Valve Admits To Greenlight’s Failings, Working On Fixes

Recently, Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail told me that he thinks Greenlight is “the worst thing that’s ever happened to Steam”. I don’t think all developers feel quite as strongly, but Valve’s kinda crowd-sourced attempt at game curation has certainly ruffled some creatorly feathers. It’s not particularly transparent with gamers either, leaving it in a rather unenviable position all around. So first, the good news: Valve is well aware, and it wants to make things better. But, uh, they kinda said something similar last year, and things are still pretty dire. So.

Responding to Six Sided Sanctuary developer poe (a chat spotted by Indie Statik), Valve’s Tom Bui admitted that Greenlight still needs a lot of work:

“The primary problem right now is that we simply cannot ship as many games as we’d like. There are many reasons for that, but at the end of the day, those don’t really matter to you, the developers, and nor should they. What matters is that we give customers the chance to buy your games and let them vote with their dollars. We realize that we are failing in this regard and are working to fix it.”

He further explained that the goal right now is to automate many processes and put more tools in the hands of developers. That way, Valve’s relative lack of manpower won’t be such a hindrance. Bui noted, for example, that developers can now edit their own store pages, a power of divine bureaucratic might once reserved only for Valve – via extremely time-consuming back-and-forth emails. Apparently before that, some of their processes actually used fax machines.

Valve’s central intent? To speed up everything, a point that it’s somewhat ironically taken Valve a very, very long time to reach. Fingers crossed that old man Newell’s magical game factory can put the necessary spring in its step, because right now this is a losing proposition for everyone. Developers, gamers, and Valve. I appreciate that Greenlight’s at least gotten a little better from a usability standpoint, but the overarching fundamental issues still stick out like a forest of purple and black thumbs. I like what Bui’s saying, but some real, sweeping change is in order. Baby steps will only get us so far.


  1. basilisk says:

    At least we have cards, right?

    • starclaws says:

      +1 internets to you sir.

    • MOKKA says:

      Right now I’m betting that Valve’s ‘Solution’ to Greenlight would involve Trading Cards to some respect.

      It would be an incredibly lazy solution though.

      • Baines says:

        New on Steam, Greenlight Trading Cards. Each card is a Greenlight game. Interesting new meta game in that there are two types of badges to craft, one for games still in Greenlight and one for games that have made it through Greenlight. Vote on Greenlight to get cards. Wait, what do you mean that it a terrible idea? We think it is great, the perfect solution to all of Greenlight’s problems. It’s already in beta and Greenlight votes are through the roof!

        Sadly, I could see Valve actually doing something like that. Valve’s track record with Steam isn’t exactly good, and their placement on the “oblivious of consequences” scale is pretty high as well.

        • The Random One says:

          Valve says that “every time you use a game’s card to craft a Greenlight card, you increase the chances of that game being greenlit!” but refuse to elaborate how. The hidden process: every time you use a card to craft a Greenlight badge that card is added to Gabe Newell’s hat. On every vernal equinox of an odd Jovian moon he draws 1d10+10 cards from the hat. All cards he draws are instantly greenlit.

    • S Jay says:

      What I find really impressive about cards is not that they exist, but that there are people BUYING them.

      • Tinotoin says:

        Not only that, they’re buying them from ME!

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        By the end of the Summer Sale, I made around $30 in credit selling those stupid things, and I still had enough of them left over to craft some badges. It’s a topsy-turvy world we live in.

      • Derpa says:

        S jay, are you from the past?

      • GHudston says:

        I bought enough to get myself to level 20 so that I could show off my DOTA 2 workshop stuff on my profile. Save for that I don’t really see the point, especially as all the rewards (backgrounds, emoticons etc.) are on the marketplace for about 2p each.

  2. baby snot says:

    Wait for the controversy to really erupt when Valve launch Redlight.

  3. Meister of Articulate Statelments says:

    Is it just me or does that banner image at the top seem to grow brighter and then darker again all the time..? I’m dizzy now… Thank you, Nathan!

  4. MacTheGeek says:

    As a customer, the first change I’d like to see with Greenlight is the implementation of development-arc categories. Start with three categories: alpha and pre-alpha, beta, and complete. It makes no sense to see finished games launching on developer sites, on Desura, and in other venues, but then look at Steam and see those games getting stuck behind others that are still more concept than code.

    Let developers plug their games and build an audience all through the development cycle, but restrict the voting to finished games, or games in beta with a playable demo.

    • Detocroix says:

      Problem with that approach is the same that exists now… No one wants to put games to categories that can’t get you Steam deal. There’s concept and “near finished game” categories now, but only the few sensible people put their game concepts to concept category.

