On June 25th, Steam kicked off their annual Summer Sale which brings a huge crowd of gamers eager to search for the next best deal. This time around, the sale includes a promotion called The Steam Grand Prix, which gives a huge incentive where players can possibly win a game from their Wishlist for free if they participate. Unfortunately, this incentive has backfired because of misinterpreted information, and indie developers are seeing a huge amount of deletions of their games in the Wishlist records which in term can harm sales.
The Steam Grand Prix is no doubt a cool idea to help promote sales. Buyers who purchase games during the Summer Sale Event allocate points. These points can be put towards a chosen team in the event to boost them further toward the finish line. The top 3 teams will have random members who helped distribute points win a free game from their Wishlist. Sounds like a fine idea except Steams explanation on their website is vague on what players should do for that certain game they want on their Wishlist. “Be sure to update your Wishlist before you put the pedal to the metal, as the very best drivers will be awarded their Most Wished For games throughout the event.” The results of this wording has been detrimental to indie developers as excited consumers began to delete cheaper indie games from their Wishlist in favor of more expensive AAA games rather than just move their preferred game to the top of the list which was later clarified on Twitter and a blog post.
📣 PSA! 📣 You don’t need to remove games from your Steam wishlist in order to win your Top Wishlisted Game during the Steam Summer Sale – just move your favorite game to the top of your wishlist and you’re good to go!
— Steam (@steam_games) June 27, 2019
Many buyers may not understand that Wishlists are very important to developers. They show the foundation a game has, especially when it’s preparing for release. Wildfire developer Dan Hindes shared, “This is heartbreaking, Wishlists play a huge part in potential store placement once you finally launch. We’ve put so much work into being so open and transparent with development to build that wishlist over years and it’s melting away in a graph, for a sale.”
Thanks to the Steam summer sale minigame, where can win a free game from your Steam wishlist, @WildfireGame wishlist deletions have skyrocketed
People want to narrow the pool to more expensive games.
Wildfire isn’t out. You can’t win it as an unreleased game. This is madness. pic.twitter.com/kon3ZPl96X
— Dan Hindes (@dhindes) June 27, 2019
Kitsune Games founder Emma Maassen also shared her Wishlist actions graph which showed a huge spike in activity in result of the deletions, She stated, “Anyway in case people are confused, Valve’s stupid little minigame can get people a game off their wishlist for free. Because people think it’s random people are delisting small indie games from their wishlists en masse. Wishlists are vital to performance on Steam.”