earth played all the Pirate Kart entries, and there was only 1k games (at max), what’s gonna happen if the valves are left fully open ? A torrent of shit.

            But some websites will review and sort these games ? Tadaam, a new market is born: the equivalent of SEO, you pay to get “reviewed” (of course, positively) on such websites, who make several clones of themselves to increase their visibility and “weight”, rendering the only website genuinely reviewing (with fair reviews) the torrent of games completely invisible.

            At first I felt pity, then embarassment and now I’m starting to feel anger toward some (NOT all) of the “indie” developers.

            Okay, you had no idea the “indie games” market would be flooded and over-saturated in the year following the first “success stories”. I felt pity.

            Then, you should have know it, but I understand you were still believing in the “indie game development” dream. I feel bad for you, for trying to ignore reality.

            But now, in 2012, throwing your entire career/life into a sector, without doing very basic research on its current state, is starting to get on my nerves when these people then come back at us and make a whole fuss about their misery.
            They’re throwing themselves in a lava pit, then cry about how it really burns. THIS IS FREAKING LAVA, DON’T JUMP IN IT.

            For flock sake, couldn’t you check what you were going to do ? And listen to other, already-in-the-business, indie devs ? The market is saturated to the bone, is mutating at extremely high speed, is switching from platforms to platforms all the time, is focusing on a new type of consumers every 6 months – thinking that making yet another one-trick-pony 2D platformer or 4X space game and expecting money to fall from the sky is just plain naivety.

            Double-Fine getting 3 millions of dollars on Kickstarter does NOT mean people are sudenly into indie crowdfunding, it means Double-Fine studio got 3M in pre-order for one of their game. All the completely unknown devs who jumped the gun and made a Kickstarter page with a 1M goal, with an unclear not-so-original project, are the people I can no longer listen to.

            And what makes me angry is how these “indie” devs are hurting the actually fully-aware indie devs trying to corner an available niche to make a survival-living.

            The foolish “indie” devs are being a constant noise, diluting the messages and nullifying the effort of the disillusioned (but still willing to endure the harsh industry) developers.

            It’s like all the young adults behaving like teenagers/kids, thinking they’re gonna be famous musicians, and going into X Factor-like shows, vacuuming all the attention of people, all the media coverage and a lot of the music industry money, while actual musicians are struggling to get paid for the gig they did at a random unknown bar.

            People who see Steam as an insurmountable obstacle and the greatest enemy to indie development really have no idea of the video game industry worked, works, and will work.

            If you can’t get around being on Steam (now with Greenlight there’s less excuses) or surviving without Steam, you won’t have much chance with all the other companies around you in the industry. They’ll rip you in half and stole your IP before you can make a move. And you’ll owe them money.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Regarding Steam not accepting “everyone”, I’m sure you all read the few words Valve said about that. They’re not getting every single indie game on Steam for two main reasons: keeping a minimum of clarity and giving proper exposure to each release (including the indie games).

            If Steam was accepting every single indie games, what would happen ? You would get all the match-4 clones, tetris clones, Breakout clones, artillery clones, Facebook-games clones, “launch the * as far as you can !” clones, etc… and the chinese/korean/japanese ephemeral MMORPG clones (using the same engine, code, assets, only relying on “new release” effect). And the initially-browser-based games too.

            But some websites will review and sort these games” ? Tadaam, a new market is born: the equivalent of SEO, you pay to get “reviewed” (of course, positively) on such websites, who make several clones of themselves to increase their visibility and “weight”, rendering the only website genuinely reviewing (with fair reviews) the torrent of games completely invisible.

            Thank you for crystalizing why your argument is stupid. It would be better if every game were on Steam. We could use the convenience of Steam’s downloading/purchase management system, without the idiotic hurdles of Greenlight or conforming to Valve’s tastes in games. If someone wants a match-4 game, why not let them get it through Steam?

            It’s true that Steam would then have lots of crap on it. It would make Steam worthless as a tool for filtering games–you wouldn’t go to the new releases list on Steam to see what interesting games have come out, because only a tiny portion of the games would be worthwhile.

            Instead, people would use other websites, such as gaming blogs and magazines. But that’s what people should be using already! There’s a lot of worthwhile games out there, both mainstream and indie, that don’t make it onto Steam. If you think the particular website you’re reading is only drawing attention to some games because someone is paying for that (does that include RPS? Because I think RPS does a better job filtering my attention than Steam.) then read a different website. Rather than having Valve act as the gatekeeper for the entire world, let every consumer choose their own gatekeeper!

      • InternetBatman says:

        Spiderweb games were on Steam before greenlight even happened, and the only link I can find between the two is Jeff Vogel pushing for octodad on greenlight (which was successfully greenlit).

        They reached out to Jeff Vogel to get his games on Steam, not the other way around.

        • Bhazor says:

          No he was turned down. Repeatedly. For years.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Do you have a source for that? This is from the codex:

            13. In your recent article on sales numbers, you mentioned that Geneforge 4 didn’t get any third-party distribution. Why is that? I seem to recall the Geneforge series moving into WildTangent and other outlets. Any intention (or past attempts) to get on the bigger download platforms, such as Impulse or Steam or XBLA?

            My games are pretty niche with simple graphics, and they’re not casual. So the 3rd party distributors are really now knocking down my doors. Plus, I can be awful lazy about pursuing them.

            I plan to make a real effort to get my mysterious new game onto the services. But I can see why they aren’t excited about my older titles.

        • Premium User Badge

          Llewyn says:

          That quote makes a lot more sense if you read the “now” as a typo of “not”.

