Valve Announces Steam Greenlight

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Posted by Alex (2021 posts) -

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.

Staff
#1 Posted by Alex (2021 posts) -

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.

Staff
#2 Edited by m16mojo2 (295 posts) -

Sweet! Sounds like a good step forward for actual "good" games.

#3 Posted by Dolphin_Butter (1915 posts) -

Genius.

#4 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

Integrate it with Kickstarter...

#5 Posted by bassman2112 (824 posts) -

That is so awesome... As someone who has worked developing indie games that never got anywhere because nowhere would even look at them, this is an exciting proposition =)

#6 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

I like that it's based off of relative interest rather than a threshold. It would have been stupid if Game A gets 10,000 votes and Game B gets 10,001, and game B gets on while A doesn't.

#7 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (618 posts) -

this is actually a really good idea, could even help the indie developers test their games without having to worry about hosting it different places or things being stolen (assuming file security is good, which it should be).

#8 Posted by Food (383 posts) -

Interesting... I wonder if this will cause games to be launched on Steam based on their popularity or marketing levels rather than on their merit or interest as a game. I guess what I'm saying is I hope the more niche indie games don't get sidelined by this.

#9 Posted by MaddogExplosive (16 posts) -

YEAR OF THE CAGE, Alex! YEAR OF THE CAGE!

#10 Posted by mnzy (2914 posts) -

Seems like a good idea.

#11 Posted by Seedofpower (3928 posts) -

Holy. Fucking. Shit. This is mind blowing and awesome.

#12 Posted by iAmJohn (6114 posts) -

This is fantastic.

@MaddogExplosive said:

YEAR OF THE CAGE, Alex! YEAR OF THE CAGE!

Also this. Why have you forsaken us? :(

#13 Posted by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

That is pretty awesome.

#14 Posted by RandyF (138 posts) -

One of the few major complaints people have with Steam is the strict (or rather, completely random) approval process for smaller games. It astonishes me how Valve always works to correct any negativity toward their product, and they go out and do something like this. This really impresses me. Well done, Valve

#15 Posted by soralapio (261 posts) -

I see an immediate problem with this.

If it's not handled with care and balanced properly, this will shunt out a lot of quirky or marginal games. Imagine your average Counter-Strike teenager looking at something like Sword & Sworcery. Will he vote it high or will he go "what is this gay bullshit" and vote it a 1? Now who are there more of, dumb people who have blinders on about the games they like, or people who are open to new and interesting experiences? Exactly.

So I hope Valve have thought this through.

#16 Posted by Shivoa (619 posts) -

Expect plenty of press spam next to Kickstarter campaign coverage requests. The second wave of which (smart devs leveraging a more subtle use of fan power to drive community PR) could be rather interesting (and means journalists can remove the keyword filter currently blocking any Kickstarter emails from being delivered) for how niche products get press and an easy path from funding to digital store based on the word of a few thousand passionate fans.

This looks like good news for anyone looking to get their games available for sale. Hopefully it won't lead to a flood of iOS clone behaviour with unscrupulous people trying to profit off minimum work or even copyright infringement products.

#17 Posted by mnzy (2914 posts) -
@soralapio said:

I see an immediate problem with this.

If it's not handled with care and balanced properly, this will shunt out a lot of quirky or marginal games. Imagine your average Counter-Strike teenager looking at something like Sword & Sworcery. Will he vote it high or will he go "what is this gay bullshit" and vote it a 1? Now who are there more of, dumb people who have blinders on about the games they like, or people who are open to new and interesting experiences? Exactly.

So I hope Valve have thought this through.

Don't underestimate the PC audience. The best selling game this week has been Arma2.
#18 Posted by gbrading (2011 posts) -

Valve: Continuing the make the world a better place by doing absolutely everything... Except release Half-Life 3.

Fantastic idea, glad Valve continue to innovate and experiment.

#19 Posted by Ace829 (2083 posts) -

Looks like Revelations 2012 will be the last game of it's kind now that this is a thing.

#20 Posted by Toxeia (729 posts) -

@soralapio: With how Steam keeps track of your game play, I'm sure that total-hours played by the Steam community is going to be a factor in a game getting pushed through.