  5. Snids says:

    “Worst thing to happen to Steam” What an idiot.
    Yes it was much better when there was no way of indie getting published on Steam apart from non-transparent back room dealings.
    Oh it’s so awful, all this visibility indies are getting.

    • jalf says:

      (1) I think the point is that indies *aren’t* getting much visibility out of it.
      (2) he didn’t say “this has made Steam worse than it was before”, he said it was the worst thing to have happened to Steam. So assuming all the other things that have happened to Steam were positive, then Greenlight can easily be positive while still being the worst, as long as it is *less* positive than the others.

      • Don Reba says:

        Good use of logic on the internet. Well done.

      • Snids says:

        Well, they’re getting more than they were before.
        Yes, he’s right if he’s saying that this is probably the worst implemented feature of Steam. But even with that in mind there is no way you could say that Greenlight is worse for indies.

        • fish99 says:

          Well, before you just had to get in touch with Valve and they’d evaluate your game and make a decision. Now you have to orchestrate a marketing campaign while trying to finish your game. And that marketing happens outside of Steam, so anyone with those sort of channels already open has a big advantage. The risk with Greenlight is the tiny 1 or 2 man startups with genuinely interesting games could find it nearly impossible to get noticed.

          • JackShandy says:

            Indie’s always have to orchestrate a marketing campaign while finishing their game. The difference is that in Greenlight, this absent-minded third party has to check in and tell you your campaign was successful.

        • RobF says:

          The big problem remains that we’re talking about getting onto a storefront here, which makes Greenlight outside of concepts (which in turn make it a bit The Great Games Experiment for anyone old enough to remember that or a bit of a more tatty take on Mod/IndieDB and that’s OK) beyond absurd.

          The important part of this communique from Steam is that they’re getting it, they are working towards Steam being a place where instead of voting for games you want, you just buy them. This is fab. Slow going but AT LAST. But right now…

          As Greenlight works only when you push people to your Greenlight page, it’s fairly dysfunctional and a waste of time tending to it. There isn’t an audience there that browse GL regular enough and if your a small band, you have to pick and choose where you spend your time and any time spent tending to GL is time you could be spending elsewhere. As the goal is to get on a store, you just want a simple yay or nay, not tooling around in someone’s toy box. Look at the way Sony are handling this now, they get it.

          So yeah, anything that wastes your time in the way Greenlight does is worse for indies. The black box was terrible but replacing one terrible thing with another terrible but in different ways thing doesn’t make it less terrible.

          I pulled my game from there after being in a GL bundle. The effects of which were during the bundle my placement went up, within a fortnight any ground I’d gained in the voting I’d lost just by virtue of people adding their games to Greenlight. This, of course, makes me an arsehole shitting on everyone from a great height or something according to some corners of the internet but without some form of divine intervention, myself and many, many other developers, many leagues ahead of me are just wasting our time on there and with my game removed, I have just as much chance of selling on Steam right now as I did before.

          The big difference is, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have had to expend time and effort on something like this and when time and effort is something of a precious commodity, it’s just pissing people around.

          But as I say, things are heading in the right direction so it’ll be a thorn for sometime longer but hopefully, everyone can put it behind them in good time.

          • Moraven says:

            “As Greenlight works only when you push people to your Greenlight page, it’s fairly dysfunctional and a waste of time tending to it.”

            I always thought that was the original point of Greenlight. If your game has fans and is not on Steam, here is a way your fans can tell Steam that your game is great and should be on Steam.

            I see little purpose and plowing through what is basically a 5 minute Kickstarter page and determine if I like a game enough or not to be able to purchase it on Steam.

          • The Random One says:

            Replacing a terrible thing with a terrible thing that pushes the reasonability onto someone else, just in case you’ve forgotten they are a corporation after all.

          • RobF says:


            Yeah, it sort of is but humans, y’know? The first thing out the bag with the $100 was “think about how many eyeballs you’re being exposed to” because people don’t always think in straight lines. There was that weird belief that you’d magically be eyeballed by millions of people for a small fee. I’ve often wondered if people really believed that to be the case or it was just the best thing they could cobble together as a rationalisation for big company does something, quick let’s defend it.

            @The Random One

            Quite! This whole system exists only to ease the work on Valve’s end making it the devs and the customers responsibility to fight out for places. Which, frankly, it’s not my job to make Valve’s life easier nor yours. And it certainly shouldn’t be your responsibility to act as pseudo-gatekeeper so people can sell you things. Not sure how anyone thought that was a good idea.

