Steam Greenlight — A Heap of Games and Unheard Stories

Hopes for Everyone; Promises for None

It’s funny how everybody wants their own Minecraft or Angry Birds. Video games have become so prevalent in contemporary culture that sometimes creators are considered major celebrities, some even appearing on prime time talk shows. Everybody wants a piece, and it is easy to find a platform to jump off of and hopefully reach for the moon. But, more often than not, all those hopefuls fall flat on their face because to get to the moon, you need a spaceship, not a jumping platform. But that doesn’t stop people from trying, and Steam Greenlight is where most of the jumping happens.

It’s interesting how Steam started as a random program that everyone only ever used just to play Half-Life. Still, I already talked once about Steam and the inescapable DRM facilitator that it became, so I’ll leave it at that. Then again, Steam doesn’t need any introduction, primarily because most companies will force you to buy their games through it. But Steam is more than just a digital store of video games; it has other projects as well, and one of those is Steam Greenlight, as I already said.

Anyway, Steam Greenlight is a service of sorts that makes it easier for game developers to get their games published, for lack of a better term. Not only that, but it allowed Steam users to purchase games that are still in their alpha stage, which means a game riddled with bugs and half of its features not yet implemented. I don’t know how popular it is today, though, since the last time I used Steam was probably seven years ago.

A graveyard of games

I remember there were so many MOBAs in 2014. (That’s when the genre was most popular.). There would be an announcement of a new MOBA every two weeks or so. It was always fascinating to play every one of them because each had a plethora of colourful characters to discover regarding gameplay and story. Alas, due to the competitive nature of the genre, many MOBAs have withered like leaves in the autumn, with only a few remaining. I’m pretty sure I talked about this already, but I’m bringing this up in relation to Steam Greenlight since I remember at least one MOBA that tried to sell itself via the service. I believe that game’s name was something along the lines of DeadBreed if I remember correctly.

So… about this game. The truth is, I never played it, and there’s a good reason for that, too: it was discontinued before my request to join the beta was approved. And it’s a shame too since I wanted to discover another MOBA and one that sells itself as a “3 versus 3-weapon-based horror MOBA”. In retrospect, I realise that it never really mattered since all MOBAs are virtually the same, but this is just another example of how Steam Greenlight promises nothing, let alone success.

Frankly, this isn’t just a problem presented by Steam Greenlight, but by Steam in general. Because y’ see, there are a lot of games that are, in fact, not in English. I brought up MOBAs because I remember seeing a lot of Esoteric MOBAs from China and Korea. There are TONS of games on Steam, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if there are a lot of Chinese games on it that you haven’t heard of. But yes, there are a lot of failures in Steam, and in some cases, it’s because of the language barriers.

Those who make these games probably don’t care… too much

To all those Chinese/Korean developers that kept their game in their country, I would simply say that a translation would be enough to get more exposure. Still, I don’t know how their video game market works, and China is so much bigger than my country that I can’t possibly comprehend their cultural way of thinking. Besides, I don’t know how much they care about this, as if it doesn’t pose an issue.

And all the games that are still in the dark (at least for western gamers), well… Steam and all its other applications, Steam Greenlight included, are several processes within an even broader collection of processes, and one that is beyond my understanding. There are so many reasons beyond “my game is not in English” that contribute to its lack of exposure, and I’m definitely not going to examine all of them.

Then again, a person who doesn’t use Steam shouldn’t advise people who do use Steam. And yet, I’m still doing it…

That’s why, you tell me!

And yet again, I find myself in a position where I tell others to tell me what they know better than me, only to follow up with a repetitive joke about how redundant this section is. Regardless, you definitely know better than me about Steam, so you should be the one giving away advice, as I am probably the only person in the world who doesn’t use the ever-so-popular digital service, and every day I believe this more and more. But if you don’t use Steam… come and share your thoughts instead.

In Conclusion…

I don’t really have a lot of “conclusions” this time since I talked about something I barely know anything about, mainly because I don’t use it. Maybe that’s a subject for another time… or not.

Regarding aspiring game developers or unaspiring, for that matter, everyone will do whatever they think is best for them and their game. I have no advice about this “Steam Greenlight” when I failed to develop my own game. That’s right! There was a time when I tried to become a game developer… but it wasn’t for me. There’s another thing to talk about in the future possibly.

But I did enjoy talking about MOBAs again.

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Jeffrey McGee

Jeffrey McGee

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