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Souzooka Oct 21, 2013 @ 3:19pm
Is incentivizing votes for Greenlight games a bad business practice and/or bad for Greenlight?
Hello, I'm sure the topic has come up before, but is it bad business practice to incentivize people to vote for a greenlight project in order to get something other than the actual game on Steam?

The only two projects I know that have done this are A Hat In Time and Garry's Incident: Day One.

A Hat In Time was a one-man project (as far as I know) made by "Mecha the Slag," who owns a Team Fortress 2 which he writes custom gamemodes for. A greenlight for his game would earn you a custom hat on his server, which was a trivial incentive for most (I don't believe this was on the actual greenlight page, just a notice in the actual server, but I may be wrong). I don't know how the game plays, it looks rather simplistic, but the general small buzz around it seems to be more positive than negative.

In contrast, Garry's Incident: Day One offered out 50 steam keys to those who greenlit the game (at least, according to some pictures), which would possibly grant people a free $20 game simply if they clicked on the vote button. Obviously the game was greenlit and released. Whether or not this incentive was the direct cause of the game being greenlit is hard to pin down, but it's safe to say that it probably brought in some votes that would have not been otherwise convinced solely by the presentation of the game.

As such I think it begs the question: should we be allowing companies to incentivize people to vote for their games?
Last edited by Souzooka; Oct 21, 2013 @ 3:19pm
Showing 1-15 of 31 comments
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TramanTraks Oct 21, 2013 @ 3:59pm 
Well we know incentivizing politicians to vote in certain ways always works works well.

The reason an incentive is called an incentive is because it influences you, in this case, to make a decision based on criteria other than the merit of the decision itself.

This can be used for both negative and positive reasons, and the "positive" uses require operating under the assumption that the voter cannot make the "correct" decision on his/her own.
Gorlom[Swe] Oct 21, 2013 @ 4:51pm 
Originally posted by Souzooka (ENG/sukoshiJP):
Hello, I'm sure the topic has come up before, but is it bad business practice to incentivize people to vote for a greenlight project in order to get something other than the actual game on Steam?
Are you talking about a bait and switch scam?... I suspect that would be grounds for termination of whatever deal Valve has offered the devs.

The only two projects I know that have done this are A Hat In Time and Garry's Incident: Day One.
Ok, so not a bait and switch... what do you mean by "something other than the actual game" in tthe first paragraph then?

A Hat In Time was a one-man project (as far as I know) made by "Mecha the Slag," who owns a Team Fortress 2 which he writes custom gamemodes for.
For clarification a TF2 ... what? There seems to be a noun missing. Do you mean a TF2 server?
A greenlight for his game would earn you a custom hat on his server, which was a trivial incentive for most (I don't believe this was on the actual greenlight page, just a notice in the actual server, but I may be wrong). I don't know how the game plays, it looks rather simplistic, but the general small buzz around it seems to be more positive than negative.
seems to be a ploy to get people to visit the greenlight page more than bribe them into pressing yes. To be honest I can't really be upset about this. it's such a limited scope compared to greenlight page or other media.

In contrast, Garry's Incident: Day One offered out 50 steam keys to those who greenlit the game (at least, according to some pictures), which would possibly grant people a free $20 game simply if they clicked on the vote button. Obviously the game was greenlit and released. Whether or not this incentive was the direct cause of the game being greenlit is hard to pin down, but it's safe to say that it probably brought in some votes that would have not been otherwise convinced solely by the presentation of the game.
How were these 50 steam keys distributed, randomly to anyone pressed yes to get as many extra votes as possibble? or was it first come first serve?

As such I think it begs the question: should we be allowing companies to incentivize people to vote for their games?
We? I think that is up to Valve and not the users. (I've allways been hoping Valve could spot when voting has been tampered with and taken taht into concideration when greenlighting)
Besides there has been worse "tampering" or gaming of greenlights system. One game released for free on totrrent to get votes iirc.
Souzooka Oct 21, 2013 @ 5:04pm 
Are you talking about a bait and switch scam?... I suspect that would be grounds for termination of whatever deal Valve has offered the devs.

Ok, so not a bait and switch... what do you mean by "something other than the actual game" in tthe first paragraph then?

When I talk about "something other than the actual game," I mean something in addition to the game (such as the Steam keys).


For clarification a TF2 ... what? There seems to be a noun missing. Do you mean a TF2 server?

seems to be a ploy to get people to visit the greenlight page more than bribe them into pressing yes. To be honest I can't really be upset about this. it's such a limited scope compared to greenlight page or other media.