          Edit: Guess there was another Reply button I should have clicked.

    • Melliflue says:

      Maybe they would have sold well without being on Steam but I would be surprised if they sold as many copies as they would do if they were also on Steam. As Adam said in the article, “This seems a decent way to give worthy games extra commercial exposure”.

  4. MondSemmel says:

    The problem I see here is just that IGF judges suddenly get even more power. And as far as I remember, they don’t have a particularly good track record…(e.g. see the Fez fiasco)
    Also, see here: http://therottingcartridge.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/whats-wrong-with-the-igf/

    More importantly, remember there is an entry fee (of ~100$, too?), so in some sense, this is just another chance to enter something like Greenlight, potentially win a popularity contest, then get on Steam.

    • top8cat says:

      There we go, the response I was looking for. That has to be the only thing I fear with this announcement

    • Phantoon says:

      This is why I hope Fez doesn’t get Greenlight. Because thinking about it more than “everything is Phil Fish’s fault because he looks a bit weird and is a wuss” really isn’t something I find interesting, and so don’t.

  5. Dinger says:

    Translated:
    Valve has become an official partner/sponsor of the IGF. In addition to the exchange of money and promotion of steam, Valve agrees to offer every finalist distribution in exchange for this press release.

    Not every finalist will take them up on it. Fez 2013 will be an XboX Xclusive, some genius might make a game so good it is a finalist despite being on Windows 8, and someone may accept 6 months more of development money in exchange for being buried on a page only accessible via the Swahili client for Origin.

  6. jonfitt says:

    Does that mean that IGF finalists will actually be encouraged to release their damned games now? Nidhogg anyone? JS Joust is still not out, but at least that one is coming.
    .
    I know there’s the whole debate about when in a game’s cycle it should be entered and if it can be entered twice blah blah, but there’s nothing more annoying than hearing journalists go on about how great this game they played is that may never be released.

    • zeroskill says:

      If nothing else, they surely are encouraged to relaese their finished games on the PC and not wander off into exclusivity contracts with Microsoft. See Fez.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        Which is funny when you consider that in previous years the IGF has offered XBLA gigs.

  7. Consumatopia says:

    Anything that broadens the library of games available on Steam is probably good. Each method of distributing games appeals to a different segment of the market, so there’s something of a chicken and egg problem–certain types of games will have trouble getting through Greenlight because the kinds of users who want those games don’t use Steam or pay attention to Greenlight because the games they want don’t get through Greenlight. I suppose it avoids a certain kind of embarrassment for Valve, e.g. so-and-so game won the IGF but wasn’t good enough to get on to Steam. Though in that respect, a policy of extending an offer to IGF winners is somewhat of an admission of failure–if Valve were good at picking games for Steam, any IGF finalist that’s been released would already be on Steam.

  8. DarkFarmer says:

    The IGF is a great competition where games that wouldn’t have a chance to be discovered otherwise get discovered and become successful, and judges take special care to play and offer feedback even on the bad games so that independent game developers can have a rare opportunity to improve their craft that they might not otherwise get. 100 dollars is a small price to pay to have such a wonderful opportunity.

    • zeroskill says:

      Agreed, 100$ is bascially nothing if you are serious about making a game.

    • El_Emmental says:

      The IGF is not perfect though, as it was shown rather recently, with the $100 fee and very little external funding (so they’re not like Golden Joystick Awards/Spike VG Awards *yet*), the organization doesn’t have regular reviewers decently paid by the hour, so they’re always crunching on these games and some of them aren’t getting the attention they should (= at least an hour, per judge).

      It’s still a great thing.

      • Phantoon says:

        Just because they’re not building pyramids out of money doesn’t mean they’re infallible. It’s a convoluted process, which has been written about before here, amongst other places. Fez really did not need to win a second year, especially when it was already going to get a contract. Also it’s a rather boring game. Saw it, the mechanics were pretty ho-hum.

  9. TsunamiWombat says:

    I’m confused. How is Steam putting up these games an evil bad thing? I don’t grasp it. All I see is a company saying “hey, people are interested in these products. let us sell these products”. And that seems cool for everyone involved?

    • subedii says:

      With regards to the negativity surrounding this post:

      A fair few people hold the opinion that Steam is unequivocally or to a large extent “bad”, for a variety of reasons. At which point, this incident wouldn’t really be considered a good thing to begin with if you’re starting from that stance. After that it’s a manner of expression, and unfortunately a fair few think being snide somehow aids in making their point because they think doing so makes holders of opposing viewpoints look silly.

      Beyond that it gets tricky. Some others view most any post that’s Steam related as inherently fanboyish, even when it’s pretty much neutral (which personally I’d class this one as), and as such will post to lambaste (either through direct statements or through “insinuations so I’m less likely to be called on it”) Steam and its purported fanboys, who are frequently cast as being blind followers.

      There are a few valid points being made. But often the points being made in these newsposts don’t have anything to do with the item being discussed in particular, so much as the fact that they involve Steam at all.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Disliking Steam is not always a black-and-white issue like you seem to think it is, especially here at RPS where the vast majority of those who have a problem with the service (like myself) are in the habit of making rational and coherent posts that explain exactly why they feel the way they do. It’s not always “Hurrdurr Steam izz bad!!!111!!!!!!!!11!!!!!1!”.

        • subedii says:

          Hence “there are a few valid points being made”.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            A “few” is not a lot, and if you were to scour through the entire RPS site, you’d find plenty more than just a “few” well-reasoned explanations as to why not all of us think Steam is the bee’s knees.

