Addition of publisher presence hampering Greenlight approval
According to indie developer Code Avarice, its game Paranautical Activity was rejected by Valve for publication on Steam.
Having put the game up on Steam’s Greenlight page, the two-man Code Avarice team was approached by Adult Swim which offered to get Paranautical Activity published on Valve’s digital distribution platform. When approached by Adult Swim to publish the game, however, Valve refused to do so and according to Code Avarice’s Mike Maulbeck in a Behind the Scenes video, Valve “didn’t want to send the message that indies can seek out publishers to bypass Steam Greenlight.”
While a developer can bypass the Greenlight process by having a publisher from the start, in the case of Code Avarice they had created a Greenlight page first and were afterwards approached by a publisher. Because of this situation, Valve refused to publish the game, causing the developer’s plans to halt according to Maulbeck. He said, “Now we’re just dead in the water. We’ve got a Greenlight campaign that we haven’t touched in months, and we have to resurrect it from the ashes because that’s our only option at this point.”
Pointing out the irony of the situation Maulbeck continued, “The only reason we didn’t, 24 hours ago, get the go ahead to be on Steam is that we are on Greenlight. It’s like the service that is supposed to get us onto Steam is the only thing that is stopping us from getting onto Steam.”
Responding to Gamasutra’s inquiries into the matter Valve vice president of marketing Doug Lombardi replied, “We review Greenlight votes, reviews, and a variety of factors in the Greenlight process. However our message to indies regarding publishers is do it for your own reasons, but do not split your royalties with a publisher expecting an automatic ‘Yes’ on Greenlight.”
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