Getting greenlit for the first time can be a very daunting task. On many digital distribution platforms other than steam, approval has nothing to do with the users’ response to your game. When you’re getting your game greenlit, everything depends on whether enough people like your game or not.

This can leave constant annoying thoughts going on in your head like:

“Will people actually like something I made, let alone a game I made?”

“I don’t really have what it takes to do this sort of thing.”

“Maybe I’ll just release it elsewhere and see what happens.”

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The enemy within…

These thoughts have no value, and you have to think past them, especially if you’ve poured your creativity into this game. Personally, I went through a lot of stress when releasing my first video game, and among my thoughts, these worries were common. Regardless, I moved on and trusted the process to create my Steam Greenlight page and get my game out to more people.

I first want to make a little disclaimer saying that it can take a long while to get greenlit, unless you already have a large following, which I didn’t.

That’s one reason why my game wasn’t greenlit until after the initial release…

Here’s hoping I can save you from that problem with this series.

I’ll start by telling you how it all went down for me. I was less than a month from release, doing all of the boring stuff that game developers don’t want to do. Writing emails, making a press release, finalizing builds, setting up web content… you get the picture. At this point, I had opened my Steam Greenlight page, and the influx you would expect from appearing on the new listings page came, and within a couple of days swiftly disappeared.

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Well, it looks more like a crash than this.

 

If you’re new to Greenlight, this is how it typically works:

  1. You set up a page
  2. You watch people vote for the first day
  3. You hear crickets for 6-12 months until you’re slowly greenlit

Okay, so like I said before, it’s a lot faster than 6 months if you have the audience beforehand.

But personally, the Greenlight page I set up for “Rebound” followed this pattern.

As a matter of fact, I totally forgot about even getting my game on Steam when it got Greenlit. I was going through a really busy period of my life, that I might talk about later, when it happened. Now, here comes the important part:

Steam Greenlight’s process still makes no sense to me. 

Sure, people press the yes button, you get yes votes, and then your game goes higher up in the ranks. Once the games ahead of your game go through the greenlighting process, your game “moves up.”

What’s a little weird about the situation is that I’m not 100% sure what it is that really got me through the system, but my best guess is that it’s the “moving up” factor I described earlier.

Between the day I put the page up during January of 2016, and the day “Rebound” was greenlit during August of 2016, I didn’t really get many more yes votes. As a matter of fact, I actually had more no votes than yes votes.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of votes, the reason why you’ll get a lot of no votes is because people are answering the question “would you buy this game if it were available in Steam?” They’re not just being asked whether they like your game or not.

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Please? No? Fine.

So that’s how my first commercial game, “Rebound,” ended up on the Steam Store. In the next part of the Greenlight blog series, I’ll talk more about what you should and shouldn’t do if you want to get your game on the Steam store.

Until next time,

Bilal