          • Shuck says:

            @Moraven: Based on what Valve have said (and the number of people voting on games purely based on the content of the Greenlight pages), I don’t think that was the intention. The fee they instituted doesn’t make much sense if they had always intended for it to work that way – if you’re coming from a third party site, it doesn’t matter how much chaff there is in the Greenlight wheat if you never see it.

          • Felix says:

            So, what, exactly, is the problem? I didn’t quite get your issue with Greenlight with regard to the votes and lost ranking. If the issue is lack of popularity, then isn’t that dependent on your marketing and product quality? The point of Greenlight seems to have been exactly letting consumers be the gatekeepers for their content. It seems like a great idea, considering things like Kickstarter and, I don’t know, the entire existence of humanity choosing what they buy.

            Would your game really have the same chance being on Steam without Greenlight? I mean, based on these complaints, it seems like a primary improvement would be a separate category/front for complete games. On the developer side, I would expect only to be able to submit my game and make updates to the page, which, if all it takes is some emails to do the latter, it’s not much different from maintaining a website. Maybe developers don’t understand the idea of marketing?

    • Detocroix says:

      Except before you had semi-decent chance of getting approved within couple of weeks vs half year or more.

      Before you also had chance to get a publisher if your initial contacts with Valve failed.

      Now you’re stuck in garbage bin where Valve won’t even accidentally say “Your game looks good. Welcome to Steam”, which is the case with many developers with games that at least could have passed on the old system.

    • Lemming says:

      Personally, I chose to read his ‘worst thing’ comment as “no one will vote for my shitty indie game. Therefore Valve sucks”

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Try dealing with Steam as a non-AAA established studio trying to self-publish. Before Greenlight the process was the same for everyone. Since Greenlight, unless you have the star power of the likes of Double Fine you’re asked to submit your game through Greenlight. Which of course, wouldn’t happen if you were still with a publisher.

      Greenlight has been one of the agents of the self-fulfilling prophecy that the industry is heading to a situation where there will be no more middle-ground. Only monster-budget AAA blockbusters, and art-house games made in bedrooms for peanuts.

      • InternetBatman says:

        On the other hand, a number of games that had been repeatedly missed by Steam (like Unepic or Spelunky) have made it on through greenlight.

        • Erinduck says:

          Hah. Yeah, some number. Since its inception nearly a full year ago, only 45 titles have made it through this absolute clusterfuck of a system. I actually went through the effort of making a spreadsheet that charted the release of games through greenlight and, since the inception of greenlight, the release rate actually SLOWED DOWN.

          Greenlight is broken. It’s a major bottleneck and, yes, the worst thing to ever happen to Steam. It is actually objectively worse than the old process.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            Greenlight doesn’t prevent anyone from selling a game anywhere else on the Internet. Why people think they can ONLY sell a game if they make it onto Steam or sign with a publisher is beyond me.
            Sell it through Humble.
            Sell it through Desura.
            Sell it through GoG.
            Sell it through your own storefront.
            Advertise. Provide copies to RPS. Provide copies to industry types who stream, like Maggie, Anthony Burch, or Aaron Linde. Give a copy to TotalBiscuit or one of the dozen decent SA streamers or LPers. Maybe they’ll find your game utterly horrific. Maybe they’ll love it. I’m sure some will do one and some will do the other. Either way, at least some of them will stream it, and people will actually see your game.

      • Felix says:

        So, the issue here is that you used to be able to get your finished game on Steam more easily than now if you didn’t have a publisher or good reputation? Where is the evidence for this? I haven’t really been following the issues with Greenlight. I have found it very nice as a consumer and thought that the titles that made it to Steam were ones that didn’t or couldn’t make it before Greenlight. Someone mentioned good games like Spelunky being an example of this. To me, this alone proves Greenlight’s worth: getting good games on the store that weren’t able to get on through normal channels.

    • sirflimflam says:

      We’re not actually getting significantly more indie games on Steam through Greenlight. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that for indies, Greenlight has been a net loss as whole, with the increased costs and time spent advertising your Greenlight page versus dealing with someone inside Valve. Just being in the upcoming/new games section on Steam was a gigantic endorsement. I have been involved in the Steam process before and after Greenlight at the indie level, and I have to say I really preferred that “black box” method to what we have now, even if the reviewers were pretty vague about their objections. Don’t kid yourself. Inside the mass that is Greenlight, indies are getting very little individual visibility.

