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Some very dismissive comments on here. For context, Grey Alien is responsible for one of this year's best GDC talks about how to survive in the indie world for 10 years without a hit. He's been doing this for a long time and so I think he's a really great resource for this type of discussion. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/286091/Video_How_to_survi...

Steam is a bit of a linchpin for indie game success for better or worse. The audience is there, understands the platform, and uses it extensively. But just as is the case with any marketplace, they do not serve the interests of indie developers first, they serve the interests of the marketplace owner first (in this case Valve). I think indie devs mostly understand this, but I think its totally reasonable to call out what the current situation is. Grey Alien points out considering other avenues of revenue, but how they mostly just don't show the same level of sales.

My take is that if we want both indie games to be a thing and have good indie games, then maybe Valve should pay attention to this sort of feedback and make sure the hard-working, full-time indie devs are getting enough attention to be sustainable. Otherwise you basically get the Youtube model of lowest common denominator drivel.




The problem is that Steam is getting so filled with games (often of poor quality) that there simply isn't enough 'visibility' to go around.

The platform cannot handle the volume of games being added.

The question is: what is the correct number of new games, and how can that number be reached most efficiently?

I'd propose that the platform can digest about 70 new games each week, which is the number of slots on the 'new and trending' page. Currently, there are 205 launching each week (and growing), so there would need to be a reduction to 34% of the current level.

Curation is just not going to work with that volume. The overhead is too high.

Its clear instead that the $100 Steam Direct fee is too low. If we want to encourage professional-quality games (even from one person), this fee does not represent that level of quality.

I really think Valve should increase the Steam Direct fee to $500 - test it out, and see if that makes a meaningful impact by decreasing the total number of launches but increasing average quality. The $500 could still be recouped to the creator at a certain sales level.

To me the greater shame is the professional game launched to few sales, leading to the permanent exit of that creator from the industry, and perhaps their financial ruination, rather than a higher fee meaning a few less school kids and hobbyists uploading their weekend project.

All of this is poison to discuss online though, because many of the people filling the comments section on Steamworks and Reddit are the people who would be filtered out if the Steam Direct fee was increased.

Otherwise if the status quo continues, legitimate developers will face far higher advertising and PR costs (and time). If I could pay $500 or $5000 to launch on a much less cluttered and supportive Steam store, I would gladly pay that. This is the advantage that the consoles still have, and the success rates there are much higher because of the higher upfront costs and efforts keeping out low-effort content.


Issue here is, that some of the best games I own one man, low budget hobbyist projects. Having money does not equal having talent, time and motivation to actually polish a game.


Could you list out those games please?


Not the OP.

Some very amazing games that are largely one man projects

On steam:

Kenshi: amazing game and about to hit 1.0

http://www.siliconera.com/2015/08/30/kenshis-eight-year-deve...

Off steam:

Dwarf Fortress

Those are just two that immediately come to mind


All of these games would still have been made with a $500 Steam Direct fee. In fact they would receive more attention and visibility because of it.


Rather than being a case of the developers' interest not being aligned with Valve, it is possible that they're not aligned with the users. You point out users use Steam extensively, could that be attributed partially to the users liking the recommendation algorithm? If the algorithm was changed to favour hardworking indie devs at say, the expense of AAA studios, would Steam users still use it as much?


As a long-time Steam user, all I can say is an anecdotal response that the algorithmic recommendations on Steam are not why users stay there. They stay because they have huge libraries of games already built, so there's a bit of a lock-in effect going on.

I wouldn't dismiss that developers are still responsible for gathering user data, observing trends and marketing their product, all that is still there. This post is merely highlighting how changes to the platform can have some huge cascading effects downstream, and that sucks for those trying to build followings and businesses.


this. If the Xbox app on Windows 10 worked like I was under the impression of based on the announcement (that it'd function like a launcher for your games regardless of storefront purchased from), that'd probably push me away from Steam. Until there is a unified launcher (bonus if it can handle downloads/installs from the various storefronts provided the game/app is purchased) that I don't have to configure heavily to get working, Steam it is for me.


Yup, I actually kind of hate steam and yet the library grows... It's basically an accretion disc at this point.


The recommendation algo would be better if it would stop recommending hentai games. It took a while to find the button to disable that




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