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Let's assume that I can pick a fairly decent game, build it, and finish it with sufficient chrome plating; let's also assume that I can market it myself to some extent, through my own website.

What exactly are the advantages of going through Steam Greenlight? Assuming I can actually get through the process and reach sufficient critical mass to be "Greenlight." Do you know what usually becomes of finished, polished, chrome-plated games that get "greenlit?" Statistically, does greenlighting correlate with commercial success or higher sales?

By the way, I'm assuming my marketing sucks, and that Steam, in general, gets some eyeballs and sales for you.

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I think this question is not constructive. Assuming all those things you already have a lot more marketing and likely sales if you succeeded. It's impossible to answer "How well will my game sell if...?" questions. – Byte56 Dec 19 '12 at 15:16
@Byte56 Then rephrase his question this way: "Do you guys know what usually becomes of finished, polished, chrome-plated games that get greenlit? Statistically, does greenlighting guarantee commercial success?" – jrsala Dec 19 '12 at 16:31
@madshogo This question is asked in an entirely hypothetical situation (asking for a discussion). The question you're proposing is closer to a real question, but that's not the question being asked. – Byte56 Dec 19 '12 at 16:49
You seem to be suggesting that being on Greenlight is there as some sort of promotional tool, when in fact most games are on there because it's the least unpredictable way of getting your game onto Steam. The primary advantage of being on Steam Greenlight is that you might get to sell your game on Steam. But that doesn't appear to be the answer you want. – Kylotan Dec 19 '12 at 18:13
@Byte56 The very aim of stackexchange is to help people learn by answering their questions. Helping someone better figure out their problem is teaching too. Reformulating someone's question so they figure out what it is they wanted in the first place is teaching too. Rules are flexible! – jrsala Dec 19 '12 at 18:26

One advantage, even if you don't get your game Greenlit, is exposure. Greenlight actually drives traffic to your website, since the large volume of Steam users do stumble across your Greenlight page and may visit your website from there.

So even if you aren't Greenlit, it's still a useful marketing tool to drive traffic to your website and gain exposure.

Source: I have a game on Steam Greenlight

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+1 because where a lot of good games fail is letting your target audience know the game exists. Anything to help market your game is great. – SpartanDonut Dec 19 '12 at 15:05
+1 for a great game – Jonathan O Dec 19 '12 at 17:09

Your question could be renamed to "Will having millions of people seeing my game improve my sales?"

People will only buy your game if they know of it. When your game is greenlit, it will be published and more importantly "announced" on Steam. Which means most people who use Steam (50 million according to Wikipedia) will get notified that your game is available.

That's a insane amount of people and will result in a lot sales, probably enough to form a critical mass (that's it, that enough people talk about your game that your game will make constantly sales without being announced on other platforms).

Note however, that you already need publicity to get the game greenlit at all. That's not easy at all. Greenlight is not made to live solely on it's own but rather that you have to bring the people to vote for your game, it's not possible to reach the greenlight amount of votes without having a big community already.

On the other side, being on Greenlight is already a form of publicity, which will bring more people to your game than most other platforms will.

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I think your assumption that "every steam user, ever, will see your game for sure," is not valid; that's what I'm asking -- will I really get something for greenlighting up? Or will it be "yeah, a few people on Steam will check it, and everybody else will walk away?" – ashes999 Dec 19 '12 at 17:59
Every game that is published on Steam gets announced. Mind you, it's really hard to green lit, but if your are that is like jackpot. From the thousand games on Greenlight 32 made it so far, and 12 were published.. Chances that you are published on Steam might actually be higher the traditional way (e.g. contacting Valve directly). Given your game really is that polished and fun. – API-Beast Dec 19 '12 at 18:12
Exactly. This question is asking "If my game is successful enough to get green lit, will it continue to be successful?" – Byte56 Dec 19 '12 at 18:47
+1, your answer is useful to me. Thanks. – ashes999 Dec 19 '12 at 21:22

Since you're already assuming you have a good game, and it's popular enough to make it through the Greenlight process, you don't have much to worry about. Once you have enough critical mass to get Greenlight, people will have voted to get your game there, it's highly likely that at least some portion of them will also buy the game once it's on Steam. Additionally, once it's available on Steam, you have a much larger market that will now see and have the ability to easily purchase your game.

So, yes, you can expect more marketing and thus sales. If you have Steam selling your game, you'll have more sales and marketing. Certainly a lot more than if you never had your game on Steam. I can't imagine a situation where you'd have fewer people knowing about your game or fewer sales as a result of getting Greenlight. You can find some statistics for Greenlight games here. And an article here.

Steam is typically very tight with marketing numbers. Even within the Greenlight program you don't have exact numbers for how many people need to vote in order to make your game Greenlight. It's highly unlikely you'll be able to find statistics that show before/after for Greenlight games. Steam doesn't like people sharing their revenue information about games sold on Steam either, so it's even more unlikely. There are some hints here and there. All in all, things point to the obvious, getting your game on Steam is better than not being on Steam.

With the assumptions you make, you are nearly guaranteed some form of success.

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I'm surprised you have such harsh criticism of my question, and still attempt to answer it. That doesn't seem right; if you believe the question sucks, DV and walk away, don't DV and attempt to answer it. However, thanks for the links (particularly the second one). – ashes999 Dec 19 '12 at 17:58
@ashes999 I didn't down vote yet. And the criticism is not "harsh". It's an honest opinion of the question. I will occasionally attempt to answer questions I see as bad in an attempt to steer other answers. – Byte56 Dec 19 '12 at 18:04

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