Valve, the company behind the likes of Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress 2 and Steam, has asked developers to cut out the growing trend of handing out free Steam Greenlight game keys in an attempt to encourage votes. Increasing numbers of developers have started using this tactic and it has gotten to the point where Valve have decided to speak out on the issue which they claim interferes with their process for picking the most popular Greenlight games.
“When you give away copies of your game in exchange for votes, you put us in a really uncomfortable position”, Alden Kroll of Valve said in a statement to developers. “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.”
The tactic makes sense though, and it’s understandable why some developers would do this. By giving away free copies they are losing money in exchange for more attention because their game will (hopefully) become listed on Steam if it gets enough votes and will, as a result, sell more copies. And the rise of Early Access, Steam, and Valve allowing more games on Steam than ever before – as well as the rise of constant sales – has led many smaller developers finding it increasingly hard to get their name noticed. In fact, we’ve spoken to a number of developers who are becoming increasingly concerned about the tactics being adopted by Valve and the resulting pressure on developers simply trying to earn a living.
To combat this growing trend of developers giving away free copies of their games, Valve has come out and said that those who decide to adopt this tactic will actually find that it will now take longer to get Greenlight approved.
“This is something we continue to take into account when evaluating titles. The result is that it may take significantly longer for your title to get Greenlit, 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.”