Convincing people to submit “quality over quantity” is sort of a moot point - 2019 was the year I can say there was very little chaff in the mix - everything was a competent release, nobody trolled, there were only a few compatibility issues, and there was only one game which I know was released by accident because the author had IRL issues and had completely forgotten they had a test build uploaded to the site that got entered and released.
My suggestion, at minimum, was to extend the voting/judging period to the end of the year - three months to play 80 games instead of six weeks.
I had also suggested releasing the games in “waves” of about 25 over the course of four months with release windows in October, November, and December, with voting concluding at the end of January.
The rush of activity comes at the reveal: Witness the hot and heavy burst of excitement on game release, then review/discussion burnout about week 4 when the new shiny of Ectocomp happens. If the IFComp games are released in regular monthly waves, each one has a better chance of being noticed and receiving fresh attention against ~24 other games instead of 70-whatever in its entirety.
My suggested tradeoff to quell “my game didn’t get as much time” is to implement a secondary author entry deadline window. The first 25 games that are submitted by the normal end of September deadline are guaranteed to be in the first wave release in October. Authors who experience catastrophe or who prefer it could submit by the second “final” deadline at the end of October when the second 25 games are added to the roster and released. All remaining games would then be released at the end of November in a third wave. (The original intent deadline remains the same - open July, closed end of August - so no unexpected entries would be considered.)
As someone who does lots of test uploads, perhaps the IFComp submission page could include a “my game is complete and ready for entry” checkbox and the date on ticking that is what sequences the entries. Or authors could specify a preference “I’d like my game to appear in the first/second/third wave” in a drop-down.
The voting period would run until the end of January for all games, so everything gets at minimum two months of voting and play (longer than is given now).
The carrot for getting the game submitted by the first deadline is earlier release in what becomes a four-month playing/voting extravaganza. Each of three waves gets an entire month for consideration on its own, then there’s an extra month for people to evaluate the entire comp and all its entries as a whole with more perspective and adjust/curve their scores.