Developer David Gallant shares the trials and tribulations of getting a game through Steam's new submission process.
Now, a bit about Greenlight's comments: when logged in as the developer account linked to the game, every comment on the game's Greenlight page has a delete option. It would be so easy to purge a Greenlight page of any and all negative comments, but I refuse to do so. It wouldn't be fair, and I have no desire to live in an echo chamber of praise. However, I have used the function three times. Once was by accident: I was trying to highlight a comment from my phone so I could post it to Twitter as a #greenlightcomment, and my fat finger tapped "Delete" by mistake. There's no confirmation step to that process; touch "Delete" once and the comment is gone. I don't even think the user is notified, just as no user is notified of any replies to their comments. The system lacks any real social features, so there are no comment thread conversations as one might see on other websites.
The second time, I deleted a comment that was simply a death threat against another commenter. The third time, it was because the commenter said the game was made by someone with Down syndrome. This really got under my skin, not because I perceived it as a personal insult--it was not--but because of the implication that someone with Down syndrome is somehow limited to being able to create only ugly, terrible things. It was an insult to anyone afflicted with Down syndrome and an ignorant, insensitive statement to make. I deleted that comment, and then discovered the offending Steam user allows any other users to post comments on his profile. I posted there to notify him of his comment's deletion and the reason why I found the comment offensive. Within an hour, he had deleted my response from his profile.
I have determined to focus less on the Greenlight process going forward, so that I can devote more energy and focus to a new project. I still have no clue what that new project will be, but I feel like I have to move on.
01/20/2013: Day 21 of Greenlight. Stalled.
In terms of "progress", the graph says it all. Votes have slowed to a crawl compared to the top 100, the game advanced a whole 3% in a week (and I'm wondering if it is possible to make negative progress against that number--mathematically speaking, it could happen), and all this despite having renewed coverage. I'll be very surprised if the game ever makes it to 25%. This is how I predict things will remain for the foreseeable future.
Earlier this week, Valve Greenlit ten more games. No indication if they were the top ten, or what methods they used to come to their decision--expectedly inscrutable. The removal of ten games from voting had no perceivable impact on anyone's standings.
There was a brief glitch on Monday, the day before the Greenlighting, when everyone was showing as 100% in the blue bar. It made me feel the faintest pangs of hope, that maybe the game stood out to someone higher up, that perhaps it had been Greenlit and I had yet to be notified. A fleeting fantasy if ever there was one.
I Get This Call Every Day is up for sale on Indievania, and has resulted in two more sales. It is set to go on Desura (in the North American region only, thanks to some oddities in their minimum pricing guidelines) and is awaiting a final approval. Sales occasionally trickle in from my website, the first and primary place the game is being sold. Yesterday was my first day without a single sale, and today is my second.
I always knew I had created a game with limited appeal. It wasn't intentional, but I knew that reaching a wider audience would mean compromising aspects of the game that gave it meaning. Thus, I always knew it would come to this. I am very fortunate not to be in the position I have seen some of colleagues in: having "taken the plunge" and "gone full indie," the act of getting onto Steam becomes a salvation they desperately require. The exposure granted by merely being available on Steam is unlike any other form of promotion, and it can go a long way towards securing financial success. My finances are not yet dependent on the sales of my game, so I Get This Call Every Day's current performance on Greenlight is thankfully inconsequential. I have known others with more at stake to be in similar situations, and their lack of success with Steam was more damaging.
I have learned from this that while Steam can be a key to success, it had zero guarantees. Also, I became successful to myself the moment I made my first dollar from my own creation. That happened without Steam, and I know I can do it again on my own.