Of course, and I'm not really talking about this particular game over what happened with Garry's Incident. It's still a method of incentivizing people to push "yes," though, and I thought that is why it is relevant to this discusion, although it's not nearly as overt. Also, I do mean Team Fortress 2 server, my mistake.

How were these 50 steam keys distributed, randomly to anyone pressed yes to get as many extra votes as possibble? or was it first come first serve?

I assume it was randomly, but I am unsure on the details.

We? I think that is up to Valve and not the users. (I've allways been hoping Valve could spot when voting has been tampered with and taken taht into concideration when greenlighting)
Besides there has been worse "tampering" or gaming of greenlights system. One game released for free on totrrent to get votes iirc.

I was saying "we" as gamers, mostly. Like "we" see censorship is bad, but Valve isn't going to go and remove the game on Steam because of what Wild Games Studios did on that front. I was raising the point that perhaps incentives like randomly passing out Steam Keys for votes could be seen counter to the point of Greenlight, and raise a discussion on whether or not such practices should be seen as a bother. As for the tampering, I do feel that should be taken seriously and Valve should do what is possible to prevent it and punish those who do it.

Edit: To clarify, I was giving an example of something that gamers would find irksome but Valve wouldn't directly act on, such as censorship. I'm not comparing Greenlight incentives to censorship, that would be a big false equivocation.
Last edited by Souzooka; Oct 21, 2013 @ 5:16pm
Gorlom[Swe] Oct 21, 2013 @ 5:16pm 
Well it does seem a bit like the companies that do that sort of thing is somewhat shooting themselves in the foot. maybe more the game that promises steam keys than the game that created buzz by giving the game away for free outside of steam.

It does annoy me a bit when devs don't let the games stand on their own merit but resort to other tactics to generate votes without generating buzz about the game outside of steam..
-Z- Oct 21, 2013 @ 5:58pm 
Originally posted by Souzooka (ENG/sukoshiJP):
When I talk about "something other than the actual game," I mean something in addition to the game (such as the Steam keys).
...isn't a Steam key just another means of distributing the game to the person?
Souzooka Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:01pm 
To clarify even further, by "something other than the game itself," I mean "something additional to the game being avaiable to purchase on the Steam Store," including a free copy of said game.
-Z- Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:10pm 
Considering that the "About Greenlight" page guarantees that Valve will provide as many free Steam keys as a dev group wants, Valve certainly seems to be in support of such incentivization.
Gorlom[Swe] Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:15pm 
Isn't that to provide it to customers that buy it through other channels before the steam versiuon is available? More than to be used as bribes for yes votes I mean?

Iirc they were providing unlimited steam keys to devs before public greenlight was even implemented.
Last edited by Gorlom[Swe]; Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:16pm
-Z- Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:16pm 
Originally posted by GorlomSwe:
Isn't that more to provide it to customers that buy it through other channels before the steam versiuon is available? Than to be used as bribes for yes votes I mean?

Iirc they were providing unlimited steam keys to devs before greenlight was even implemented.
That's how the question was formed, certainly, but the answer provided does not indicate any limitation.
Gorlom[Swe] Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:18pm 
I don't think it would be possible to police even if Valve wanted to. Too many valid requests for steam keys would be caught in the crossfire.
Last edited by Gorlom[Swe]; Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:19pm
-Z- Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:20pm 
Indeed. And since they considered the one that incentivized votes via releasing via torrent, as you'd mentioned, I highly doubt they have any interest in trying to quell such an incentive.
Gorlom[Swe] Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:25pm 
The torrent thing kind of makes sense as long term PR and marketing in another sense than giving away steam keys imo. From Valves perspective I mean.
The first one has a chance (that may be pretty high if done right) to increase sales, the second only really reduce them.
-Z- Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:34pm 
While it does cut into the sales to an extent, perhaps they feel that the loss of sales for the incentive is worth what more sales they expect to get when they get into the full store.

Rather like giving away copies for kickstarter incentives, when the kickstarter is for funding the development.
Gorlom[Swe] Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:40pm 
Yeah from the devs point of view it makes sense. From Valves point of view it just means they might take a spot for a more popular game that would potentially sells more.

The torrent thing at least generated buzz and people voted for it on it's merit rather than getting/being promised something in exchange for the votes.
-Z- Oct 21, 2013 @ 6:42pm 
Sure, but also from Valve's point of view it wouldn't be all that different from giving keys for people who already bought the game through a different means. Mostly, they seem to just be taking a hands-off approach.
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Date Posted: Oct 21, 2013 @ 3:19pm
Posts: 31