Premarket Validation on Steam Greenlight
Approved for publishing in 9 days and contacted by Sony
The Steam gaming platform boasts the largest community of hardcore computer gamers in the world with 67 monthly active users—the US alone harbors 18% of the audience. In order for us to publish Mind the Trap on Steam, we had to first pass Steam Greenlight, a validation platform similar to Kickstarter in which developers create a landing page for their game and Steam users back the project by voting “Yes” or “No.” Whether a game gets approved and how quickly depends on how much the user base rallies behind your project—Is the game interesting and worth buying? Will the project creators actually finish the game and deliver on their promises? Is there a clear plan for how the project will be completed?
By putting the approval process in the users’ hands, Steam Greenlight presented itself as an opportunity for us to validate a game concept with the public and get feedback to further drive product strategy for Mind the Trap.
I directed the campaign from conception to delivery, produced the creatives and marketing materials, and handled the PR.
View the Mind the Trap’s Steam Greenlight landing page here.
- Validated in 9 days (vs. average 6 months for most indie games).
- 469 followers.
- 4,003 unique visitors.
- 62% “Yes” votes.
- Contacted by Sony expressing interest in an exclusive port of Mind the Trap to the PlayStation Store.
- Validate Mind the Trap on Steam Greenlight to gain approval to be published on Steam.
- Generate demand and social media followers.
- Get feedback from the public to formulate subsequent in-game user experiences.
For a young startup with no other launched games, it was understandable that Dissonance Entertainment lacked the brand to invoke confidence. As a result, I focused heavily on delivering a high quality, targeted and transparent presentation to gain the trust of the Steam community.
The indie games market is highly competitive, and backers have become more cautious about who they support. Putting in the extra effort to make your presentation more “juicy” not only helps you stand out from the crowd but also demonstrates a dependable brand from a small startup.
We polished a cross-section of the game to a nearly shippable quality to confidently showcase how our game would look and play once it was finished. I utilized this marketable build to capture screenshots and produce creatives.
Each Steam Greenlight landing page starts with a trailer, which is the first thing, and sometimes only thing, the viewer will see.
With less than 8 seconds to capture the attention of the viewer before s/he leaves, I created a scroll-stopping, high quality trailer focusing only on what the viewer cares about—gameplay. The trailer featured a montage of high-action, in-game footage with text inserted at the beginning of each section to highlight the core features.
By focusing on the core gameplay, the trailer was immediately relevant and engaging enough for the viewer to watch and read on.
Following the trailer was the body/description. I echoed the trailer by highlighting the top features. For a highly visual audience, I wrote paragraphs of text no more than three sentences long without a GIF or decorated headline in between to keep the reading light and visuals heavy.
I included a link to download a short, playable version of the vertical slice. If the players like the demo, then they’ll be more likely to purchase the final product. If they don’t like the demo, then that’s invaluable feedback for us to improve the game.
To provide more transparency, I included a “Progress” section to share the current status of Mind the Trap with links to our development blog.
The high quality creatives, vertical slice presentation, and immediate focus on gameplay created an engaging presentation that caught the attention of our viewers and demonstrated the seriousness of our brand.
Within 9 days and 62% “Yes” votes, Mind the Trap gained enough organic traction on Steam to be “Greenlit.” Compared to an average 6 months to 1 year for most indie games to be Greenlit on Steam, this was an incredible feat. On Steam we gained 469 new followers and saw 4,003 unique visitors. We were subsequently approached by publishers, including Sony, expressing interest in working with us.