  6. DrScuttles says:

    Greenlight always feels like this massive part of Steam that’s easy to cast aside and check out ‘later’. Only you never do. I must vote on maybe one thing every 2 or 3 months; that’s probably not the kind of engagement Valve were hoping for.

    • L3TUC3 says:

      My feelings exactly. I looked at it after release, voted for a few I would potentially play (not necessarily pay mind you) and then forgot the menu item even exists.

      I checked again today and my queue included a flash game, a iOS one and some platformer which features a character with amnesia. None of which I would want to add to my library.

      I do actually happen to own a greenlighted game (DLC quest), but that was accidental. It was cheap during a sale, I like the industry parody theme and most importantly, I read about it on RPS.

      Funny, eh.

    • Xorkrik says:

      There is no incentive or reward. Not even the basic one. Getting the game on Steam. If you vote for something you might possibly very rarely 6 months later be able to buy the game.
      So why do that when you can just check out the games you can buy here and now, or in the next month.

    • Lemming says:

      Thing is, it’s always been down to the developers to self-market their games and direct you to greenlight, which is when I actually use it.

      Them: “Don’t forget to vote for us on Greenlight! * link * “,
      Me: “Oh, ok! * CLICK! *”

      It’s not rocket science.

      • Dr. McKay says:

        It’s very similar for me. I run some TF2 trade servers, and someone had a brilliant idea of going to TF2 trade servers to market his game for Greenlight. Basically, his reasoning was that in “real” TF2 servers, people are too busy playing the game to vote on anything. But in trade servers, nothing “real” is going on so more people are willing to engage. That game has since been released on Steam.

    • HothMonster says:

      I only go there to look for and vote on a specific game. Usually something I was already following gets a greenlight page or something I stumble onto lets me know they are on greenlight.

      The idea of sitting there looking through videos for thousands of games that are in various phases of nonexistence seems silly.

    • Borsook says:

      I’m completely different, I vote so often my queue is almost all empty… that said, not I single game I really, really wanted to see on steam has made it…

  7. psaldorn says:

    I love Steam, kinda. but it needs an overhaul. Design, page flow, explanations. Download manager. Greenlight that doesn’t take an age to load. Better videos. I could go on.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Most importantly there still isn’t a Tekken game.

    • Teovald says:

      I am kinda OCD about software quality and UX and Steam makes me cringe a lot.
      I understand how ‘let’s build a wrapper around our webpage” looks like a good idea, but the quality of steam on desktop & Android (never tried the iOS version, but judging by the 3 star rating (=mediocre) & the comments it seems to be at the same level) is very very far from the quality of Valve games.
      It just look like at some point Valve decided that Steam was “good enough” and stopped improving it significantly.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        You forgot the part where Steam the platform existed long before the webpage did but you get still get marks for effort & showing your working.

        • Teovald says:

          Really ? Funny I thought it was the opposite. It does not change the reasoning behind the webpage wrapper choice though.
          I hope they change their mind and rebuild steam from the ground up. On mobile especially wrappers are pretty bad but even on the desktop they have some serious weaknesses.

          • darkath says:

            Steam is two things :
            1. A content management application letting you download games, keeping them up to date, a provide additional services like a friendlists, screenshot storage,etc.
            2. A web store complete with additional features like forums, guides etc.

            The content management app predated by a long long time the web store (steam was around since Counter Strike 1.6 iirc)

            Out of convenience they integrated a browser into the steam app so that you can shop when you fire the app to play your games, but the web store was not built for the app (though now they work together).

            The issue is not really that the steam store or the app is garbage, they’re pretty decent at what they do, the issue is that the app fails at being a browser, and thus browsing the store, forums, and other web contents from the app is a huge pain …

          • basilisk says:

            Darkath is telling the truth. The best thing you can do is get your regular browser past SteamGuard and forget the built-in one ever existed because it’s beyond awful. Extremely slow and about as feature rich as Mosaic 2.0. In a good browser, all the community and store stuff suddenly becomes actually useful and even practical.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            The steam browser is WebKit (as in the same engine Safari, Chrome & the Qt libraries use) & has been for some time. Sure it doesn’t have conveniences like tabbed browsing which we all take for granted these days but it’s not like they knocked something up in 5 minutes & called it done.

