So, we’re past Greenlight, so we can draw some conclusions, and maybe they’ll help those who are just planning to apply for it. Generally, most of it already exists on the internet in some form, but we’ve decided to sum up our own experience.
It’s been said a lot in other articles, but many people still don’t get it. It’s pointless to try to greenlight an unknown project without your own player audience. Greenlight itself does bring some traffic, even when your project disappears from the list of new games. In fact, it exceeded our expectations, but it still wasn’t enough to get into Steam. So first, create some topics everywhere you can (forums, gamedev communities) and make some pages in social networks. It makes sense to go to Greenlight when you’ve got at least one or two thousand subscribers (our group had 1500). It’ll give you a good start, and according to some developers, what matter in Greenlight isn’t the amount of votes you get but how quickly you get them. That means you have to attract as many players as you can in the first couple days of the campaign.
Of course, after you’ve started the campaign, you need to attract new players too. It’s a good thing if you have contacts with big streamers and reviewers. Even a simple mention of your project on a popular channel can give you a serious increase of players.
Here’s our page’s visits graph, you can see that most visits happened in the first few days. Then there was another noticeable hike when we were mentioned on StopGame.ru:
And here’s some information about traffic sources (Google Analytics is a very useful tool you can integrate with your game’s page and get reports on traffic and its sources). You can see that most of the traffic came from social networks (vk.com is a russian facebook analog), our group, and friendly reposts. But Steam itself gave us a good deal of the users, too:
So I’ll say it again: make sure you have good growth in the first few days, have a couple thousand of potential players in reserve (going off of the amount of subscribers to your social pages and the amount of downloads of your game), and you’ll probably get Greenlit pretty soon.
Or maybe not. Why not? Because…
Usually the first question everyone asks when trying to get into Greenlight and Steam is “how many votes do I need to pass?”
Well, nobody knows. Actually, the votes don’t matter, just like your position relative to other projects. Our project was approved when it had less than 1500 votes and was around the 70th place in the overall statistics. Whereas when someone I know applied practically at the same time as us, and his project was approved a week later, having over 4000 votes. And others say they were approved without even being in the top 100.
So the vote, apparently, serves as a simple filter that gets rid of patently weak projects that can’t even get a few hundred votes. And the ones deciding everything are still serious dudes from Valve who may pick projects they like from the top of the rating or from the very bottom.
Another thing to factor into the overall uncertainty is how you measure up to your competitors. Our project made into the top 100 once it got over 1000 votes. Meanwhile, one of our subscribers shared his story: his project only made it to the top after getting 4000 votes. I guess he had more serious competitors in Greenlight than we did.
That’s why it’s impossible to predict how long it’ll take to pass Greenlight.
We hope our experience will help you somehow. Good luck at Greenlight!