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  • Getting Greenlit in 29 Days

    [02.05.15]
    - Ivano Cheers
  • About one month ago Aero's Quest was subscribed to Steam Greenlight: the process where Steam users can up or down vote the subscribed games in order to help Valve choosing which title deserves to be published on Steam. I wrote "to help Valve" because, despite the huge amount of stats and data that the greenlight system gives to the developers (not to mention top100 and rank), the final judgement is always up to Valve.

    The preparation

    Less than a month ago i posted on Gamasutra this Article where I was going to explain how was our approach for Aero's Quest to the greenlight campaign at the end of 2014 when things might change soon and after a lot of criticism against Greenlight.

    The excitement

    Today we woke up and, checking the email I just spotted the following image:


    Aero's Quest has been Greenlit! Obviously I was very happy also because this experience with greenlight have been very different from what normally you can expect getting on Greenlight. That's true because, despite the very good results and feedback we got, the whole experience was getting a bit frustrating...and I'll tell you why later.

    The stats

    Normally what happens when you get on greenlight you get a huge amount of visitors the first 2-3 days when your game is queued and shown by Steam to the users: then this number will drop and really you have to find your way to get as much yes-votes as you can. Due to this fact a Steam Greenlight campaign is getting a real marketing campaign rather than an evaluation from a community...this time things went quite in a different way:


    This is the graph of visitors, votes and yes votes during the time Aero's quest has been on Steam Greenlight:

    - As you can see the first spike (the one with the natural traffic from Steam) is probably the lowest spike overall and even the number of yes-votes was quite low: at launch we had a different icon, we also published the announcement trailer and over-all there wasn't a lot of description. Plus the link to the browser game wasn't really highlighted: so after the first slow approach we changed icon, we changed description, we linked on top the playable browser game and we put down the announcement trailer leaving the game-play trailer alone: things started to change.

    - The second spike: higher in traffic and way higher in yes-votes was due to the Groupee Greenlight Bundle where we had our own greenlight button on the build of the game to up-vote it: it worked!

    - The third huge spike is because of the guys of "Who's gaming now" who posted about us on their huge community giving us more than 1200 yes votes in just one day! Plus the ratio yes-no was going really in favor of the yes votes.

    - After that Newgrounds published our browser game with the link to our steam greenlight page which brought us again quite a lot of visitors.

    - After a little drop the day of Christmas the flow of visitors went high again (constantly high) thanks to the fact we started to push on our social networks (especially twitter), we sent out targeted PRs and few youtubers started to make let's play videos of the demo available in the bundle.

    - With the last support of few groups of Steam we manage after one month to reach 9546 yes votes, 426 followers and 54% yes-votes ratio. Not to mention almost 2500 positive comments on the page. Yet the way we received visitors is way different from the average.


    Before I mentioned that sometimes the process has been frustrating: don't misunderstand me, if they told me at subscription time that in a month Aero's Quest would have been greenlit I probably would have signed for it! Yet you have to consider that already before Christmas time we were stable in the top100 and we spent basically the last 2 weeks in the top10 peaking the top3...and meanwhile Valve was passing games way out of the top rank without giving us any kind of consideration...that was a bit frustrating especially because we had a very strong and constant flow of yes votes like the following graphs can show, not to mention the high ratio:


    What did we learn from this experience?

    - First of all I learned that if you want to make it in considerable short time Steam Greenlight is a real campaign that requires attention and, a lot, of marketing: the sole public from Steam is no-where near enough to reach outstanding results and, based on our stats, today less than ever.

    - Second we learned we need to be patient: even if your game scores incredible performances the final verdict is always up to Valve despite any rule, number or statistic. If you are performing well and the game deserves it chances are you'll get sooner or later greenlit but don't get mad if some other unexpected title gets greenlit way before you!

    - Third we understood that things are changing: people say greenlight won't last, people say is not a good system ... yet is the only way for indie to publish on Steam: unfortunately the community can help you a lot only if you  open to them because the natural traffic of Steam Greenlight is getting lower and lower.

    - Every change you have to bring traffic to your page: grab it! No visits = no votes

    Conclusions

    Now the title is greenlit ... so? Well now we know we must deliver our best title yet not to disappoint all the people that up-voted us. This has been a good experience for the future and the fact we are sure to publish on Steam is a great motivation to give our best for the goodness of our coming game!

    This article has been posted also on our Development Blog

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