          • Teovald says:

            To focus on the store part, there are a lot of things wrong with it, and at least some come directly from the fact that this part is just an integrated browser. For example try to browse the front page, in one of the tabs (new, best sales, …) click on next, open a game page & come back. The page has lost all informations about its previous state and you have to re-click on next to come back to the same place in the list. try to browse the list of all futures release that way… great ux !
            It works considerably better on a real browser when you can open these pages in new tabs to circumvent the issue.
            I think that the issue is more the approach that anything else. I have yet to see a piece of software where it does not come epically bite the devs in the ass sometimes later. If someone knows any, I would honestly be very curious to be contradicted. On mobile it is especially awful. The steam android app does not follow any of the OS design guidelines & has horrible performances & UX, still display gingerbread era dialogs and a menu button…

          • basilisk says:

            Malibu Stacey, I know it’s using a WebKit core, but this might be its most bare-bones implementation I have ever seen. And for something as Javascript heavy as the community pages are, its performance is simply unacceptable. The general speed-up when you use a standard browser is very noticeable.

          • Prime says:

            Prime enjoys when Steam gets a kicking. Prime does not enjoy Steam much.

          • lowprices says:

            Lowprices is wondering why Prime refers to him or herself in the third person. Lowprices does not share Prime’s view of Steam, but feels there is plenty of room for improvement in both functionality and curation of indie games.

            Actually, now Lowprices understands the third person speak. It is strangely enjoyable.

      • aiusepsi says:

        Valve have been doing an awful lot of work on Steam, they’ve just been doing it on core tech stuff rather than on the UI. They’ve rebuilt the way that Steam downloads and manages game content, and ported something like 98% of games over to the new system.

        That’s really relevant to the point of the post, because one of the advantages of which is that it puts the tools to push out patches directly into dev’s hands. It’s one of the really big ingredients in Valve getting out of Steam’s way.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Truer words never spoken. One must wonder what are they doing at Valve with all the money, still managing to provide a pretty shitty service.

      Steam servers kicking you from games, loading takes forever, installs get stuck, UI is terrible, the whole UX abhorrent. Without addressing any real issues, they’re creeping in helpful features like the retarded fucking cards…

      • Guvornator says:

        Hmmm, have you considered you may have issues at your end? For me, both on my ancient crappy laptop and my new desktop Steam loads, downloads and installs far better than any of the competition. Unlike, say, the GOG downloader, I’ve never had to reinstall a game to get it working, either. I do have issues with Steam (for example, I don’t get why playing a Steam game seems to stop other Steam games downloading), but installs and loading aren’t one of them.

        • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

          I don’t get why playing a Steam game seems to stop other Steam games downloading

          That’s a really old feature to stop the download from using up too much bandwidth and messing with your ping times. Problem is, it doesn’t take into account the actual bandwidth needs of the game you started (which is generally zero for single-player games), nor the actual bandwidth of your connection—and doesn’t have any user-configurable options to make up for those failings. So yeah, it’s just poor.

          • Koozer says:

            My solution: 1) start download, 2) start game, 3) minimise, 4) pause all/resume all downloads, 5) play game!

          • Guvornator says:

            Thanks, both for the explanation and the tip. I can’t help feeling that a stop/resume all downloads button on the in game steam overlay would make everyone’s life easier.

        • Vercinger says:

          I have, as far as I can tell, a stable connection, but Steam’s download speeds are often erratic and updates take forever. And the startup time for the Steam application itself is horrendous. I also get disconnected randomly every few days.

          On the other hand, I’ve never had problems with GOG.

      • cunningmunki says:

        Wow, if you think Steam has an abhorrent UX you need to use Virgin Media’s TiVo HD UI.

      • Borsook says:

        While the speed and overload issues are objective, I disagree with UI and UX issues, Steam is very, very good in this respect. The only problem I see is that checking which DLC you already own when you are in the store is very cumbersome.

  8. staberas says:

    Well or they good just ask Santa’s unpayed Elves to help them .

  9. Ultra Superior says:

    They should make pledges instead of voting.

    Once the game pays for it’s place on steam servers and makes a little profit – then it should be published.

    What’s wrong with the good old capitalism? Do you hate money, Valve? I bet you do, since you’re fat and lazy and not making HL3.

    Yeah, fat and lazy, Gabe.

    Too bad Origin and Uplay etc. are such stupid walled projects – I honestly wish there was a strong competitor to steam. Look at what monopoly does to steam – it’s slow, muddled and fat piece of shit. (Yes, I’m one of the frustrated slaves to steam.)

    It’s about time Google or Microsoft stepped in with full force.
    (Luckily for Valve, corporate brains of Microsoft management are apparently even slower than Gabe.)

    • Teovald says:

      Desura (specialized in indie games) and GOG (only DRM-free games) are interesting competitors to Steam. Some voices even complained that an association with Desura would have been far better Greenlight.

