Developer David Gallant shares the trials and tribulations of getting a game through Steam's new submission process.
01/06/2013: Day 8 of Greenlight, some ups and downs
Votes had been in decline ever since day 1, which is to be expected. However, it was day 6 where the decline seemed the sharpest. Felt like the bubble was bursting, as I always knew it would. Comments were getting worse, too (or at least they felt that way, with fewer positive responses). I was worried that things might have been influenced by some new videos I had added to the page. See, I've only got the one trailer for the game, which is very much a pre-release trailer. I've been reluctant to do another one because 1) a trailer is a ton of work, and 2) I have zero clue what to do for a trailer. However, I've been finding some Let's Plays and livestream recordings of I Get This Call Every Day on YouTube. One in particular is lengthy and basically exposes the entire game, but it's played by a group who end up laughing at quite a bit of the writing. Their laughter is infectious, and I thought it might show the game in a good light (despite spoiling the whole thing). However, the decline in votes coincided with the video being added to the page, and I still wonder if it may be responsible for the decline in votes.
Day 7 (the Saturday) saw votes rise a little, but the average votes for the top 100 are also sky-high. What the fuck happened here? Without any metrics (like what new game led to this spike) there is no real way to put this upsurge into context.
Tweeting out the #greenlightcomments has been a generally positive experience and has actually inspired some to leave more encouraging comments. Also, the Greenlight page seems to have started driving some sales. I have no real stats for where sales are coming from, but I had a $20 sale from someone who emailed me after the purchase to tell me she had found the game through Greenlight. So I guess the investment has 20% paid for itself?
01/13/2013: Day 15 of Greenlight, nuka comments
One-fifth of the way to the top 100! This is one-fifth of the way to an arbitrary ranking which may or may not result in the game being Greenlit, so it's a far less impressive milestone. It'll be interesting to see if votes trend high on Monday and Tuesday this week, as they have in the past two weeks; as you can see, votes dip significantly every other day.
The game's Greenlight page got a one-line mention in Patrick Klepek's weekly Worth Reading back on Dec 11. Also, the GameSpot feature from Carolyn Petit brought a lot of attention to the game and led to my first big sales spike since launch. These two things could be the reason for the slight rise in Greenlight votes on Friday and Saturday, but clearly that kind of coverage isn't immensely effective for this sort of thing.
While this journal focuses on Greenlight, I should probably mention that I have applied to sell I Get This Call Every Day through Desura and Indievania as well. Quite a different process on both sites; half the work for Desura was already done because I had already set up an indieDB page, and there was a "publish on Desura" there to easily send it up for approval. I was missing a key art asset required for the storefront; I supplied it four days ago, and haven't heard anything since.
Indievania took a bit more work; I got a little weirded out when their system handed me a login to their Amazon S3 server to upload my game, which also exposed the files of every other game on the service; I'm not sure if there is any actual security concern there, but it certainly did not look comforting. Their process promised a response within four days as well, and that response has yet to arrive. Though neither service required a setup fee, I think I appreciate the Greenlight process a little more: Greenlight gives you all this feedback and forces you to engage with your potential customers to get onto the service. I've heard so many stories how Desura and Indievania rarely make a fraction of what a game can make on Steam, and I will honestly be surprised if I make any sales at all on those fronts. The game will have to be sold for a fixed price, but my pay-what-you-want sales are getting to the point where a majority of people are buying the game for the $2 minimum anyways.