What steam should doPosted: November 26, 2012
So a while back I ranted about why steam was damaging to independent developers as a whole (yes they are good for those that make it onto the service, but everyone else has a harder time), in that post I said:
I would argue then, that steam *should* be as good to indies as people *think* that they are. If steam are the only way *most* people get their games, then it’s nothing less than steam’s RESPONSIBILITY to give all indie developers a decent chance.
I then continued that because steam are a business, it was not in their interest to be good for all indie developers, just the developers they thought would make them a decent amount of money.
But let’s say steam genuinely wanted to be awesome for all indie developers, let’s say they could do it with barely any added cost (and would in fact make more money from indie games than they currently do). It’s totally possible, and if they did this I would put a strikethrough all the text of my ‘Fuck Steam’ post and leave a note at the top saying steam are fucking wonderful. What’s more, if steam did this they would not lose face at all, all the people pissed about greenlight before, and all the people in favour would be on steam’s side together.
So here’s what steam should do.
- Keep greenlight
- Keep the $100 fee to get on it
- Move greenlight into the store
Instead of the greenlight buttons ‘would you buy this game if it was on steam? yes/no’, just have steam’s regular ‘add to cart’ button. Developers will have already uploaded the game, they get money if somebody buys the game (instead of a hypothetical “oh I’d totally buy this”), steam gets a cut of the money, and gamers who want the game have it in their library right away without waiting for the game to get the rubber stamp and added to steam.
It really is that simple. Steam’s catalogue explodes, any developer with $100 gets to sell their game on steam, and steam makes money from greenlight. It’s in everyone’s best interests, the developer, steam and their customers.
About now a bunch of people reading this hate the idea because it will saturate steam with really shit games, ‘If you flood what’s available on steam it’s not good for anyone, surely?‘ I totally agree, most of the games submitted would be shit. So keep greenlight off the front page of steam. Just how right now greenlight games dont get put in front of people unless they prove themselves with a lot of people clicking the “I’d buy this” button, don’t feature any greenlight games as part of the main store unless they prove themselves with people actually buying the games.
So just picture that for a moment, steam employee-person, for every single “I’d buy this game if it was on steam” click under the current system, even on games that haven’t been greenlit, an indie developer would have been paid and you would have taken your cut too.
Those “I’d buy this if it was on steam” clicks suddenly stop being something intangible, they become meals for indie developers and go towards real things like rent and bills. That $100 greenlight fee is no longer a lottery ticket that *may* result in a chance to sell to steam users, it is an actual pass to sell to actual steam users.
So there you have it, simply put, this is what steam will do if they care about indie games development as a whole. It’s what steam will do if they want to make an extra buck. It’s what steam will do if they want more games available to their customers. It’s what steam will do if they want to cross out the number one google result for “fuck steam”.
It’s true this would not address the problems of steam’s near monopoly on game download sales but it would stop smaller indies, who currently have to try and survive outside steam, from shouldering the burden.