Valve, regular innovators where digital game distribution is concerned, has just announced “Greenlight”, a new community-based effort on Steam that will see gamers choose which titles get released through the service. According to Valve, the internal greenlight group has always had a hard time deciding which games get through the gates, which I find a little interesting. I admit that I’ve always thought Steam would release anything and everything that came in, especially given the huge surge of indie titles, but apparently I was a little off the mark.
Greenlight seems to focus more on indie games, because where mainstream titles are concerned, I have doubts Valve is going to pass up a definitive money-maker. Developers that might have a harder time getting on the service will be able to submit their game to Greenlight, add screenshots, information and other things that are important, and then the community gets to vote on whether or not the game should get to Steam.
Valve does make a point to mention that votes are not all that matters. There are going to be times when one game gets less votes than another, but still makes it to Steam: “We are most interested in finding the games that people want, not requiring them to always hit a specific number of votes.“
This is an interesting move by Valve, but one that makes sense, at least on the surface. In some ways, it seems like this might hurt a developer’s chance of making it to Steam, but given the success of projects like Kickstarter, it might not be a problem at all. Greenlight launches in August, so it won’t be too long of a wait before we see how this takes off.