How to publish an indie game on Steam: simple tips - Part 1

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How to publish an indie game on Steam: simple tips - Part 1

After some deliberation, I decided to share the information about the release of our game on Steam.
Our studio was actively engaged in the development and promotion of our games. Our projects have successfully passed Steam Greenlight, so I can tell you what I know and what I went through, what difficulties I encountered and so on. I hope this article will help you.

What is Steam, and whether to go there?

Steam is one of the world’s largest online retailers, which sells games through a special client application, acting as a social network for gamers. The principle is simple – the developer uploads his game there, inputs the price and sells the game. Steam pays out the money minus the Steam commission and taxes.
In addition to a wide range of games and discounts, Steam offers a service for automatic updates, the possibility of return/refund, and a whole lot more, but this article is not about that now.
Steam was originally not for indie developers. Before the introduction of Steam Greenlight, getting into Steam was a huge problem, so having a game on Steam meant a kind of quality in itself. In those days, these were mostly large commercial games. The introduction of Steam Greenlight was, firstly, the desire of Valve to expand the Steam audience, and secondly, the desire to reduce the burden of selection bias, even now the community decides for itself what it wants to play.

The first question: is my game suitable for publishing in this store? Should I opt for Steam?

For the most part, the Steam audience is thoughtful hardcore players who do not like casual games and free2play. It is also not a good idea to submit a game that was designed for mobile platforms. Although there are exceptions. Such games sometimes get into the store, but much less often than innovative indie projects, sometimes not even with the most attractive graphics, but with an exciting idea.

What is a Steam Greenlight?

After you have decided that your game should be listed on Steam, you have to pass Steam Greenlight.
This is something like the approval stage of the game so that Steam owners decide how the game will be sold and whether it is worth accepting it to the store.
The word “Greenlight” came for a reason. This is a well-established term. Although the wiki describes it more in the context of cinema, large gaming studios also sometimes work by this mechanism. Several people create the concept of the game, and then offer it for evaluation. Moreover, if the idea gets the “green light”, then a team is allocated to create a prototype. If the prototype will perform well, it will get another Greenlight and will be fully developed.

The developer publishes his page with the game and players vote – they decide whether they would buy this game, whether it should be in the store or not. Moreover, based on these statistics, Valve will notice the game sooner or later and confirm it.
When the system first opened, it was possible to post the game on Steam Greenlight for free. However, some publishers began to submit outright trash and comically bad projects. Therefore, it was decided that developers should make a down payment (for charity, by the way). The contribution amount is 100 dollars!

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