            Sorry, but the tone of your post suggested that you don’t have much respect for anyone who doesn’t appreciate Steam/Valve as much as you do. If that’s not the case, then I apologize.

          • subedii says:

            It’s not a lot, because I don’t feel there were a lot.

            Let me be candid. There is plenty I find wrong with Steam, and all in all, I prefer the GOG model when it’s available. That said, there’s also plenty I find wrong with most of the arguments I ever see posted on RPS about how Steam is a great big boogeyman.

          • Phantoon says:

            Steam is powered by Hitlers!

    • zeroskill says:

      Valve isn’t really pushing Steam as hard as they could if they really wanted to. There is nothing now holding them back to aggressively push Steam on the marketing front, they could easily crush any other digital distributer if they wanted to, and even force developers into exclusivity contracts, which is pretty much common practice in the industry. They are not doing any of that, and with good reason. Being on the good side works well for Valve, and I don’t see them changing their policies in this respect any time soon, and why should they.

      So there is very little there to acuse Valve of being “evil”, other then them wanting to make money, which comes somewhat naturally if you are having a business. But Steam is huge, and that doesn’t sit well with some people. Yes, maybe Steam is really too big, but it’s not like Valve is really aggressively pushing it as far as I can see. They would have basically hold themselfs back, which is poison to any business. The problem really is that nobody really can keep up with Valve.

      So some people, since there is very little to really acuse Valve of being that huge evil thing some people want it to be, resort to: “They have this evil secret plan nobody knows about to take over the world and control your brains!” and “But what if they were evil” and so forth which is just beyond silly. That’s how I see it anyway. If that’s enough to call me a fanboy, well then I guess I am one.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        So all those independent developers who sign distribution contracts with Valve are allowed to sell their PC games (Rag Doll Kung Fu, Audiosurf, Terraria) in Steam-free versions?

        I’m not debating your overall point, but you seem to be hinting that anyone who signs up with Steam as an exclusive distributor is allowed to do whatever they want with their games after the fact. That’s certainly not the case — Steam is not a free market environment after all.

        • zeroskill says:

          There are tonnes of indie games that sell their game through their own webpage (FTL, Legend of Grimrock) just aswell as through Steam. Are you sure the mentioned games, have exclusivity, and if, they were not asking for exacely that? In the case of Terraria, the game was released in Beta stage, and being able to sell it on Steam actually saved their company. They were bascially bankrupt. They couldn’t go on with development, let alone, setting their game up to be sold on their own page, or providing servers for their customers.

          Also, Terraria will be sold soon in retail and are about to get an Xbox live arcade version I believe. Not sure about that since I don’t really follow the consoles.

          Also, my point was not that Steam isn’t offering exclusivity if that is what the developer wants, but that they arn’t forcing it on Indies. Unlike, let’s say Microsoft. At least not that I would know of.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            I should have been more clear: while none of the PC games I mentioned are sold exclusively on Steam, they currently require a Steam account to play; you can’t buy Steam-free copies of those games, hence my mention of “exclusive contracts”. That’s not to say that every contract that Valve writes up is going to be the same for everyone they deal with, of course. I’m only saying that exclusivity of some kind is obviously a “thing” for many of the developers that sign their name on the dotted line.

          • Ich Will says:

            @SkittleDiddler – Is that not because they use Steamworks. In my experience, a game may or may not be on steam and a game may or may not use steamworks. The only non existant state is a game which uses steamworks yet is not on steam.

            The games which are on steam and use steamworks need steam running and will launch steam if you attempt to run them from outside the client

            The games which are on steam and do not use steamworks may be launched from outside steam just like any other game and do not run the client or any steam related code.

            The games which are not on steam may have a shortcut to the exe added to the client giving you the choice to launch them from the steam client or traditionally. If you launch from the client, the client remains running but may be closed down without affecting the game, if you launch from outside the client, no steam code is run.

            Assuming (I know) I am correct, your problem is not with steam but with the devs who choose to add steamworks to their game, presumably to try to prevent piracy. In which case should you really be dirttalking valve?

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @Ich Will:

            “The games which are on steam and do not use steamworks may be launched from outside steam just like any other game and do not run the client or any steam related code.”

            Hopefully you’re aware that only a minor percentage of Steam-registered games actually work without the client running in the background. This is easy enough to test yourself; I can personally verify that out of 425 Steam games on my system, less than a third of those will run client-free. The myth of the “clientless Steam library” is just that: a myth.

            “The games which are not on steam may have a shortcut to the exe added to the client giving you the choice to launch them from the steam client or traditionally. If you launch from the client, the client remains running but may be closed down without affecting the game, if you launch from outside the client, no steam code is run.”

            True, but I’m not sure what that has to do with the current conversation.

            “Assuming (I know) I am correct, your problem is not with steam but with the devs who choose to add steamworks to their game, presumably to try to prevent piracy. In which case should you really be dirttalking valve?”

            How am I dirttalking Valve? And how did this become a topic dealing specifically with Steamworks? I think we’re starting to meander a bit off base here.

            I have no real issue with publishers and developers who choose to go through Valve to distribute and market their games. It’s simply up to me — just like every other consumer — to decide whether extra value lies in Steam inclusiveness. Sometimes it does (certain Steamworks titles) and sometimes it doesn’t (Uplay client-enabled games sold on Steam).

          • Ich Will says:

            @SkittleDiddler

            Briefly and in reverse order:

            “How was I dirttalking steam?”

            By implication.

            “True, but I’m not sure what that has to do with the current conversation.”

