Valve Software’s Steam is the biggest player in digital distribution of games for the PC. It has also been one of the biggest reasons for success of indie games made by small, independent game studios. Now, Valve plans to help crowdsource games with their upcoming Steam Greenlight, where “developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution”. Greenlight feels like Steam’s earlier offering, the Steam Workshop. Only this time, this is for entire games instead of just mods. Steam Greenlight seems to be slated for launch at the end of August.
“Steam Greenlight is a new system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the next games to be released on Steam. Steam Greenlight also helps developers get feedback from potential customers and start creating an active community around their game as early in the development process as they like,” the Greelight site reads.
The problem smaller developers had with Steam was when they were attempting to get their game on Steam, they’d either get a “yes” or “no” for an answer. No explanation was given otherwise. Greenlight looks to help the developers who submit videos, demos, screenshots, etc. and let the community decide if the game is worth being on Steam.
The site further states that the number of votes needed to gain full approval “is going to change during the first few days/weeks since we don’t know what kind of traffic to expect.” Steam states that part of the drive for this system is the need for customers to help prioritize which games they want to see made available on Steam. The site states that therefore, “the specific number of votes doesn’t matter as much as relative interest in a game compared with other games in Steam Greenlight”.
“We’re going to be reaching out to developers as we see their games getting traction regardless of whether they have achieved a specific number of votes or are sitting 1st or 2nd place at any given time. We are most interested in finding the games that people want, not requiring them to always hit a specific number of votes,” the site reads.
Interestingly, Valve is encouraging developers to update and post new builds and screenshots and demos of their games as often as possible, and actively engage with the community. Greenlight could standardize the Minecraft-styled open development.