Is Steam Greenlight Turning Into The Youtuber Bait Junkyard?

Is Steam Greenlight Turning Into The Youtuber Bait Junkyard?


On restless nights I often find myself browsing various stores, a little bit of late night retail therapy, until recently that is. Steam Greenlight has became my midnight retreat, the little curious corner of video games where indie developers set up their stalls, hoping to be the next big thing. The concept of Greenlight is for the cream to rise to the top, with the best titles getting all the attention, but this is not the case.

I, like many others, go to Greenlight to seek out the worst the service has to offer. From the god awful, to the ‘wtf?, Greenlight is always entertaining…but does this form of entertainment detract from it’s purpose? It’s a question I recently mulled over after showing a few friend a rather odd trailer. The game in question featured an old Russian man speaking to the camera spliced between gameplay footage. The oddities came in the form of what the gameplay consisted of, the floating head of the before mentioned old man jumping over pit falls.

The music was bizarre, the editing jarring and sporadic. Each hilarious frame was met with raised eye brows and chuckles. My curiosity around the game grew deeper, mostly wondering how others reacted to it’s appearance on Greenlight. Sarcastic comments populated the page, with a number of users declaring it the best game on Greenlight. Other posters laid down their honest, and often brutal, opinions. The general reaction mirrored mine and my friends, hilarity.

Obviously the game was something most would consider ‘bad’, but it resulted in my interest in Greenlight being increased tenfold. My night-time visits evolved into regular sessions of looking through pretty much every game submitted on that given day. Sure I came across plenty of awful games, but when the odd promising tittle popped up it gave the browsing session a sense of worth. There’s plenty of talent floating around Greenlight, it’s just a matter of sorting through the shit.

Unfortunately Greenlight has became a breeding ground for some rather shady practices. A growing number of games are made up of Unity assets, resulting in clone upon clone filling up page after page. It begs the question of who, or even what, is supplying quality control across the Greenlight service. Badly made games are at least made by the creator, asset flips are nothing but a copy and paste hack job which cheapens the entire purpose of Steam’s apparent indie platform.

Youtube has unexpectedly emerged as one reason the Greenlight service has became tainted. A number of Youtubers have taken to reacting to Greenlight trailers, mostly trailers of asset flip games and god awful games. This coverage leads to users checking the game’s page out themselves, with some of them ironically voting the game up. In comes the blatant ‘Youtube bait’, splashing all over the service in a attempt to lure in Youtuber to give them game coverage, increasing the chances of making it to Steam’s store.

Greenlight, at least in it’s current state, is a mess. There’s success stories to be sure, but the sheer amount of clones, asset flips and Youtuber bait is certainly taking the shine from the service. Good games, and their talented creators, are becoming buried under a landfall of shit. Valve don’t seem to care too much about the state of Greenlight, this is where you come in. As consumers, as fans of video games, it’s up to us to separate the unworthy submissions from those brimming with potential.

The social media age allows us to talk and share our experiences and finds across the web. Sharing interesting titles we’ve found on Greenlight is a much more beneficial act than simply mocking bad submissions. The core idea of the service still remains, and it can still succeed.




Sean Halliday

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