Submitting a Game to Steam is Challenging


Hello everyone. I am writing this post, while I am in the process of submitting Familia to Steam. I am writing this post to help people know what to expect when they are submitting a game to Steam.
This is not a detailed guide, explaining every step of the submission process. Steam has great documentation. This is a short post, showing some of the conceptual and ‘big-picture’ ideas I would have thought about before I started the process.

Is you want an a more in depth article on this topic, here is a link to Steam’s documentation.

This is a very rough list of the process. Each item requires individual review.

  • Tax Information Submission
  • Profile Submission
  • Build Submission

Submitting to Steam Takes a Lot of Time

As a solo developer, I am limited in manpower. The last thing I want is to be finished with a game but not be able to hit a deadline because of submission issues. It’s very important to start the Steam submission process early. So far it’s taken me roughly three weeks, and still have not had my profile approved. Once a game build is approved, there is an additional waiting period. With weekends and approval taking an average of two days, approval will take four weeks minimum.

Most People Get Rejected Many Times

Of everyone I’ve spoken to, most have had their Steam submissions rejected about seven times. Thus, their approval process took a minimum of eight weeks. For some developers, the approval process took twelve weeks on a first game release. Make time for submission! I can’t stress this enough.

Steam is Going to Ask for Tax Information First

Get your tax info ready first. While the tax info stage of the process was not difficult. Just make sure you have your EIN, contact info, and bank information available. It would be a shame to stall your application process because don’t have your bank account and routing number. Also, it’s worth mentioning that you have to pay a 100 dollar (possibly refunded) fee before you are able to submit anything.

Someone is Going to Have to Edit Some Images

I am a web developer by trade so I have a great grasp of image formatting and editing. I spent a full workday setting up all of my images for submission for my profile. You have to submit a minimum of around ten images. Each image has very specific constraints in regards to size, format, transparency, etc. Make sure you have both the time scheduled and the necessary software to prep your images for submission.

You Need a Trailer

Trailers are a requirement for submission to steam. I usually use OBS (Open Broadcast Software) to record a video for game-play. You can edit a video together with whatever editing software you prefer. Don’t be a perfectionist about your trailer initially. Get something up. You can always resubmit after your profile is up and running.

Open Development Didn’t Work for Me

Steam offers open development for indie developers. Open development basically allows early purchasers to influence the direction of the game’s development. I wanted to use open development almost exclusively for testing purposes. I also wanted to have very short time period to allow for open development. A Steam representative actually suggested that I share my game individually to people who are willing to help with testing. Long story short, unless open game development is essential to your process, I suggest not applying for open development. Applying for open game development can slow down your approval process.

What Did You Think?

Thanks for reading about what I’ve learned and my experience. Please join us on discord to discuss this topic further. Farewell.

Discord Link:

Edit: I created a video on Youtube based on this blog post.