Getting on to Steam turned out to be much harder than we thought.
We assumed that, having successfully launched Derrick the Deathfin on PlayStation 3, a quiet word with a secret contact at Valve would see us onto Steam through the backdoor, no questions asked. Launching a PS3 game with a team containing just me & Ronzo was surely the biggest albatross for Derrick to jump over, no? After that Steam would be very receptive to Derrick, no? Erm, no.
First step in our masterplan was to tap up one of our indie game pals for a secret contact at Valve, which we managed to do under the cover of darkness and a dense mist of beer. The next day we emailed said top secret Valve contact with a bit of info about the game, a couple of shit gags and a photo of Derrick on a kettle. If that doesn’t do it, we thought, nothing will.
Despite the brilliance and unashamed balls-out originality of our innovative and ingenious plan, it didn’t work. We were told by the top secret contact to put Derrick on Greenlight. And so it was to be. For 433 days.
In truth we were slightly apprehensive about putting the game on Greenlight – for a number of reasons:
1. We were wary of bombarding friends and followers with yet more marketing harassment to ask for votes.
2. A successful Greenlight campaign is just that, a campaign. We felt like we had already been fighting a war for 2 years to get Derrick on to console, and to be honest didn’t really fancy another bloody battle.
3. We have a checkered history when it comes to popularity contests.
Nevertheless we were sure we would get out of Greenlight pretty quickly, couple of months tops. Another grand misconception!
So in the end it took just over a year for Derrick to pass the Greenlight process. It turns out the secret was just to wait patiently, and not freak out too much or become overly depressive when you see tons of other games getting Greenlit every couple of months and not yours. Being in an Indie Royale bundle and – particularly – being on Indiegamestand helped to boost our up votes too.
So now, finally, the Greenlight dimension has been transcended and Derrick the Deathfin has reached a new astral plane on Steam. The process of preparing the game for the service, as well as integrating achievements – and all new leaderboards! – has been remarkably easy.
Steam itself is great, getting on to it not so much.
As I’m sure you are aware Valve has openly suggested a number of times that it is looking to scrap Greenlight altogether. We say: good! bye!
What’s that you say? What would we do if we were employed as Chief Executive Director of Distribution Determination at Valve? Well, we would open up the store completely and allow everyone on. Copy the Apple App Store, basically, but without some of their crazy assed pseudo political rules.
Why are we suggesting that Steam should open up to everyone even though it patently works against our best interests now that Derrick has successfully scaled the walls of the castle? Because we are idiots, worse still optimistic ones.
Derrick will be picked up by millions of gamers on Steam in any case.