            Just being thorough with my answer

            “Hopefully you’re aware that only a minor percentage of Steam-registered games actually work without the client running in the background.”

            I was referring to the code which is related to steamworks, I could care less if the shop front runs, hell I’m playing minecraft now with Origin storefront, GOG downloader, several webpages, steam storefront, spotflux, open office all actually open – incidental code, who cares. I assume 2/3 of game makers, by your figures want their players to have access to chat and friends functions and whatever other crap is on shift-tab. Still, the buck stops with the devs, steam offer a service for their customers and if their customers choose to take advantage without allowing the alternative, it’s on them really.

            Now steamworks running, yes I do care and no, games which don’t have steamworks do not access or run code related to steamworks.

            EDIT – I’m really failing to see your point. You claim that steam is not a free market, well dur, of course it’s not! Neither is Argos, neither is debenhams, noether is john Lewis etc etc. It’s a single company and as a single company they have every right to approve what they sell by whichever means they see fit. Think they’re too big? Fine whatever, but until someone comes along and offers a better service, they will remain big. I find several download stores offer a better service and I shop there when I can.

            Valve are hardly managing their business well, it won’t take long to topple them – remember when google wasnothing and everything was about Yahoo? Well when a better store sorts their business practices out, it will happen.

        • subedii says:

          When you buy a copy of Torchlight 2 on Steam, you need to register it on Runic’s own website in order to get at the multiplayer.

          Why is that? Because Runic distribute DRM free (which by default means “Steam Free”) versions themselves, and ALL versions need to be inter-operable, so they have their own separate multiplayer back-end.

          You appear to be (or at least I hope you are) confusing Steam with Steamworks, the latter being the additional community functionality and back-end systems of Steam that devs can make use of. If you’re making use of Steamworks as a core part of your game, then yes, naturally wherever you’re distributing your game it’ll require Steam, since you are using Steam as middleware in order to fill in functionality that you did not create yourself. Whether it’s achievements, multiplayer back-end, or stats gathering, Steamworks allows games to integrate with the core Steam client. That integration however, does not exist otherwise and Steam merely serves as a distribution / DRM system without it.

          Devs aren’t forced to use it, and it’s evident that a lot don’t. Or sometimes even use half-and-half if they desire. The aforementioned Torchlight 2 has Steam achievements if you bought it on Steam for example. It STILL has achievements if you bought it elsewhere, they just aren’t making use of Steam. They’re in-game and don’t tie in with your Steam account.

          Meanwhile, if you’re stating that devs are being forced or otherwise coerced into signing some kind of “exclusive” Steam only distributor contracts, you’re going to need to back that up.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            None of the games I mentioned are Steamworks games, yet they require a Steam account to play no matter where you buy them. That sounds a bit like exclusivity to me.

            Anyway, I’m obviously not stating that Valve is forcing any dev team or publisher to abide by certain restrictions if they want Steam inclusiveness for their games. There’s always a choice.

          • subedii says:

            So all those independent developers who sign distribution contracts with Valve are allowed to sell their PC games (Rag Doll Kung Fu, Audiosurf, Terraria) in Steam-free versions?

            I’m not debating your overall point, but you seem to be hinting that anyone who signs up with Steam as an exclusive distributor is allowed to do whatever they want with their games after the fact. That’s certainly not the case — Steam is not a free market environment after all.

            None of the games I mentioned are Steamworks games, yet they require a Steam account to play no matter where you buy them. That sounds a bit like exclusivity to me.

            Anyway, I’m obviously not stating that Valve is forcing any dev team or publisher to abide by certain restrictions if they want Steam inclusiveness for their games. There’s always a choice.

            Your first paragraph talks about whether games which sign distribution contracts with Steam and would be allowed to be distributed via other channels. This has already been proven as a “Yes”.

            Your second paragraph then throws in the statement of devs being in an “exclusive distributor” contract with Steam, without any qualification, we’re just meant to accept that. Followed by the statement that because of this they would not be allowed to distribute anywhere else. I’ll get to this in a moment.

            Your next post then states that no, Valve aren’t putting exclusivity restrictions on Devs.

            You are conflating games only being available on Steam as being the same as being in a contract with Steam for them to be the “exclusive distributor” (that’s your term, not mine).

            To talk in specificity, Rag-Doll Kung Fu was literally the first wholly 3rd party game to ever be released on Steam. Terraria is sold on Steam. In both cases, the devs are not restricted TO Steam, any more than other devs have been (and you’ve been provided with numerous examples of precisely the converse where developers have released without Steam).

            You discount other examples specifically because they are available elsewhere whereas the three you point to aren’t, but this in itself isn’t evidence of them being required to restrict themselves to Steam as you say in your first post (“That’s certainly not the case”). To make your point, you need to provide actual proof that they ARE in an exclusive contract with Steam, not just say it.

            And if we’re to take your second post at face value (“I’m obviously not stating that Valve is forcing any dev team or publisher to abide by certain restrictions if they want Steam inclusiveness for their games”), then devs aren’t being made to sign up to anything in this manner to begin with, and the argument is largely non-existent.

            Either devs that want to be on Steam have been made to be Steam exclusive, or they haven’t been. Even on the presumption that Valve are getting people to sign Steam only exclusivity deals (which you haven’t established. You just bluntly state it.) in the above two cases cases (we’ll get to Audiosurf in a second), if the devs aren’t being “forced” into it and are instead choosing to do so of their own volition, that fails to establish why Valve would be an at fault party in this scenario.

            Meanwhile, Audiosurf most certainly IS a Steamworks title. It was the first 3rd party title to make use of Steamworks.

