How to stay out of the dreaded Steam greenlight pit of obscurity

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Like many games on Steam Greenlight, after posting our game we had a large spike in traffic. This was almost exclusively because of Steam was showing the game in the recently added area.

After the first few days, our traffic had stalled. Having done a bit of research, we knew this would happen as many other developers had shared their experience.

Ouch

Ouch

To try and combat this, I’d like to share some tips that may help others. And to get some feedback for anything we may have missed.

First, it must be said that greenlight itself isn’t a source of getting your name out. Steam doesn’t actively promote your game. After the first few days, you have to work very hard to get any traction. There are the obvious sources like reddit, twitter and youtube. The next great source of attention are the indie games sites, providing you can get them to cover you.

Our typical approach was to directly email the editors and authors. However, this can be really depressing since most sites simply receive too many messages to get us noticed. Our reply rate has been less than one in 20 messages sent.

Tips that seem to help:

  • Great subject lines

– Simply having “New indie game” will almost always be deleted straight away. Try to use a unique subject line. Bonus points for adding download links for demo/preview. “A new hack-n-slash without grinding (download link included)”

  •  Try not to cut and paste

– This one is hard because the volume of messages, but if you can take a few minutes to check if the editor/author has a name instead of just Dear editor, then it might give you an edge. Often this name is hard to find, but check places like “about us” to see if the editor’s name is listed. Also including a brief line or two that shows you at least looked over their recent articles seems to help.

  • Press kits and media links

– Always include screenshots/trailers and press links in the email. They are already gloss over tons of messages, if you give them what they need up front there is more chance they will cover you.

 

What other tips do you have to help indies promote their games on greenlight?  Leave us a comment below.

And if you’re feeling generous, vote for us on greenlight.

 

About

I'm a long term gamer who has been playing games since the TRS-80 days. After a few decades of working in Information Technology field, I decided to pursue my passion for games and started making them. Being a solo indie developer can be difficult at times. However, I enjoy wearing many different hats and the challenge.

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