I thought Jonas Kyratzes put the point quite well. After that, I thought Rob’s article on the subject drove the point home like an iron spike. Just the same, I’m sure there are still a few of you out there that are still flabbergasted at the idea that someone might not have $100 to spend on the chance to have internet morons crap all over their dream and keep it in perpetual limbo on Greenlight simply because they have nothing better to do and they can. Illumination time, kiddies!
I want you to think back to your first job. It doesn’t matter what it is for this exercise. Now, I want you to imagine that you had to pay $100 just to apply for that job. Sure, you could have done some work on your own mowing lawns or something like that, but for your first real job working for someone, you would have had to pay that fee. Do you think you would have gotten the job? Do you think you’d even have your current job if you had to pay $100 just to apply?
Let’s take this a bit further. Would you have gotten that first job if everyone in your high school got to vote on whether you deserved it? Even worse, what if anyone who wanted to could vote on it? What if someone who’d hated you since the first grade could just call up everyone they knew and ask them to vote to not give you the job? What if those people didn’t even have to show up, but could just press a button from the comfort of their own home? Would you have still gotten the job?
Would you have ever spent $100 on this kind of system? I don’t think you would have, because it would be a waste of your money. Even if you thought it was the greatest job on Earth and something you’d love doing forever, I doubt many people would take the plunge. Even if they did, almost none of them would succeed as the system is completely stacked against them. Many people find, especially on the internet, that their enemies have a very good memory and an endless enthusiasm for seeing their destruction.
Now, this is pretty much a waste of time for someone who has the money, but it’s even more ridiculous for someone who doesn’t. This isn’t exactly inconceivable, either. If you’re one of the people who thinks making a game costs a lot of money and that they should just have $100 to toss at this, you’re half right. Video games do cost a lot of money to make. Thing is, when you spend a lot of money, that means your money is gone. If I have to spend lots of money on software and computers, then that money is not mine any more. Bye bye Mr. Money! If you spend a lot on equipment, it makes you that thing people call ‘broke.’ It means you don’t have money any more because you spent it! Isn’t learning fun?
People seem to forget about this thing called ‘saving money.’ It’s what us poor artists do when we spend most of our time making entertainment for you guys. If we need something, we save what income we can get until we can afford the piece of equipment we need. We can’t just run out and drop hundreds of dollars on a whim, because the laptop we’re working on cost us every bit of extra income we had at the time. Everything else went to food and bills.
No one is asking you to pity them, though. People who go into indie development usually go in knowing the consequences of the lifestyle, or at least learn them fast. Those who come to you with a finished game have fought long and hard to get it done, working a handful of jobs or being supported by a loving spouse while chasing the dream. There’s not a lot of extra money to be had in these households. So, when someone says that you need to spend $100 on the chance to be ignored and mistreated, no one wants to bite. It’s just another avenue that’s blocked off.
If money is tight, $100 is just too much to spend on a chance, especially one that probably won’t work. Instead, that money is better spent on equipment and training, as that will probably lead to actual progress and success down the road. In the end, that money becomes a brick wall to the people that Greenlight was supposed to be drawing in, and if you find that hard to believe, go volunteer down at the soup kitchen and ask those guys why they can’t just get jobs, loans, and just fix their problems.
PS – If you have Steam, please go and vote for Jonas Kyratze’s game, The Sea Will Claim Everything. He got in before the $100 fee came on board, but the lovely hordes of the internet downvoted his amazing game into oblivion. Any upvoting you can provide will go a long ways to beating them back and getting the most beautiful, moving game I’ve played in years onto the service. You will not regret it.
PPS – I re-completed the story, but just want to edit it one last time before I send it out into the world. I should have it up by Thursday.