        • El_Emmental says:

          Would it be possible that an indie developer would only use Steam for its distribution because of a lack of funds/skills/people ? I know it sounds crazy…

          Setting up an e-shop, without getting scammed (the market for that is plagued with incompetent suits blatantly lying in your face all the time), require a lot of time, stress and people, to make it work smoothly (so your customers aren’t overcharged, get their games, can get refunds when necessary, etc).

          Then, you need to set up a downloading and updating service, which mean finding a good, competent servers provider, with a good scaling plan (in case of sudden sales caused by getting featured on a popular media, or a heavy update).

          And finally, you need to be sure going in the DRM-nude, which means being sure the common people (who cba/don’t know where to find the right place to yaarr your game) will still pay for it (and not feel like “bah, it’s a little indie game, not worth much”).

          Or, you could just use Steam as your distribution platform, click on a few buttons, change a setting or two, and watch the sales happening.

          I’m amazed how people see the devil everywhere, and never think that a situation could be caused by constraints we are not aware of.

          Politicians get a lot of that crap all the time: “booh he’s a corrupt stupid guy !”, never thinking the guy has his hands tied and a knife on the throat.

        • subedii says:

          Reply fail

    • Consumatopia says:

      If you scroll up a few posts, you’ll see I made a positive post about this news. I’m a Steam user, it’s a very convenient service.

      But it’s not an unalloyed good. It acts as a gatekeeper. It means that to sell your game in the most convenient place, you have to either win approval from Valve themselves or from Steam users participating in Greenlight. Neither of those are filters I particularly like to see put on the gaming market.

      I would prefer a world in which the service that keeps track of downloads and purchases is completely separate from the filtering/promoting function–there’s no reason to think that the kind of company that’s good at providing a games download/sale service is also the kind of company that would have good taste in games. But I don’t think that kind of separation is technically feasible at this point–you couldn’t make a service that lets everyone upload a game for sale, somebody has to manually check every game for viruses/technical compliance/etc.

      As I said above, this makes a step towards making an even broader library of games put on Steam (which, to be fair, is already a very broad library). That’s sort of good, except to the extent that including more games means that it stings even harder to be excluded. If every IGF finalist made Notch’s complaint that Steam wasn’t sufficiently open for their game to be on Steam, that wouldn’t be remotely realistic but it would probably represent a marginal push in the right direction.

      • Consumatopia says:

        Actually, replying to my own comment, I have to wonder–why is it so hard to get a game published in Steam? It seems to be much harder than, for example, getting a game into the iOS App Store. And so even if iOS is more of a “walled garden” than Steam, it seems to be easier for Indies to get their game into the store. Why?

        • zeroskill says:

          Someone at Valve said, at some point (can’t really remember who it was at Valve and in what context) that they get so many submissions that they simply can’t handle it themselfs. Sometimes it takes months until developers hear back from Valve if ever even, in most cases, it’s not that they don’t want to have a specific game on Steam, they simply don’t have the time to playtest or even reply to all the submissions they get.

          That’s why they started Greenlight in an effort to manage all that. Gabe Newell said, for them, it isn’t really a satisifing solution at all but they just couldn’t figure out a better solution at this point and at least it helps them making some decisions…

          In the end, Valve isn’t that huge a company…nowhere near as big as, lets say EA with their 10 thousand of employees. Valve is relatively small with their 300 employees, managing Steam and making games like Half-….Three….and Dota 2 all that. Yeah, maybe they should hire more people.

          • Consumatopia says:

            That sounds reasonable, and I’m sympathetic towards Valve in that case, but from a purely pragmatic perspective, doesn’t that suggest that a market dominated by the Windows Store rather than Steam might actually be better for many Indie devs? If we must have a corporate leviathan running everything, maybe we would be better off if said leviathan had sufficient manpower to get the job done?

          • TLGAthena says:

            You’d trust Microsoft? I barely trust them with the Operating System..

          • zeroskill says:

            Well, hard to say. I’d rather it would be somebody that is an advocate for PC gaming, unlike Microsoft. And they don’t really have the best reputation, if Team Meat is to be believed. They made some pretty horrible experiences with Microsoft as far as I know. Microsoft, as far as I understand it, is looking to build something like Apple’s iOS store, with a lower entry barrier then Steam. So if you are a developer it would be probably easier to get in there though.

          • Consumatopia says:

            It’s true, I was forgetting that Microsoft has an established track record with XBLA, and maybe that record isn’t so hot (I don’t keep tabs on XBox gaming). The again, the Windows Store already has 27,000 apps, while there are around 2000 Steam games. It’s not quite fair to compare those (only about 2600 of those apps are games, and no doubt the quality of Steam’s games is much better) but it does look like they’ve succeeded in creating a lower barrier to entry.

          • Hobbes says:

            Microsoft’s track record when it comes to games in general is pretty attrocious. XBLA, GFWL, take your pick. Broadly speaking I trust Microsoft to produce a usable OS every second release (meaning windows 8 is a tester, wait for the next one before deciding to commit), and I trust their hardware. Say what you like about their software, and I recommend you do, catharsis is good and all, but their hardware does not break. I’m on a Microsoft keyboard which is at least 12 years old and to date, not one defect. That’s despite heavy use.

