You'll Soon Be Able To Help Decide Which Games Get On Steam

Valve is crowdsourcing the approval process for its Steam distribution platform. With a new service it's calling Steam Greenlight, slated to launch at the end of August, Valve will allow gamers to vote on which titles will make it to the popular digital network.

Instead of going through some sort of mysterious, behind-the-scenes approval process, independent games will now be placed on the Greenlight service, where users can vote to approve them for distribution on Steam.

Games will not have to reach specific vote numbers, Valve said. They will instead be judged based on relative interest based on the other games in the pipeline.

"For many stores, there is a team that reviews entries and decides what gets past the gates," Valve writes on the Greenlight website. "We're approaching this from a different angle: The community should be deciding what gets released. After all, it's the community that will ultimately be the ones deciding which release they spend their money on."

Developers will have to post at least one video, at least four screenshots or images, and a written description of the game along with "tentative system requirements," Valve says. They'll also have to post a "branding image", like a box cover or logo to represent the game in lists and searches.

Almost sounds like Kickstarter, don't you think? Greenlight will hopefully learn from crowdfunding's positives without inheriting its negatives. For example, in the Q&A on Greenlight's website, one question asks what you should do if you want to see a game succeed.

"Go tell your friends, just don't be annoying about it," Valve writes.

In other words, please don't spam Kotaku.

Greenlight [Steam]


Comments

    I see this as a needless feature of Steam.

    Aren't the developers paying Valve a premium to get their games onto steam in the first place?
    So what this does is say... allow small garage developers to build a game, get it voted onto the Steam Store then Valve goes: "Look at we did for you, now sign this contract and pay up" ?

      Depends. If it negates the approval-process fee, then it's very worthwhile.

        Purely an assumption, but I would say it would either reduce it or remove the fee entirely. This suggests they could still pay to get their game on if they don't want to rely on voting.

          I hope it doesn't become a "You received a fair few votes, but not enough, so we'll only charge you 25% of the fee if it hadn't of been voted on" situation.

            There's no suggestion of ANY fees on the Greenlight site, and it seems like that's the case, rather than an omission. Specifically, it seems to be running almost exactly like the Steam workshop.

      Almost all small developers say steam is incredibly fair. They basically take a "retail cut", which almost all developers will have to pay unless they sell it themselves.

    It's a great move by Valve, irrespective of whether or not it significantly changes the approval process (ie. maybe companies can still pay the approval fee). I see three key points:

    1. It hooks into the "word of mouth" phenomenon. Gives it a tangible outcome;
    2. It provides support for independent developers; and
    3. It gives consumers/gamers a sense of agency in shaping what becomes available to them.

    Valve clearly cares a lot about this last point as the Steam Workshop, for example, makes clear. What's particularly good to see is how they're now looking to leverage that to support smaller game developers too.

    I hope we don't miss out on on good titles simply because they fail to generate hype.

      That's a problem no matter what the platform is. If anything this should help small developers raise awareness of their games.

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