Games Industry Misbehaving: Is Steam Sick? Does it Have a Virus?

What is wrong with the Steam Store? And how the recent update may help fixed it.

With the recent update Steam has received, I want to talk about what the deal with the Steam Store is, and why the personalization update is so important.

Greenlight

Steam Greenlight is a service which allows users to vote on games submitted to the system. After an unspecified number of votes, which needs to be specified, Steam (there by Valve) will allow that game to be published on Steam. This opens the flood gates for all sorts of monstrosities to be released onto Steam... just look at Air Control. CAUTION: Side effects include minor to major bleeding of the eyes.

Steam Greenlight at heart is great, but in practice can fail.

However, Greenlight is a great system that allows games, which may not get the mainstream audiences attention, to get exposure. Just because a game is unheard of doesn't mean it's bad - a lack of publicity can simply be due to not having a large publisher backing, so no marketing support.

Greenlight allows gamers, using a mainstream platform (Steam), to vote for games which they find interesting. I think the system also gives developers more incentive to create experiences that players want, and gives them a chance to see if their idea is wroth sticking with.

Where Greenlight fails is with the developers (or publishers) themselves, it basically allows them to lie. 

Greenlight allows developers to pitch an idea which sounds great: get votes and then release the game on the Steam Store. But, this practice is wholesale and with no promise that the game will be any good or even work at all.

Success in this process then gives developers the ability to publish games easier on the store from then on, as they are have become an established publisher on the Steam system... Then you get into the situation we currently have: too many Greenlit games, and most are of terrible quality. Air Control I am looking at you.

What Even are those on the Floor? Yes, this is Air Control.

Is Greenlight the Only Failing?

Not by a long way, the other side who fails here is Valve themselves, with a lack of quality control. This is where I liken it to a virus, where the virus says that everything is ok with these games, and so Steam’s cells (the automatic publishing system) allow the game to be posted. The games then can infect more wallets with false promises.

All Hope is Not Lost

As I said at the beginning, Steam has received a recent update. This update does two things:

  1. Adds a personalised Steam Store front page.

The New Layout Makes Steam Blue (which looks good) and adds suggestions based on gameplay and purchases, among many other things.

  1. Adds the group Curator system.

The Curation system allows you to follow curators’ you trust, these are built into the Steam Group system (it’s a new tab).

With these changes, I think that there will be less clutter on the front page, and it will allow gamers to really delve into the games they want to play. It will show the games which are functional and the games which are good, amazing, and must buys.

The curation system is the biggest change, and I think the best way to see the games which are worth buying - as long as you trust the curator. So, pick a trust-worthy group. It also allows the curator to give a brief explanation (and be able to link to a full review) as to why you might like this or that game, and why it’s worth the purchase.

A Step in the Right Direction

These new systems Valve has put into place, will help separate the good from the bad. Or the experiences you need to play, even if a little buggy. But you will go into them knowing a bit more about what to expect.

Check out GameSkinny's Steam Group page, and the games they suggest. Or my own (GS has a better one).

What do you think about the new redesign? Does the curation system excite you? Does Valve need to put a QC system onto Steam? Let me know in the comments bellow.

Featured Correspondent

-- Games are a passion as well as a hobby. Other writing of mine found on at www.scrncheat.com

Published Nov. 20th 2014
  • Si_W
    Greenlight is not a failure. It should work that way.

    Think of how many bad films, books, music tracks, etc come out every single day.

    Not every game can be a masterpiece and quite frankly an awful lot of games that didn't go through the Greenlight process aren't masterpieces either.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Featured Correspondent
    Valve have said that the belive Greenlight isn't the success they wanted it to be, and they will be stopping it at some point.
    But I agree Greenlight isn't the only thing which is wrong. The other point is that the cost (time and monetary) of games is much more than films, books or music. It's easier to download to see if it is any good, as they are much smaller. Also as gaming is a growing market, it cannot afford to keep bringing out rubbish. It needs constant ok and better games, ok gameplay with good ideas, which can be improved later is fine. But utterly broken games are not fine.
    And then there is the lack of quality control from Valve. They really needs to be addressed, which is where the Steam curation system comes in.

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