            Whilst I don’t entirely agree with everything Valve does concerning Steam, they *are* the best option on the table at this point as regards to a PC-centric gaming marketplace. Their policies generally boil down to “Your stuff must not break steam / other stuff that coexists with steam” and “If you release DLC for your game and said game is on our marketplace, you must provide that DLC in steam format in addition to any other marketplaces you inhabit.” The latter is why EA got pissy, they didn’t like having to create Steam versions of their DLC for their games, and wanted to cut out the middleman to make more money. Thus Origin was born and everyone groaned collectively.

            I’ve a gut feeling that’s what is currently stopping Far Cry 3 appearing on the UK steam store too, something about exclusive DLC codes and discrepancies it would cause.

          • zeroskill says:

            In the case of EA, there was a second issue causing them to get even more pissy. They basically wanted to swallow up Valve. Didn’t happen, so they went on to make Origin, which in their mind, probably was an easy task. Turns out it’s not as easy as throwing money at it to make something that can compete with Steam.

          • El_Emmental says:

            I think the biggest challenge Valve is facing is its scaling capacity.

            Their hiring process, as it was shown, is adequate for a game development studio with long projects and enough funds to delay, so they can “afford” waiting 3 or even 6 months to get the right people.

            But when it comes to more “business” activities, like Steam, they really need to be able to hire and fire people much more quickly, or accept to externalize it (with the risk of losing control over it, and having its “gamers-friendly” approach turned into “stockholder-friendly” approach).

            They would need at least 20 full-time people (=25 people if you count the necessary employees you need to make these 20 do their reviewing job only) to test most games, and I think they’re no more than 10 actually doing that job.

          • Consumatopia says:

            It’s ironic that someone favoring Steam over Microsoft would use Hobbes as their avatar, because I think my perspective is Hobbesian here–it’s better to have an effective overlord than a benevolent one. When you say “Their policies generally boil down to ‘Your stuff must not break steam / other stuff that coexists with steam’”, you’re missing the unwritten policy–that your game has to be sufficiently interesting to Valve for them to spend their limited resources reviewing it. Since Valve’s resources are more limited than those of Microsoft or Apple (and perhaps EA? I don’t know how hard it is to get into Origin), in practice this means that Steam is more restrictive than the App Store or Windows Store.

          • Hobbes says:

            Valve isn’t short on resources, the problem is more in line with one of the above posters – Valve tend to be very slow on recruitment, they wait for an age for “one right” person as opposed to hire ten merely competent staff. As for the unwritten element – So? If a game isn’t interesting enough for Valve to even look at it maybe there’s a lesson in that. That’s why they put greenlight together, if you can’t get your game greenlighted there’s certainly a lesson in that. Steam is not an arthouse project, it’s a big retail hub, not everything will get shop space.

            I stand by my original statement. I barely trust Microsoft with the operating system, I’m certainly much less prone to trust them to manage my purchases and curate an app store than Valve or even Apple (and apple does have quite a significant bar to entry).

          • subedii says:

            Yeah, it always surprises me when people detest Steam so much that they actively laud the idea of MS coming in to “save” us from them.

            After seeing everything they tried to pull with GFWL alone, why does ANYONE think them becoming the dominant player would be a good thing for the PC Gaming space?

          • Consumatopia says:

            If a game isn’t interesting enough for Valve to even look at it maybe there’s a lesson in that.

            There’s a huge difference between a game being interesting and a game being interesting to Valve. I don’t care what’s interesting to Valve. If an interesting game isn’t on Steam, than the only lesson to take from that is that Valve missed an interesting game.

            If Microsoft admits a larger number of games that are interesting to me, then it’s a better service to me, period. I don’t care if Microsoft also admits thousands and thousands of games that aren’t interesting to me–I simply won’t look at those. This has nothing to do with which company I “trust” or “detest”, though you and subedii have some nice projection going on there. (I’m sure the folks at Valve are more fun to hang out with than stuffed shirts at Microsoft. Doesn’t matter to me as a user). It’s simply that the barriers to entry into the Windows Store or App Store, though still real, are much smaller than those for getting into Steam.

            Of course, some people like barriers to entry. But those people, much more so than any particular corporation, are what’s wrong with this world.

          • subedii says:

            This has nothing to do with which company I “trust” or “detest”, though you and subedii have some nice projection going on there. (I’m sure the folks at Valve are more fun to hang out with than stuffed shirts at Microsoft. Doesn’t matter to me as a user).

            Projection nothing. I had to deal with GFWL for five years across a lot of games. I was using it from the start. Heck, I was hopeful for it. For a time I even thought it was the best possible contender for valid competition to Steam.

            If you’re insistent on it, I could go on the whole Spiel.

            - Why GFWL was so bad (trust me, this is a BIG one)
            - The manner in which it reflects MS’s general response to the PC Games market
            - The way in which it’s been generally sidelined (whether intentionally or unwillingly) in favour of XBL
            - The nature of the issues that you would likely be experiencing today if GFWL had in fact become the dominant player as opposed to Steam.

            I keep honing in on GFWL in particular because it’s a key case in point in how MS have behaved when on this path previously. The most important one (probably) being the entire certification process that MS has had with it (and will still be a core part of MS’s new push for XBL on PC, which is basically what they’re rebranding GFWL as).

            Snide remarks about how I only want to hang out with the “cool kids” or some such tripe… well whatever you want to believe about me. I never gave a crap about which service came from where. If GFWL had come from Valve I’d still call it complete crap.

