Over the last month and a half, as we prepared for our launch on Steam Greenlight we only had one certainty: this marketing thing we were desperately trying to learn as fast as possible was really hard, and we figured we’d be doing it for many months to come!
The Steam Greenlight process is a daunting challenge and it took us out of our comfort zone. It’s a good process: having thousands of people choosing which games are worthy to be on Steam is a far more inclusive and fair process than having just a few people in an office decide that. This said, well… we were not exactly eager to go through the process: developers like to spend their time developing games. 🙂
We had heard almost mythical rumors of games being Greenlit in one day but, as we researched that, we couldn’t find a magic formula that would help us do it. The games that got lots of traction had press in advance, or were giving away their game for free, or offered a free key to anyone that voted for them, or at least had a public demo. We had none of that.
So, this brings us to May 19, a Monday morning. Our website/twitter/facebook/youtube pages were ready and we were staring at the “submit” button on the Greenlight page. We re-read all the content ten times and assumed (hoped!) we would be able to change it later if we found some horrible mistake but, you never know – it’s not like we had done this before – so just in case we re-read everything a couple more times. When we finally clicked the submit button we expected Murphy’s law to take action and give us a 404 html page but no, it all went well (as programmers, we always expect bugs)!
Then comes the waiting, refreshing the page every minute… probably it’ll be a few hours before the first comments appear. Instead, after just a few minutes we can see there is a comment. I scroll down to read it, anticipation building up, and… well, it’s not positive… it’s not insulting or anything but it’s not good either.
The game has been in development for a year and a half, and so far only our friends and family have been able to play it… could it be that people who don’t know us won’t like it? If that’s the case, at least we will know soon. Half an hour and another comment shows up: it’s a really nice and positive one. Then more and more come quickly. Comments and votes start cascading on the page, all good! Nine days later, in the first batch since we launched, we got the message that we had been Greenlit. Wow.
At the time we’re writing this, we’ve received 370 comments, almost all of them positive, many constructive. It’s not only great to see there are people out there that share the love for this game idea, it’s also incredibly useful to hear from them what they like and what else they would like to see. Now we can focus on finishing the game with the additional insight into what our future players want.
We started our campaign not knowing what the magical formula for passing Greenlight would be. We passed Greenlight and well, we still don’t know how we did it – the formula eludes us and we cannot pass it to the next developers. We didn’t get press until after we were Greenlit (although one article came out simultaneously with the Greenlight announcement so the emails to the press seem to have been starting to work). We had a bunch of friends and family supporting us but we don’t know how much of that translated into Steam votes. For us, it seems that we succeeded the way Greenlight was designed. It was all about the very active community of gamers on Steam, who like to have a say on what should be on Steam, and are great at participating.
Thanks everybody for your incredible support!