It’s a rocky start for Steam’s Greenlight service, which offers community members a chance to vote for indie games they want to see hosted on Valve’s digital download service. The service is supposed to be a benefit for both sides, Steam makes fees selling the game, and indie developers get a massive break and a chance as previously unthinkable amounts of sales. It seemed too good to be true, and perhaps it was. Towns, the largest of the greenlit games to go on sale, had a problem.
In the gaming industry it’s becoming all too common to try and release a game with problems and patch them later, or for larger and larger studios to run out of money and be forced to release with what they have. Towns seems like it was taking more of a Minecraft approach, with the game still well into development upon being sold, but this wasn’t clear to buyers who took to the forums to complain. Developer Xavi Canal was forced to add a disclaimer and issue a statement.
“Towns is continually being developed and updated to bring you the best experience possible!”
Hopefully few sour grapes over this doesn’t bring down the system. Greenlight has the potential to be as big for the indie gaming industry as Kickstarter, so I do hope it takes hold. Perhaps Valve just needs to add a bit of quality assurance or control, though denying refunds is as close as they’ve come to being a real publisher in the past.