    • darkath says:

      You don’t want a corporation with a quasi monopoly on OSes stepping in too deeply into the video game marketplaces business. This can only bring about the sheer frustration and despair of walled gardens in full force.

    • cliffski says:

      There are hundreds of indie game developers (including me!) that will sell you a game as a simple .exe installer. No steam, no Uplay, no origin, no wrapper of any kind. An exe you can back up to your hearts content (or always ask for a re-download of).
      Plus the developer gets 100% of the money that way…

      • Ultra Superior says:

        But you only want to register and provide your payment info on so many places…. discoverability is the issue too.

        It’s good to have a platform where you can explore, browse store, genres, similar games, etc. and store your library of games – update your games, connect with co-players etc. Steam is tremendously convenient in this regard (so why is there no competition? I have no idea why.).

        A one strong competitor to steam would be enough to grease the gears of progress and create reasonably curated but much more open platforms.

      • Borsook says:

        Sell it on GOG then, and if it’s good we will buy. Really expecting customer to stumble by accident to your obscure website is not realistic… we have to hear about the game somehow. GOG is perfect for that :)

        • Vercinger says:

          I’ve been wondering for a while why Cliff’s games aren’t on GOG or Desura.

    • cunningmunki says:

      You started off by making a valid point, and then just descended into a personal attack on someone’s physical appearance and another selfish whine about HL3 not being released, so ended up sounding like a spoiled teenager. Better luck next time.

    • Machinations says:

      Microsoft? You want Microsoft to step in? Have you lost your mind?

      For all Valves flaws, they have been good stewards of the PC community. Imagine if Steam never existed. Where would PC gaming be?

      Telll you what, it would not be booming.

      • Prime says:


        Asking Microsoft to step in is astonishing considering the cack-handed bowl of runny poo that is/was Games for Windows Live, their pathetic “doubling-down” commitment to the PC platform, and their habit of closing all the PC development houses they have. It’s like begging for more time in the torture chamber!

        If Microsoft were in charge of PC gaming there would be NO PC GAMING. I may have problems with Valve but align with the most demonstrably PC-hostile force ever seen? You, Ultra Superior, sir, should Be Ashamed!

      • Ultra Superior says:

        No, I agree, steam and GFWL is like heaven and hell.

        Steam rightfully prevailed. Now it’s time for MS to admit the error of their ways and come up with decent service that would compete with steam.

        Why MS ? Because they have the means. But I don’t care what company in particular, anyone, really.

        • STiger says:

          After Microsoft’s fuckup with the Xbox One, do you really want them anywhere near PC gaming again?

  10. AngoraFish says:

    Valve pays virtually NO attention to Greenlight votes and rankings in its assessment process. In a post to devs not that long ago I recall they mentioned that of the games greenlit in that round none were in the top 20 and at least one was outside the top 100.

    Voting in Greenlight is largely a scam designed to obfuscate the reality that the process of approving or not approving games hasn’t changed one iota from the process before Greenlight was introduced.

    • staberas says:

      do you have source ? (i’d like to read that one)

      • Erinduck says:

        He doesn’t since he’s actually full of shit. Almost every single thing that’s made it through has been from the top 10/top 20. There are rare exceptions, but the system is absolutely a competition to the top spots.

    • Koozer says:

      One question: why on Earth would they go to all that effort creating Greenlight so they can ignore it and get told by everyone it’s rubbish?

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Well, they get to receive USD 100 for every game on greenlight, so there’s that. :P

        • baby snot says:

          I think it’s a hundred per developer.

        • Detocroix says:

          That hundred dollars go to charity :)

          • Inconceivable says:

            ….which valve then writes-off as charitable donations, lessening their tax liability. Just because someone doesn’t stick your money directly in their pocket doesn’t mean they aren’t profiting from you.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Source and stats, please. The stats for Greenlight votes are all recorded and available to all, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a set of Greenlit games that weren’t in the top 20.

      Off you go…

    • trjp says:

      It’s certainly true that they’ve chosen games which appeared to have no popular consensus (Darkfall, for example) and that they cherry-pick stuff.

      They originally shared voting data (the stuff I started pooling with my Greenlight Lite thingy) but they removed it because they said it was ‘driving all the traffic to the most popular games’ – which is an odd thing for a popularity contest to do isn’t it? NOT

      I don’t think they completely ignore it when they choose what to Greenlight – but they did say, many, many times, that they were looking for the community’s choices and I’m pretty sure they actually “do what they feel like anyway”.

  11. Bostec says:

    I think I went on the Greenlight page twice and that was just after it launched. I haven’t bothered looking again. Too clunky to use, to much tat to wade through. The first change will be something card based, I can feel it in my tired old gaming bones.

