I’ve discussed Steam Greenlight’s potential to become a gameable platform a couple of times. But that was all theory. Now, with the aptly-named Green Light Bundle we get to see the first real concerted effort to get games into the Steam ecosystem. Assuming this works, we’ll probably see many more of these bundles later. But, that’s not a bad thing, in this case.
For those who are not aware, indie bundles have become an effective marketing tool for small game (or music, etc) developers who might otherwise have a tough time finding an audience. Most of them are “pay what you want” or pay some amount exponentially smaller than the sum of all the games’ suggested prices and get all of them. I think they are generally a good thing for indie developers and for gamers, but it’s questionable exactly how effective they are for games that seem to be more tag-a-longs to the more well-known titles.
There’s one critical aspect of the indie bundle that can make or break its success, and that is Steam activation. For many PC gamers in recent years, Steam has become their de facto game collection. That means, if I buy your game and I don’t get it on Steam, even though I have access to DRM-free copies, I won’t play it. It’s almost worse for me to own a game off Steam, because I feel that I’ll eventually end up paying for it again once it releases onto Steam anyway.
The ethics of that effective monopoly aside, suffice it to say, “Steam activation matters.” Some bundles get no love because the games aren’t on Steam (yet, or may never be). The Green Light bundle finds a clever loophole here and incents would-be bundle snatchers to, not only pay for the bundle, but then put their voting-money where their money-mouth is. They don’t explicitly command anybody to vote for a bundle in exchange for some benefit (which is what my gameability concerns revolved around), but the entire bundle is set up for the sole purpose of getting potential Greenlight voters to get some hands-on time with the game and nudge them in the direction of the voting page.
I’m not personally familiar with any of the games in this bundle except for Muffin Knight (which felt like a Super Crate Box knock-off when I tried it on my Android phone a while back). In fact, most of the games seem to be known solely as smartphone game ports. But, smartphone game ports that are well-done and priced adequately are not clogging up the Steam catalog. And holding Steam activation above the head of someone who has already paid a little bit for the game so long as they upvote it doesn’t mean a lot to very many people. So, it’s not quite the Farmville problem I fretted about so long ago.
I hope we see a lot more Greenlight ideas like this. The next bundle will show what type of games tend to desire inclusion in the Green Light Bundle. I think we’re all hoping for some hidden gems with clever spins on how to capture the Greenlight audience’s attention.Source: thegreenlightbundle.com
- bitshift posted this