Time to run virtual machines and let them idle over night.

#21 Posted by crusader8463 (14419 posts) -

@soralapio said:

I see an immediate problem with this.

If it's not handled with care and balanced properly, this will shunt out a lot of quirky or marginal games. Imagine your average Counter-Strike teenager looking at something like Sword & Sworcery. Will he vote it high or will he go "what is this gay bullshit" and vote it a 1? Now who are there more of, dumb people who have blinders on about the games they like, or people who are open to new and interesting experiences? Exactly.

So I hope Valve have thought this through.

You assume that it's going to be a yes/no voting system. It could just be a vote if you think this game is good thing and if you don't like it then don't vote. If I game reaches X votes then it gets on the store. Or they could go down the road of saying that in order to vote you need to put down a pre-order and if it meets a certain total of pre-orders then it gets on the store. If I could think of that stuff in 5-10 seconds I'm sure the Valve brain trust can come up with better.

#22 Posted by Phatmac (5724 posts) -

Brilliant move Valve. I can't wait to check this out in August.

#23 Edited by artsandrules (34 posts) -

This is only good news.

For those worried about "iOS-style spam game flooding" the pressure is on Valve and the indie community to float the best games to the top. Do you get pissed off that anyone can put an album on itunes, amazon, bandcamp, etc? You're probably just happy you can find whatever album you want... no matter how weird and underground.. the same will go for Steam with this system.

#24 Posted by Tan (425 posts) -

Could be great or terrible, hope this goes well cause if it works out it could be very special.

#25 Edited by Robaota (145 posts) -

@mnzy: That's still selling that well? Man, Day-Z is a powerhouse.

This looks like it could be potentially fantastic, and I have every faith that Valve will put measures into place to make this as fair as possible.

#26 Posted by slot9 (72 posts) -

And now...the steam sale.

#27 Posted by Jimbo (9796 posts) -

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. I think it's a great way to narrow the spectrum of games that get greenlit.

#28 Posted by cassus (350 posts) -

Oh PC gaming.. This is why I love you so much.. The whole business model is based around pretty critical gamers. At least the whole indie model is. UBI and Activision and the like still have no idea how to combat piracy with anything but easily hackable DRM that ruins the game for people who buy it. This kind of stuff, democratizing which games get to hit the big times... Wonderful. Steam is the only reason I no longer pirate games. If they managed to do the same for movies/tv shows that would be amazing. Not saying I pirate movies or tv shows.. I guess some do.. uhm.. ... yeah....

#29 Posted by soralapio (261 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

You assume that it's going to be a yes/no voting system. It could just be a vote if you think this game is good thing and if you don't like it then don't vote. If I game reaches X votes then it gets on the store. Or they could go down the road of saying that in order to vote you need to put down a pre-order and if it meets a certain total of pre-orders then it gets on the store. If I could think of that stuff in 5-10 seconds I'm sure the Valve brain trust can come up with better.

I don't think they'll do the preorder part, but you have a good point. Somehow I latched on to the idea that it was going to be a 1-5 point voting system or something similar (too much time on Threadless I guess) instead of people being able to support X number of prospective games or something similar.

Still, I hope this won't be the only avenue and they work on streamlining their direct submission process as well.

#30 Posted by Jimbo (9796 posts) -

@artsandrules said:

This is only good news.

For those worried about "iOS-style spam game flooding" the pressure is on Valve and the indie community to float the best games to the top. Do you get pissed off that anyone can put an album on itunes, amazon, bandcamp, etc? You're probably just happy you can find whatever album you want... no matter how weird and underground.. the same will go for Steam with this system.

Does iTunes use a voting system where different albums are rated against each other to decide which are made available on the store?

#31 Posted by BaconGames (3359 posts) -

If you read the full post, the motivation to me has nothing to do with some value about community but logistical benefits for Valve. The way Steam has grown something like this makes sense to take a bit of the load off the approval team and make it easier to point to something else and say "well that's why your game is not on the storefront yet". Personally this is a great idea for all those games that were probably coming to steam anyway but now have a more transparent and streamlined process. This won't change the fact that games on the edge will still have a tough time getting on, but that's true for any distribution service ever. The only downside is its another potential avenue for annoying marketing by indie dev's ala kickstarter.

