Valve announces Steam Greenlight for indies

Now the Steam community can help choose what gets sold on the service

Valve has announced Steam Greenlight, a community-driven service that allows independent developers to put their games up for possible distribution on Steam. This can be done at any point in the development process and bypasses Steam's internal greenlight group. In a post on the new service, Valve explained that the underlying structure of Steam Greenlight was based on Steam Workshop's system.

"Over the many years that Steam has been selling games, the release rate of games on Steam has continued to grow significantly. But given Steam's existing technological pipeline for releasing games, there's always been a reliance on a group of people to make tough choices on which games to not release on Steam. There are titles that have tied up this internal greenlight group in the past, and we knew there had to be a better way," says the page on Steam Greenlight.

"With the introduction of the Steam Workshop in October 2011, Steam established a flexible system within Steam that organizes content and lets customers rate and leave feedback. This opened up a new opportunity to enlist the community's help as we grow Steam and, hopefully, increase the volume and quality of creative submissions."

"For many stores, there is a team that reviews entries and decides what gets past the gates. 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 announcement post continues.

Valve will be working out the specifics of voting up games, reporting fraudulent titles, and how many votes are needed for a title to be distributed. Steam Greenlight is expected to launch at the end of August.

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Latest comments (11)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd9 years ago
This is a really exciting concept. Crowdsourcing publishing isn't something I've seen before, and I'm really looking forward to participating in this/reaping the rewards of the results. I hope this does well for indie developers.
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Ryan Leonski Indie Dev 9 years ago
Woah! Super excited! It's like Crowd Publishing!
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Charlie Andre-Barrett European Digital Sales Manager, Bethesda Softworks9 years ago
Bravo Steam ! this is great news and will keep our industry alive with wonderful creative IP , Hats off to you steam !
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Show all comments (11)
Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 9 years ago
Who is leading?

Who are the creative leaders?

Is it just mob rule now? A popularity contest?

What is the difference between a suit being risk-averse and a mob of people being risk-averse? When you just rely on the mob to make your greenlight decisions, they will do what they always do - choose the comfortable, the familiar.

To me this is just the same thing as playing it safe: let the audience vote for what they want. There's no risk-taking here.

Who is going to fund the risk-taking?

Will it always be left to the developer to self-fund the initial risk-taking?
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 9 years ago
I don't get it.

Valve is literally rolling in dough, but they are too scared to fund something new unless people already guarantee them that they will buy it.

Why is this exciting? It's risk-aversion. It does nothing to change the fact that all the risk falls on the shoulders of the developers.

This is actually more risk-averse than what they used to do - which was just take a chance, making up their own minds, what they thought people would buy. It's just going to lead to a world of "Steam games" which all look alike because the risk-taking is going to depend on appealing to non-game-designers - who aren't exactly the kind of people with a trained eye to visualize what an unbuilt house will look like.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 10th July 2012 4:58pm

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Sergio Rosa9 years ago
@Tim: I don't think Steam Greenlight will have anything to do with actual funding (unless approved projects can be moved on to some sort of alpha-funding platform on Steam, like what Desura does).

I'm thinking it will be some sort of platform like IndieDB where devs post a project and get a community to support it, but funding will always be the dev's problem. About the risk factor, I think this can be good because gamers will decide if a concept/game/whatever is worth developing. Maybe I come up with "this great idea that will change gaming forever" but nobody likes it. A platform like this will let me know nobody likes the idea before I spent months (or even years?) and a lot of money working on a game nobody will want to play.

You also have to consider there's a whole spectrum of players on Steam. Some of them like nothing but shooters while others find stuff like Dear Esther a good investment, so Dev A may want to make a COD-like game but dev B may come up with a more "experimental" game and they are both accepted because they both generated enough expectation.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd9 years ago
@ Tim The bottom line is if you can't convince the gamers it's worth even publishing your game on the platform you're never going to convince them to buy it. No matter how great YOU think your idea is, that doesn't matter in the slightest from a sales perspective. If your idea is really clever and you're really great at getting it across then it'll draw massive interest all the same.

I'm not sure what gaming industry you're talking about when you say gamers just go for the familiar, but it's certainly not this one. Unique and enjoyable games like Terraria, Audiosurf, LIMBO, and Journey are among the most successful budget indie games ever made. If you want to get your games on Steam, you'd better step up and make something really appealing. :)
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
I like this idea, a lot, It's a realisation that some games don't make it on Steam, for strange or not-so-strange reasons, and to allow both consumers and developers a chance to (in a round-about way) dispute that. And, in all honesty, it's absloutely fantastic. Instead of proclaiming themselves to be the arbiters of taste for what is the largest digital distro system out there, they're willing to accept opinions of gamers and developers (and let's remember, consumers are the ones paying for the product), on what should be available. It has the chance to broaden the product range immeasurably, which can only be a good thing.

As a final remark, I also think it's to help games which many people acknowledge should be on Steam, but aren't. Like Unepic ( )

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th July 2012 12:21am

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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 9 years ago

Are you familiar with other forms of entertainment?

Here is one: punk rock.

Do you know that bands like the Clash and so on never had a huge following when they first opened. They exploded on the scene to frankly a lot of headscratching.

It took time for many of them to be discovered. And some of them eventually went on to become global hits. But if they all had to be relied on an audience to "crowdfund" them or whatever, they never would have seen the light of day.

The point is this: you are saying that you need guarantees to fund something.

Dude, in an ideal world entertainment is a field where people with money - the PATRONS, the INVESTORS - help out the artists to make something NEW and DIFFERENT get out there. Those new and different things often explode on the scene - but it takes time because... wait for it... they are NEW and DIFFERENT.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 11th July 2012 3:00am

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Robert Oelenschlager Independent Game Developer 9 years ago
Your analogy doesn't really work. There are zero-funded games that go on to make it without discovery. They use their own money to expand on their own and create their own opportunities. I think Minecraft is a good example. The game was already successful long before 360 Edition came out. If an idea in this industry is awesome, it tends to find its own traction. Kickstarter is a good way to put value to that traction, give it visible numbers; consumers saying "yes" with their wallets. The Patron system you're often on about doesn't really work like it used to these days either. Most investors only put in on something they expect output in the form of more money. Risk-aversion is most visible in that model. Your ideal world sounds like a lot of pipe dreaming, no offense.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
The Patron system you're often on about doesn't really work like it used to these days either. Most investors only put in on something they expect output in the form of more money.
I've been trying to form a reply to Tim's comment all day, and I think the quote above mostly hits it on the head. 100-200 years ago, you had heads of state and powerful dignatories commissioning artists works for 2 reasons. One was that it was a way to exert influence, both political and cultural. The other was because the creation of art in, say, 18th century was thought of as a true calling. Art for art's sake was a wonderful thing. Now, that sensibility has been lost, for the most part.

Whilst you do get people within the art, film and music industries who are akin to the patrons of old, they're far more malleable as artistic mediums. I think gaming could reach that stage (with all the patronage that that entails), but I don't believe the creative tools yet exist for that.

Or, to put it another way, if Picasso or Mozart wanted to create a thing of beauty within gaming, I think they would be hard-pressed to find the tools to do what they wanted.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 11th July 2012 9:30pm

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