Steam Greenlight Post-Mortem
By now, you should be aware that Radial-G : Racing Revolved has been selected in the September batch of Steam Greenlight titles. This means that we can officially publish and release the game through the Steam platform, the global leader in digital, online games retail and delivery! As of Jan’14, there were over 75 million registered Steam users and on an average day, there are typically between 3-6 million concurrent users online at any given time. That’s a lot of potential racers that we can now get the game in front of.
Steam opened the Greenlight programme a few years ago but there are rumours now that Gabe Newell (big boss of Valve, who operates Steam) has expressed his desire to close the service in the near future. With this threat in mind, we were keen to get through the Steam Greenlight process as soon as possible before this door was closed forever. Thankfully, on Thursday 4th September 2014, upon turning up at the office for another day of development, we discovered that we had been successful after 70 days since our profile launched on Friday 27th July.
However, those 70 days have been fraught and nerve-wracking, mostly because there is no visibility into the process of selection nor knowledge of the selection criteria and with changes to the dates, numbers selected and process along the way. When we first launched the title on Steam Greenlight, there were two selection dates per month, with each selection containing 75 titles. However, tracking the titles selected in the first batch after we launched, we soon discovered that just being in the Top 75 didn’t automagically mean you were selected in that batch. There were many other selection criteria coming into play that we weren’t aware of but we can assume they include:
- Successful Kickstarter / Indiegogo campaign
- Online coverage of the title elsewhere
- General levels of hype around the title
- Community perception of the title
- Recent and regular updates to the title Steam Greenlight profile page
- Recent and regular updates to the public development of the title
We were initially very confident of passing Greenlight quickly and assumed that we would be selected in the 2nd batch since our launch. At the time of the 1st batch since launch, we were just outside the Top 100 so weren’t expecting to be selected at that point but afterwards, we jumped up to the threshold of the Top 75 as higher ranked titles were selected and taken out of the table. From that position, whilst our Kickstarter campaign was still running, we saw a lot of traffic back and forth between Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight campaigns, each feeding one another and increasing our rank daily. We soon found ourselves, after approximately 25 days, in the Top 25, bouncing between 20th & 25th. Which is where we remained for the rest of the campaign until we were finally selected.
We tried a variety of methods to gain more traction and increase our daily visitor count, and most importantly our voting ratio for YES over NO, but everything we tried, we saw little increase or spikes in activity overall. We could see on the stats page that other titles ahead of us were often having huge spikes in interest and votes but not being able to see what was currently rank 5, 10, 15, 20 etc meant that we couldn’t determine what these titles were doing to generate these. We even bowed to pressure from the vocal group of Linux gamers that we would support their platform of choice, but this only saw a small bump in activity as a result. Fortune smiled on us when the gaming page of the Red Bull website listed Radial-G : Racing Revolved as one of the top 10 games that readers should vote YES for on Steam Greenlight, in an article published mid-August. This provided a boost to our visitor count and our YES votes overall.
Overall it was a fairly blind process and we learnt quickly from other devs, who have put their games on Steam Greenlight, that they were as in the dark as much as we were but had had varying degrees of success, or failure themselves. Some wallowed on the service for over two years before being selected, others are still there, struggling to get into the Top 100, despite successful crowd-sourced funding campaigns and regular development updates. Others have flown through, being selected in just two weeks since opening their game profile page up for votes. Talking to these other devs made us feel better about our chances, especially since our stats at the time were really good, apparently. In the end, we finished with a near 50/50 split as to whether Steam users wanted to see Radial-G : Racing Revolved on Steam or not. We are happy with this as we know futuristic arcade racing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and especially as we’ve positioned ourselves as being a game for VR first-and-foremost, the current userbase for Oculus Rift is tiny compared to the larger gaming community hardware.
We are overjoyed to have made it and are now steadily working through the administrative process of setting Tammeka Games up as a Steamworks developer and preparing our official Steam store page for Radial-G : Racing Revolved, with plans to launch on Steam Early Access later in 2014 before our first full release of the game. As ever, watch this space for more details! In the meantime, if you have a title on Steam Greenlight still, we’ve included our final stats below to compare against to help you understand a bit better.