#32 Posted by bybeach (4772 posts) -

@Food said:

Interesting... I wonder if this will cause games to be launched on Steam based on their popularity or marketing levels rather than on their merit or interest as a game. I guess what I'm saying is I hope the more niche indie games don't get sidelined by this.

I'm willing to be told I am not understanding this, but this was my initial take.

#33 Posted by mbr2 (564 posts) -

This is weird since I had always thought Steam was very open towards the indie scene. So what's would be the idea behind this? I guess this could make more people pay attention to the indie scene and it's games.

#34 Posted by ajamafalous (11942 posts) -
@Pinworm45 said:

I like that it's based off of relative interest rather than a threshold. It would have been stupid if Game A gets 10,000 votes and Game B gets 10,001, and game B gets on while A doesn't.

Doesn't seem like that'd be an issue regardless. From reading the FAQ, it seems like they're simply going to be picking the games that garner interest, i.e. not "there's only one spot left, WHOEVER GETS THE MOST VOTES WINS, GO." 
 
@soralapio said:

I see an immediate problem with this.

If it's not handled with care and balanced properly, this will shunt out a lot of quirky or marginal games. Imagine your average Counter-Strike teenager looking at something like Sword & Sworcery. Will he vote it high or will he go "what is this gay bullshit" and vote it a 1? Now who are there more of, dumb people who have blinders on about the games they like, or people who are open to new and interesting experiences? Exactly.

So I hope Valve have thought this through.

I didn't get anything like that from the FAQ. In fact, there's an image with a progress bar that says "This game has attained 26% of necessary positive ratings so far," so it seems to me like it'll be either a thumbs up/thumbs down system, or just a simple thumbs up. I'm also assuming they're only going to let people with non-limited accounts vote, so as to not allow someone to spam votes by refreshing their IP address or whatever other spoofs polls are normally prone to.
#35 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1323 posts) -

@mbr2: There are a lot of terrible indie games and just flooding the service with any/all of them would dilute interest entirely. Even most of the great indie games on Steam already are mostly ignored, and only sell well when combined in massive indie sales like the potato sack sale, which recently came back for a second go around.

#36 Posted by Cday (165 posts) -

Popular vote always yield the most bland, played out results, though Steam's user base is savvier than most.

#37 Posted by Pr1mus (3857 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe said:

@mbr2: There are a lot of terrible indie games and just flooding the service with any/all of them would dilute interest entirely. Even most of the great indie games on Steam already are mostly ignored, and only sell well when combined in massive indie sales like the potato sack sale, which recently came back for a second go around.

That and also not having to worry about actual shelves space doesn't mean they should flood the service with every game in existence. What's the point to release a game if they just bury it somewhere in the store and no one is even aware it exist like is the case on XBLA.

#38 Posted by Talis12 (488 posts) -

smart move valve.. the more games are on steam that we want, the more profit steam will make. combined with the already in use wishlist, they can control their store even better and throw more discount offers my way XD

#39 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -

If it's possible to wish for older games too, then I really hope the community can pull what recently happened to Thief.

@soralapio said:

I see an immediate problem with this.

If it's not handled with care and balanced properly, this will shunt out a lot of quirky or marginal games. Imagine your average Counter-Strike teenager looking at something like Sword & Sworcery. Will he vote it high or will he go "what is this gay bullshit" and vote it a 1? Now who are there more of, dumb people who have blinders on about the games they like, or people who are open to new and interesting experiences? Exactly.

So I hope Valve have thought this through.

Implying that those people will actually bother to use this feature.

#40 Posted by Redsox44 (482 posts) -

They never said what year :P

#41 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3201 posts) -

What the fuck, Valve? How do you make everything awesome?

#42 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3234 posts) -

"Ample feedback" = "a lot of bluuuuuuhhh." Also, Steam: Greenlight sounds like the name of a game Dave would Quick Look.
 
@mnzy said:

@soralapio said:

I see an immediate problem with this.

