Indie vents frustration at Steam submission process

Indie vents frustration at Steam submission process
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

April 22nd 2013 at 11:20AM

Renegade Kid dev Jools Watsham questions Steam Greenlight voting and lack of feedback from Valve

The developer behind platformer Mutant Mudds has expressed his shock and frustration at Valve’s Steam game submission process.

Writing in a blog post, Renegade Kid dev Jools Watsham said that after submitting his game to Valve it took ten days to receive a reply stating that Mutant Mudds was “not a good fit for distribution”.

The statement from Valve also noted that it was the company’s policy “not to provide specific feedback on a submission”.

“I was shocked,” said Watsham.

“Like most developers, I never truly know whether one of my games is good or not, but due to the high review scores and fan reaction we received for Mutant Mudds on the 3DS I assumed the game was at least above average and at least on-par with the quality and genre of games currently found on Steam. Steam’s rejection of Mutant Mudds made no sense to me. And, to boot, their policy is not to provide feedback. That’s helpful.”

Watsham compared the process to submitting titles such as Mutant Mudds to Nintendo, in which the console giant tested the game, checked whether it contained any content not in line with its guidelines and then sent a report on why the game failed, at which point the developer could make changes and resubmit.

He went on to vent his frustrations at community voting scheme Steam Greenlight, designed to help streamline the game submission process and put more titles on Steam that users want.

Watsham said however that this makes submissions simply a popularity contest, with first-person shooters, zombie games and titles supported by an existing community often getting greenlit, while other titles struggled. He also questioned whether developers would now need to launch a dedicated PR campaign just to get their game passed the Steam Greenlight process.

“How can a game that has been accepted with open arms on one platform be shut out on another? It is truly a fascinating case study,” he said.

“The 3DS audience is more-than-likely very different than the Steam audience, which is one factor for sure. I suppose Steam’s original rejection of Mutant Mudds is somewhat justified now that the community itself has also not accepted the game. Perhaps this means that a game like Mutant Mudds is not suitable for Steam.

"But, hang on... there are games like VVVVV, Offspring Fling!, Capsized, Beep, Braid, Serious Sam Double D, Super Meat Boy, and even Commander Keen available on Steam right now.”