  12. Tei says:

    Greenlight to me is a huge positive and its trying to solve the most important problem, finding the good games.

    Critics may find room for improvement, but the useful stuff would be to find these ways to improve it.

  13. fish99 says:

    I’ve voted on 1 or 2 things on Greenlight, but always from outside links. I’ve never actually looked through the Greenlight section on Steam, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of people don’t look at it regularly either.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      It’s buried, slow and confusing. My guess would be that hardly 2% percent of steam users visit greenlight once a month or more.

      • cunningmunki says:

        Buried? It’s just under the charts block on their main page and occasionally it’s their top banner. Slow? Seems ok to open quite quickly for me and I can access the pages quite quickly. Confusing? I see a list of games, each with a helpful description if you hover your mouse pointer over each one. Each page has a video and/or images from the game with a bar underneath which states “Would you buy this game if it were available in Steam?” along with three very clearly labeled buttons. What’s confusing about that?

        • The Random One says:

          I’m not even sure how to respond to someone whose reply to the complaint that Greenlight is slow is “nah, it loads pretty quick for me”. If I told you those complaints are from a developer’s viewpoint would you understand, or do you think games on Greenlight are posted by people who have ideas for cool games and then they spontaneously come into existence when enough people vote for them?

  14. greywolf00 says:

    So I’m clearly in the minority here, I don’t really mind voting on Greenlight (600+ votes and have bought several releases). My biggest complaint is how little the votes seem to matter. They hide the top games list to discourage gamers from only voting on the top games, but I constantly see Devs pointing out how often the top games don’t get pushed through. Also, annoyed seeing games that have been out for ages like Silent Storm 2 and Dominions 3 get buried in the system while concept pieces get through. I’m stoked stuff like Stonehearth, Worlds of Magic, and Battle Worlds: Kronos will be on Steam, but they’re still a ways off.

    I understand the complaint about Greenlight being a pain to sort through, but they finally changed it so it saves your custom que; if only they’d implement a better recommendation system it’d greatly help.

  15. Cantisque says:

    As a consumer, I love Greenlight. Having a seemingly endless pile of games to browse through and going “Ooooo I want that!” or “Hahaha! What were they thinking??” to me is entertainment in itself.

    That said, for the intended purpose, it seems to be very slow in actually getting these games out. I think if a game is 100% finished and doesn’t have much negative community feedback then why delay the release just because it’s not in the top 10 most popular? Not every dev has the time to push the hype train.

    • trjp says:

      ALL developers have to push the hype train – certainly if they intend to get onto Steam.

      Anyone saying “I don’t have time to promote my game as much as I’d like” may as well not create the game…

      One thing Greenlight has done is teach some people the value of reaching out to players – unfortunately the resulting message is often mixed, but that’s life.

  16. malkav11 says:

    I dunno. I think Greenlight could be a ton better but the fact remains I’m seeing stuff come to Steam that Valve had rejected out of hand before.

    • trjp says:

      I honestly don’t think that’s happened much – if at all. What we’re seeing is a popularity contest – something they said they DIDN’T want but which they went and made anyway…

      • InternetBatman says:

        McPixel, Unepic, La Mulana come to mind as rejected games that have been greenlit.

  17. trjp says:

    Greenlight as a tool for developers to submit content and for people to ‘then rate’ is a half-baked idea, badly implemented – it leaves both the consumer and the developer soiled by association (as many developers have backed-me-up on in the past).

    Greenlight as a way of seeing how awful many of the games Valve were having to ‘review’ and how few they selecting, seemingly at random – is PERFECT!

    Fixing it will require them to get-off their high horse, stop pretending it’s anything other than a survey with a stupid question, a half-arsed Kickstarter and some sort of idea generator and start again from scratch.

    First question – what exactly are they trying to achieve? I asked them this when they kindly commented on my Greenlight experiments here

    link to

    and they really never did answer the question – which suggests they didn’t know.

    They tried to replace a broken system without knowing what that system did – there’s your first mistake.

  18. trjp says:

    Also – we’ve not touched-on the biggest issue – which is that Valve have repeatedly said that Greenlight is the ONLY way to get onto Steam, unless you have an existing agreement with them

    link to

    and yet we see games appearing on Steam which didn’t exist when Greenlight was created froim developers with no track-record who couldn’t have had such a thing.

    We’ve also seen a couple of games appear on Greenlight – then be removed from it – then appear on Steam later – so they clearly worked ‘around’ it as well as through it.