If it's not handled with care and balanced properly, this will shunt out a lot of quirky or marginal games. Imagine your average Counter-Strike teenager looking at something like Sword & Sworcery. Will he vote it high or will he go "what is this gay bullshit" and vote it a 1? Now who are there more of, dumb people who have blinders on about the games they like, or people who are open to new and interesting experiences? Exactly.

So I hope Valve have thought this through.

Don't underestimate the PC audience. The best selling game this week has been Arma2.

Right, but that's because of a massively exposed mod in which you can shoot zombies and grief other people. Not exactly top-shelf material.
#43 Posted by Ghostin (369 posts) -

This is clever. They get to say they are empowering their users. They remove awkward questions of what goes on their service and I am pretty sure people who use this will buffer sales of the stuff they vote to add. Win, win.

#44 Posted by TyCobb (1961 posts) -

I don't like this idea one bit. If anything this is going to limit what shows up in the store. Steam always seemed open to anyone who wanted to sell their game now it seems like they creating hurdles. Take Evochron Mercenary for instance, not many people care for space sims. You really think a lot of people will spend the hours needed to learn it and figure the game out? No, they won't and after 5 minutes they will turn it off and either not vote for it or down vote it (if it is possible and because people are assholes). So what happens now? Well they move on over to Terraria and play that for 2 minutes and then vote that up. So we have Terraria and possibly no Evochron.

I don't really know. This just doesn't sit right with me for some reason.

#45 Posted by mnzy (2914 posts) -
@Dark_Lord_Spam said:
"Ample feedback" = "a lot of bluuuuuuhhh." Also, Steam: Greenlight sounds like the name of a game Dave would Quick Look.
 
@mnzy said:
@soralapio said:

I see an immediate problem with this.

If it's not handled with care and balanced properly, this will shunt out a lot of quirky or marginal games. Imagine your average Counter-Strike teenager looking at something like Sword & Sworcery. Will he vote it high or will he go "what is this gay bullshit" and vote it a 1? Now who are there more of, dumb people who have blinders on about the games they like, or people who are open to new and interesting experiences? Exactly.

So I hope Valve have thought this through.

Don't underestimate the PC audience. The best selling game this week has been Arma2.
Right, but that's because of a massively exposed mod in which you can shoot zombies and grief other people. Not exactly top-shelf material.
There's also Civ 5 and Endless Space up in there. All I'm saying is: the "Counter Strinke teenager" is not the dominant force in Steam.
#46 Posted by Jackel2072 (2248 posts) -

I rather have to ability to vote for when the next sale should start. And what price I'd have to pay for it. MW3 for 1 dollar! SOLD.

Online
#47 Posted by Kael (32 posts) -

So, it says that Steam users can playtest the final builds of these games and then decide if it's worthy of being sold on steam? But if anyone on Steam can load it up and play it during the approval period, what's to stop them from playing the whole thing and then not wanting to buy it when it goes up for sale? I mean, these are ostensibly the same people who would be interested in buying these kinds of games in the first place, so you have to worry about keeping them wanting more. Do we have to pay for each game we test out? Pay to be included in the Greenlight program? I'm sure it'll be a good idea for developers to make sure they only put up demo versions for consideration, if they can. That would probably be best.

#48 Posted by Brodehouse (9777 posts) -

I love some of the blind enthusiasm. "Valve is doing it, it's awesome!" Way to go, supposedly critical audience.

Any time you go to XBL Indie section, the most popular games were always the most base, pandering shit. This has established pandering as a valid tactic to receiving a wide release. Get ready for Silver Dollar Games all up in your steam!

#49 Edited by DostoyevskysShamblingCorpse (73 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

I love some of the blind enthusiasm. "Valve is doing it, it's awesome!" Way to go, supposedly critical audience.

Any time you go to XBL Indie section, the most popular games were always the most base, pandering shit. This has established pandering as a valid tactic to receiving a wide release. Get ready for Silver Dollar Games all up in your steam!

I agree with most of this, but crowdsourcing is only as good as your crowd.

Hopefully the gamers interested in this will be better than that.

#50 Posted by Grilledcheez (3945 posts) -

It sounds good as long as the community doesn't vote for boring games

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