Mutant Mudds developer Renegade Kid have expressed their discontent with Steam Greenlight, suggesting that a "popularity contest" relying on "unique publicity angles" might not be a perfect way of getting deserving games onto the platform.
Renegade Kid's Jools Whatsham took to Gamasutra to vent some frustrations; though Mutant Mudds passed through Nintendo's incredibly stringent certification procedure, Steam refuse to even consider it without passing it through Greenlight voting.
“When we submit a game to Nintendo they test the game to ensure it does not crash or have any major bugs that impede gameplay," Whatsham wrote. "If the game contains any issues in this regard Nintendo sends us a report that explains why the game was failed. We fix it and resubmit. Nintendo works with developers where needed to isolate issues and correct them."
“Valve is a successful company that is reportedly in good financial shape. With this in mind I assumed they would have a robust team in place that provided a similar submission service as Nintendo.”
Whatsham suggested that, despite initial excitement about Greenlight, many developers have found themselves overshadowed and eclipsed by less deserving games that ape popular genres or take advantage of carefully prepared PR campaigns (in some cases, even backed by major PR firms).
“It quickly seemed as though the games that were being received well on Greenlight were either first-person games, contained zombies, and/or were supported by a built-in PC community or a unique publicity angle. Mutant Mudds could not find its audience. Greenlight is, after all, a popularity contest,” Whatsham continued.
“Some seem put-out by calling it this. There is nothing wrong with it being a popularity contest. Isn’t that the point of asking a community of thousands to vote? It is what it is. But, now do I need to launch a dedicated PR campaign to get my game(s) noticed and accepted on Steam?”
It's an interesting question, and one that makes us wish that Steam's A&R department would take a more proactive role in getting indie games onto the service. That said, however, Greenlight is already getting results, and leading to several excellent games making the cut. More to the point, it's always nice to have your say and feel part of the process.
What's your take on Greenlight? Do you frequently use the service? Let us know in the comments.