            But I do care about previous history, and whether I believe previous guiding design philosophies and goals have changed. In MS’s case I can’t say I saw evidence of that change.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Snide remarks about how I only want to hang out with the “cool kids” or some such tripe

            Did I say that? Nope, the tripe seems to be entirely in your imagination. You’ve been misrepresenting people’s arguments all over this thread. You can scroll up to find a couple other posts of mine saying positive stuff about Steam, so any talk of “detesting” anything is nonsense. There is one particular defect I see in Steam that Windows Store might avoid, though. I’m not entirely sure, though–maybe Microsoft will suck again. Microsoft is a huge company that makes a whole lot of products and services. Some of those products and services are complete crap–sometimes even highly aggravating crap. Some of them are good.

            But if I’m wrong and Windows doesn’t fix the problem then hopefully other companies will keep working on replacing Steam, because there is a real problem here–there is no good reason for Valve to act as a gatekeeper on the market when it doesn’t have enough manpower to man the gate.

            EDIT: although I retain guarded optimism about the Windows Store, that doesn’t mean that I want everyone to use Microsoft gaming middleware. I don’t really like Steamworks either–I don’t like anything that tries to turn a store into a community.

          • subedii says:

            Did I say that? Nope, the tripe seems to be entirely in your imagination. You’ve been misrepresenting people’s arguments all over this thread. You can scroll up to find a couple other posts of mine saying positive about Steam, so any talk of “detesting” anything is nonsense.

            though you and subedii have some nice projection going on there. (I’m sure the folks at Valve are more fun to hang out with than stuffed shirts at Microsoft. Doesn’t matter to me as a user).

            I fail to see how I’ve mis-represented what you stated there. As for the “detest” comment, that one actually wasn’t directed at you, perhaps I should have been more specific.

            And if I’ve been mis-representing SkittleDiddler (I presume that’s who else you may be referring to), all I can say is I do not believe I’ve mis-represented anything he said.

            With regards to MS’s approach to the PC games space in general however, I stand by what I’ve said. The history of the past 5 years hasn’t just shown them merely flubbing it, in areas they have been actively working against user interests in favour of pushing specific publishing models, or in cases, pushing their XBox position at quite literally a direct expense of whatever they could have attempted with the PC Games market. And I don’t see that changing with W8. On the contrary, the prospect of W8 giving them greater dominance in the PC Games sphere only gives me greater concern on that front because, as I said, I don’t see that those core goals have changed.

          • Consumatopia says:

            The parenthetical comment was about me, not you–as in, I’m provisionally siding against Valve even though I find them more sympathetic than Microsoft by far. I guess “misrepresents” is the wrong word because it might not be intentional, but I think you misinterpretted a couple of people on this thread. You certainly did me.

            I guess the difference here is that I don’t think that any company’s intentions are the biggest story here–Valve doesn’t intend to put up barriers to development, but merely by not putting enough people on the job of approving games, they’ve erected a very large one.

          • subedii says:

            Then if we can leave aside what I believe is basically a case of mutual misunderstandings (and if not, at this stage it’s probably best if we just leave it anyway).

            MS never had the intention of GFWL becoming widely disliked in the PC games sphere either. But the way they viewed the service and how they wanted to force locked down console style models on it, the way they implemented it in a manner that was not about competing, but about exclusivity (amongst all its other problems)… Those LED to the problems.

            And even with their renewed push for it with W8, the store, and XBox on PC, they still haven’t changed the fundamental philosophies that made it so bad. And that would have made it terrible for everyone else if it had in fact become the de-facto standard that they wanted it to be.

            To put it another way: If I had to choose which company I’d expect to benefit the PC games sphere more in the coming 5 years, I’d pick Valve over MS (leaving aside for a second the fact that by default they own the OS on which any of this is taking place to begin with). Because previous experience of the past 5 years has been basically that Valve has been the company pushing PC Gaming way more than MS has. I’d argue that MS’s biggest contribution has been DirectX, and even there, they’ve frequently tried to use it as a bludgeon to try and force exclusivity in one way or another.

            And I don’t say that because I believe Valve are inherently nicer. But I do believe they’ve been inherently smarter in their approach to the PC games market to date, and they’ve also been able to understand when they’ve mucked something up (like with Greenlight), which I can’t say I’ve seen from MS.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Honestly, I think we’ve spent enough time making guesses about Microsoft’s culture and ideology when the Windows Store is an actual thing that exists today that can be evaluated on its own terms. I confess I don’t know all the relevant details–is it possible to make and sell an old-style x86 application in the new store, or does it only support the new “Metro”-style APIs (which, from my understanding can only be sold in the Windows Store)?

            My main point is that the primary problem (IMHO) with Steam, the difficultly of getting a less popular game into Steam because Valve only examines so many games is a completely solvable one–other companies seem capable of checking many more games. One way or another, if the difficulty of getting your game into Steam is still a major factor in the indie scene five years from now, I’m gonna be pissed, you know? I hate seeing a completely artificial problem like that holding us back. Hopefully, either Valve fixes the problem themselves or it becomes more viable for indies to work outside Steam.

        • subedii says:

          I guess that doesn’t affect me as much since I’ve generally tried to buy direct from the devs if the option is available.

  10. derbefrier says:

    @SeeBeeW

    I know it can be frustrating but I will say this. It is not the fault of the so called evil rich guys you cant make money. Indie devs these days are a dime a dozen. basically the market is saturated. This makes it really hard for new comers to get started. This isn’t some mystery or evil conspiracy this is how the job market works for every field. You got tons of people who sat in their bedrooms learned a bit of programming maybe even went to school for it and hope to be the next notch. Well for most people that’s a pipe dream just like becoming a professional athlete or a rock god. You chose an extremely competitive field to try to make a living in. one that has no shortage of people scrambling to make a name for themselves and no shortage of potential employees. The big guys cant hire everyone. Steam cant put every tom, dick and janes game on their store if they wish to keep it respectable.