    • Tei says:

      I think the system exist to help Steam find cool games. It is not supposed (yet) to democratize the platform so much that what we buy is what people vote. And I am not sure if I want that. Imagine if Greenlight develop a culture like the wikipedia editors, and games start getting the light for political and petty issues reasons. The current system is that Steam have always the ultimate say about everything, and I think thats a good system wen you are tryiing to maximize quality.

    • Baines says:

      I’ve a feeling that Valve doesn’t have a real system in the first place. They publicize some vague guidelines in place to give a semblance of structure, but stay secretive about the details because there aren’t any firm details because they apply and ignore parts at their leisure.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Valve contacts developers outside of greenlight too. That was half the old system, and the other half wasn’t even working as well as greenlight.

  19. cyrenic says:

    Is Valve’s “relative lack of manpower” going to eventually be an issue for DotA 2 when all the developers have moved on to other projects?

  20. InternetBatman says:

    Greenlight, and probably whatever system replaces it, has a major problem: most of the games on there just look really, really bad. It’s chock full of identical horror games, half-baked zombie games, RPGmaker games with anime dialogue, freemium whatever flavor is in this week, and ms-paint programmer art. So I think any system they choose is going to have significant drawbacks, because it’s a real problem. Sure they can let everything on and highlight the good stuff, but the app store is a notorious mess as is XBLA. They could keep being selective, but then they’re just giving sales to the Humble people. I’ve voted for about 20% of the hundreds of games I’ve looked at.

    There are three things they can definitely do.
    One is provide the option to play demos in browser. A ton of greenlight games are on unity. Put them on the greenlight page, and voting will be a little more fair.
    Another is rapidly integrate an alpha vs. finished section.
    The last is speed up the damn browser. Greenlight takes forever to load in Steam, even with the trick to speed it up (you disable proxies or somesuch). I wish they would just put firefox in steam.

    • RobF says:

      Right, yeah. Worth remembering that everything is milling in a pool of shite, it’s the size of the pool of shite and your ability to find stuff amongst it that matters.

      Supermarket syndrome to a degree, it doesn’t matter if there’s 30 razor wire bog rolls as long as you can find the one with the bear on that wipes your arse comfortably. The App Store didn’t do too badly at this before the new store, now it goes a little too far in the direction of keeping stuff hidden. Something that wouldn’t be so bad if there was an effective filter that didn’t rely on me going to Touch Arcade or them kicking out apps that restore the ability to browse through releases as they come in if you choose to.

      Valve’s solution, and this may not stick, appears to be handing over that filtering to people with the Valve Steam store being what they choose to show you but hey, we could have an InternetBatman Presents store, a Bob Gobs Off store, Venus Patrol picks hyper super indie style, Wizardry’s Games That Are A Bit Like Wizardy, Games That Have Demos:The Store or what have you.

      So Steam becomes a bit of a mall and in that are all these stores selling games. Or maybe they’ll shift to widgets like Hundle have also. Eire way, the plan seems to be to sidestep a lot of the discovery problems present in normal storefronts this way. I don’t know if it’ll work but it’s an exciting proposition and Maybe they’ll grease the wheels somewhat with a % of sales in Steam Credit or something to encourage folks to work at this if recent changes are anything to go by.

  21. SimbaLion says:

    Greenlight is fantastic, first of it’s kind (on a large distribution platform like Steam), and has helped me find many great games.

    The problems it has were easy to anticipate and difficult to solve. In time I’m sure all of these things will be worked out. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    • Erinduck says:

      Greenlight is awful and if you think it’s fantastic then you’re clearly not a developer.

      • granderojo says:

        The problem with this article and your train of thought is that it doesn’t take into account consumer point of view. Greenlight gives consumers more control over the marketplace than developers, and many of developer criticisms stem from this fact. I’ve seen multiple independent developers say, “You shouldn’t allow people to down vote games.” This being that it is a fully asymmetrical power to shape consumer opinions of a game as the like button does.

        Personally I never use a down vote. I feel if a developer has gone through the effort, the least I can do is not vote for their game at all if I don’t want it on Steam. Many don’t agree with me, and they use their right to shape what games are on the service. I wouldn’t have it any other way because I believe in my fellow user having the right to voice their discontent, even if they’re idiots, even if it means the sorts of games I can buy on Steam suffers as a result.

        I don’t know maybe I have a different view on freedom of speech than most independent developers and this is just one example I’ve read many times of developers issue with the service.

        • Borsook says:

          Yes, but there is no down voting, there hasn’t been one for a while. As per Valve comment when you say you don’t want the game it doesn’t count as down vote