As the number of games released through Steam has continued to soar, some have suggested that Valve should act as a curator to cut down on that number. Garry Newman, the developer of Garry’s Mod and Rust, thinks that notion is “insane”–and he believes the huge influx of games is actually a “good thing.”
“The issue of discoverability is awesome to have. The focus should be on the users, not the developers. Users getting the choice of thousands of games is a good thing,” he said in an interview with MCV. “The attitude that Valve should only allow X games a month on Steam is insane. Why would you limit it? Have you released a game and it isn’t selling? Make it better. Do some marketing.”
Looking at the New Releases section on the Steam front page reveals that there have been more than 70 releases in the last 10 days alone. That number includes a demo, a few non-games (software like the CryEngine), and re-releases of older games (like RollerCoaster Tycoon), but even with downloadable content filtered out, that list is no longer a reliable way of discovering new games. It presents a problem similar to the one iOS and Android app stores have been dealing with, where the flood of releases makes it almost impossible for users to find a new game that hasn’t been featured in some way. While the Steam front page does highlight a select number of games, there are only a limited number of slots and they are often taken up by bigger releases.
“If your game is good and people want to play it–people will play it.” — Rust developer Garry Newman
The flood of content on Steam has not been imagined; Steam Greenlight has contributed to there being more games released already in 2014 than there were during all of 2013. This trend is not likely to reverse itself anytime soon, as Valve has indicated it plans to eventually ditch Greenlight in favor of making Steam into a self-publishing platform of sorts.
That would make Steam itself even less useful as a way to promote a game release, but Newman doesn’t see that as a problem. “Steam is a digital distribution platform; they put your game on their store and allow people to buy it,” he said. “Any extra exposure you get by being featured should be seen as an extra-unexpected bonus. It shouldn’t be relied on to sell your game.
“I don’t think the Steam front page should be seen as a storefront. If your game is good and people want to play it–people will play it. Work at making your game as accessible as possible.”
Valve’s plans for allowing even more games to be released through Steam might make discoverability even more difficult, but the company has attempted to improve things. For example, it’s added recommendations (based on things like what you and your friends have player or reviewed), a Recently Updated section, and the ability to tag games, although none of these is a perfect solution.
Do you think there are too many games released through Steam? Would you prefer that Valve curate games at the possible expense of quality games not being released through the platform? Let us know in the comments below.
|Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX|
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