Valve have been pretty open about the idea of reducing manual curation, eventually killing off Greenlight and opening up access to their distribution platform. Recent comments only confirm it – Gabe says self-publishing on Steam is something they want to allow. There’s always lots of gnashing of teeth when it comes to ‘app stores’, discoverability and quality. Indies want their product to be been seen, purchased and played, customers want to find the stuff they like without wading through the stuff they don’t. Quality varies widely, but it’s not as simple as crap games and good games, since one man’s “Walking Simulator” is another man’s life changing experience. No single service has convincingly cracked the problem of exploiting the “long tail” of video games, efficiently finding the niche for each particular game and accurately getting the right games to the right customers (where in the extreme, some products probably have ‘no right customers’). Here’s one idea of how I see Steam self-publishing working such that Valve can exploit the long tail without losing the trust of their existing customer base: let’s call it Amber-light (“the ghetto”), followed by being Greenlit.
A response to “Cargo Cult Nostalgia” by Peter Silk (maker of the amusing nautical exploration game “The Wager”). You should read that article first (edit: and be sure to read Peter’s comments below), else this probably won’t make any sense.
I essentially agree that the Cargo Cultists might be sometimes fooled by the feeling of nostalgia and focus on the ‘trappings’ as a proxy for the real attributes that they enjoy in a game. But I also think it’s unfair to dismiss all their requests as driven by purely ‘nostalgia endorphins’. Some of these requests no doubt come from their dissatisfaction with design decisions taken for many modern point-and-click adventures that aim to broaden their target market and as a result fail to satisfy a certain type of player.
These are my notes for “Game Design Concepts” Level 8 assignment – we were tasked with outlining the concept for a game that appeals to the player type “Griefer” or “Killer”. I never quite completed the assignment by posting this to the forums, since the text was (& is) all a bit of a ramble while I organised my thoughts. Despite that, I think there are some useful insights here – and I might clean it up later into some kind of essay. It is written in the context of Richard Bartles article on player types in MUDs, but is generally applicable to pretty much any sufficiently open and complex multiplayer game whether played online, offline or on-tabletop. Read on below the fold .. if you dare …