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Valve wants developers to stop bribing for Greenlight votes

2 min read


Valve’s Greenlight system is an interesting one, and it’s great in that it enables independent developers to find a platform; and a rather large one at that. It lets consumers take a look at in-development games that they’d otherwise never hear of, and vote for them to find a place on Steam’s digital store shelves. But there’s a problem. People have been essentially bribing users; asking for Greenlight votes in exchange for keys to the games once they’re available. Valve really wants people to stop doing that.

In a message sent to developers, Valve has asked really, really nicely for people to stop. It’s on a locked-to-developers, private group which you can find here. If you can’t access that, you can see the message here. Here it is in full:

This has been coming up more and more lately, and seems to warrant discussing our perspective on the practice of giving away copies of your game (either directly or as a drawing) in exchange for votes.

When you give away copies of your game in exchange for votes, you put us in a really uncomfortable position. We do not think these votes accurately reflect customer interest and it makes our job harder in deciding which games customers would actually buy and play on Steam.

Additionally, when you give away copies of your game for votes, then every other developer on Greenlight thinks that is now the thing they need to do in order to get noticed. We don’t think that is healthy for the system or really what customers want.

We understand that running contests or giving away copies of your game can be viewed as a form of marketing. But for the purposes of Greenlight. We don’t think that giving away copies of your game in exchange for votes accurately reflects genuine customer interest.

This is something we continue to take into account when evaluating titles to be greenlit. The result is that it may take significantly longer for your title to get Greenllt. As it is much more work for us to try and understand customer interest in a title that has collected some unknown number of votes in this manner.

I have to agree. The Greenlight system is both amazing and broken – and this is one way to go about fixing things, and getting games that really deserve the spotlight a chance to revel in it, instead of those made by developers who’re only too happy to throw keys around like confetti.

Last Updated: February 11, 2015

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