Ever the innovators, the brains at Valve have now found a way to crowd source the approvals process for Steam. The company today announced Steam Greenlight, a new hub that allows the Steam community to vote for which independent games launch on the platform, starting in August.
"For many stores, there is a team that reviews entries and decides what gets past the gates," says Valve. "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."
The new hub is targeted at indie developers looking to bring their titles to the platform. Developers can post both in-progress and final builds to let Steam users playtest them, and ultimately vote on whether or not those games will be launched via Steam. There won't be a specific vote threshold. Rather, success will be tallied based on "relative interest" compared with other Greenlight titles.
Games submitted must at least run on a Windows PC, but other platforms may be developed for simultaneously. Interested developers need a valid and non-limited Steam account. You'll need to fill out a submission form and include at least one video, four screenshots, and a written description that includes estimated system requirements.
"Making the call to publish or not publish a title isn't fun," said Valve's Anna Sweet. "Many times opinions vary and our internal jury is hung on a decision. But with the introduction of the Steam Workshop we realized an opportunity to enlist the community's help as we review certain titles and, hopefully, increase the volume and quality of creative submissions."
It's a really cool idea that has been tried before in some venues to varying degrees of success, but given how involved the Steam community generally seems to be, I imagine developers will get ample feedback on their projects with this system. In return, it'll hopefully bring more awesome games to Steam, which I doubt anyone will want to complain about.