Getting your game through Steam’s Greenlight system is a difficult task. It is something that you need to build a community around and you need to invest your time into marketing to make it work. Relying solely on your Greenlight page to just get votes by itself isn’t going to work because you need an outside presence to funnel people to your Greenlight page. You need a Press Kit/Website/Social Media presence to even attempt to get the votes needed for your game to succeed. You’ll want to get exposure in the press to help you along as well. What I am ultimately getting at here is that you will spend a lot of time and resources building up your game on the outside to try and get through Greenlight. It’s incredibly tough out there and it’s only getting tougher, and you should always have a backup plan ready to go in the event that your game fails to get through. It is totally not the end of the world but it is most certainly a setback. Failure is a time to step back, take in the info you have learned, and then turn around and implement those changes and re-launch.
Look at your game’s voting stats and what the community around has to say about the presentation of your game. Post your game to community sites like Reddit, IndieDB and Steam groups to get some input on your presentation. Your failure could be attributed to how long your trailer is or how your screenshots don’t really illustrate the vision of the game. Do not take negative feedback as a bad thing, take it as a way to improve. Negative feedback is the greatest asset you have because you are directly hearing from potential consumers what they do not like or what they would like to see instead.
Rebuild your assets
Now that you have your feedback you can look back on your assets and restructure your approach. Rebuild your website if necessary and build a press kit for the game. Always try and get a solid trailer out there, but make sure it’s clear and to the point. You do not need a 2+ minute trailer to try and sell your game. Your trailer should be no longer than 90 seconds; get to the gameplay as soon as possible! If no actual gameplay is shown within the first 30 seconds, the majority of people will stop watching and move on. You want to capture people’s attention as fast as you can. You only need one trailer as well since most people will only have the attention span to watch one video. The rest of your assets should be polished. Take high resolution screenshots that show off the flashier aspects of your game and use animated GIFs where possible.
Look at launching your campaign on different sites
Greenlight is only one way to get your game out there. There are tons more sites that can get you more exposure at the same time as your Greenlight campaign. Look into setting up a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign and even do some research on how to obtain outside investment from private entities. You want your game plastered in as many places as you can get it for maximum exposure. Get your name out all over the place. Send your newly created press kit to game review sites as well as send out codes for early access builds to popular YouTubers to stream. You need exposure to succeed and the press is certainly one of the best ways to achieve that. Even posting the game to sites like IndieDB and itch.io can help get more eyeballs on the project.
A failed Greenlight campaign is always discouraging, but don’t let that stop you from creating your game. Use your failures as a learning period so that you can go back and rebuild a stronger game. Listen to the community and use the incredible amount of resources out there to come back stronger than ever. So many games fail to get Greenlit the first time through and end up coming back at a later time to go on to become best sellers. If you play your cards right and do your research, you are already on the right path to completing your journey as a game developer.
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