Steam Greenlight is a messy process; Valve’s imperfect way of ‘outsourcing’ game curation. The immediate benefit of this system is more games making their way to Steam. The down side is … that more games make their way to Steam. And the system is wide open for abuse.
Valve’s platform now has more than 10,000 games listed, and the rate at which they are appearing is quite astounding. Steam’s depths are awash with absolute garbage thanks to little to no quality control. Greenlight exists to let the community decide what’s worthy of a place on Steam, but it’s also open to blatant abuse. Such as unscrupulous users who are trying to make a fast buck from indie developers.
Today a Greenlight campaign launched for a new studio called Freesphere Entertainment, who are developing a new Unreal 4 game called Tether. Like so many indie studios they don’t have a publisher, so they have taken the plunge with a Greenlight campaign to get their game eventually listed on Steam. Members of the team have worked on games that have already been released on Steam, but they did not want to tie themselves to a publisher who would skin 30% off the top for some sub-standard marketing efforts. A risk, but potentially a wise decision.
Freesphere is now relying on the Steam community to get their game Greenlit, and that’s a gamble. They need votes in order to succeed.
Today, within hours of launching their campaign, Freesphere’s founder received messages from Steam accounts offering to sell up-votes for Tether. These users are using the Steam Greenlight system to profit from indie devs who are trying to get their game through the process. This is a real problem for indie devs and Steam users.
There’s a lot of rubbish that makes it through the Greenlight process, and this could be one of the reasons. For a fee, a Greenlight campaign can buy votes to help push the game through regardless of whether the community really wants it on Steam or not.
We have been sent the messages from Freesphere to show how these individuals are operating.
Simply put, these individuals are playing the system while at the same time making cash on the back of it. There’s a lot at stake for an indie studio when they commit to Greenlight. They really need to get their game through the process so it’s tempting to throw some cash at these offers.
A studio has to pay Valve £70.00 to get the game listed which Valve generously donate to the Child’s Play charity. But once the game is listed, indie devs become targets for individuals or groups looking to make a buck. If an indie dev was desperate enough they would likely toss a small amount of cash at offers like we see above.
Voting a game through Greenlight by paying for the votes makes a mockery of the whole process and it’s not good for consumers, and certainly not for Steam.
PC Invasion contacted Valve for comment and they did not reply. Shocking, I know.