    “It’s easy to put blinders on, state “no one owes anyone anything,” and sort of just expect the ghost of the commons to fairly police all transactions, but the result of that seems to be this huge concentration of wealth, with individuals becoming precarious free agents whose mostly unpaid labour is exploited by a pool of global businessmen.” This is bullshit and reeks of socialist undertones. your creating a scape goat to escape your own short comings looking for someone to blame. These individuals that run these companies are no different from you. They have limited resources and have to pick and choose who they hire and invest in on a very simple criteria “will these people or this idea make me money?” A silly indie dime a dozen platformer is not going to get their attention and can you blame them? how many devs do you think they hear from that claim to be the next big thing? probably in the thousands. They are responsible for thousands of peoples jobs and well being, investors etc that is a huge responsibility and with that much to loose its not going to be easy to throw millions of dollars at some unknown in hopes he will pull it off. Despite your disbelief the cold hard truth is that no one owes you anything. Your not special, your a nobody, your a small fish in an ocean of small fish that look just like you. the sooner you realize this the sooner you can work to change it. no one will hand you anything. to use an old cliche if you want something you have to take it. sitting around crying about how it isn’t fair is not going to change anything.

    Things don’t always work out like you want. I work in the power generation industry. that wasn’t my first choice. I wanted to be a professional musician and I am not that bad either but like the world of video games the music industry is a very hard one to break into. I knew that so I had a back up plan something to fall back on if my first choice failed(thankfully I had parents that beat this into my head to prepare me for it) I lived for about 5 years very poor playing small gigs in bars and local venues hardly ever getting paid for it, just trying to make a name for myself much like you and your friends. There were times when I slept on friends couches, didn’t eat for days and didn’t know if I was going to have a place to sleep the next week. I know how failure feels believe me and I was like you blaming everyone and everything but myself and you know what? Blaming other people doesn’t put a roof over your head. Sooner or later these people struggling to make it in the game industry are going to have to make a decision to move on with their lives and find a job that will pay the bills or keep at it and maybe starve to death. Either way its your choice and no one elses and there is no way you can blame anyone but yourselves for your situation.

    I know how that sounds but you cant go on thinking everything should be fair that your entitled to the same success others have. Thats just not the way the world works sadly. I may sound a bit jaded but this is just the reality of the world we live in. you either conform and live a comfortable life or you don’t the choice is and always has been yours to make.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      “These individuals that run these companies are no different from you”. Do you actually believe that, or do you just enjoy taunting all the librul soshulists that come to this site? Jesus Christ…

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      Phew.

      I’ll just top myself now then. No point even trying.

    • El_Emmental says:

      +1 derbefrier, glad someone like you could share his experience, this is the real issue indie devs are facing right now.

      (and yes SkittleDiddler, you have to understand it’s a systemic problem, not just a bunch of “evil people” ruining everything for everyone, that’s just childish to believe that)

      • Consumatopia says:

        SkittleDiddler and derbefrier are making the same mistake in opposite directions. SD sees a systemic problem as assumes that means someone is being evil. derbefrier sees that no one is being particularly malicious so therefore there is no systemic problem.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        I never said anything about evil. derbefrier is implying that CEOs (in general, not just the guys running the AAA video game companies) are somehow like normal people, which they are not. They live in a highly enclosed and incestuous world where one handshake can decide the fates of thousands of underlings. They generally come from privileged backgrounds where the golden parachute is already waiting to drift them safely to the ground while everyone else suffers from the effects of atrocious policy decisions and upper management whims. It certainly is a systematic problem.

        The guys that start penniless and build their business from the ground up are the exception, not the rule. Calling the rest of them “just like us” is naive.

        derbefrier was just being politically inflammatory, and I felt the need to respond.

        • Premium User Badge

          darkChozo says:

          And therefore CEOs aren’t people that make decisions based on the information they have to the best of their ability? I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of problems in the capitalist system (lack of responsibility for failure and social stratification being two big ones), but that kind of mindless demonization doesn’t help the discussion at all.

          • Phantoon says:

            I’d prefer the discussion to be rioting in the street, but I’m old fashioned. Lead in the wine, you know.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        this is the real issue indie devs are facing right now.

        No it isn’t. It’s just a load of boorish right wing tosh that’s not addressing a single thing that any indie developer really has to deal with. I mean, except for the bit where we have to deal with people reeling out boorish right wing tosh that doesn’t address a single thing any indie developer has to deal with, obviously.

        But aside from that, it’s just twaddle that’s not even worth a rebuttal because it doesn’t even really have a point beyond LIFE IS HARD DEAL WITH IT and oh, what a revelation that is.

  11. Ucodia says:

    “Last year’s winner of the Seumas McNally Grand Prize was Fez, so let’s hope they make this deal retroactive and work on bringing that to Steam, eh?”

    As long as Phil Fish remains the stubborn Phil Fish he is, it will never ever happen…

    “Fez is a console game, not a PC game. It’s made to be played with a controller, on a couch, on a Saturday morning. [...] It’s a console game on a console. End of story.”

    I always wondered if he really meant it or if was just being an hypocrite with a Microsoft contract.

    • Phantoon says:

      He means everything he says. He reacts to people voicing complaints of his game… poorly. I like to imagine he cries. He’s a bit naive, and a bit of a blowhard. Perfect example of what’s wrong with indies. Shit is so incestuous it makes the doritogate look like an interracial coupling. Where the fuck am I going with this metaphor? I guess I’ll just stop righ