Valve looking to drop Greenlight

Newell wants devs to have more control of their content as Steam hits 75 million active users

Valve is looking to halt its Steam Greenlight process, Gabe Newell revealed today during in an introductory address at Steam Dev Days. Attendees at the developer-only event have been tweeting out bits of news, with Hot Blooded Games CFO Dave Oshry among those sharing updates with the outside world.

"Our goal is to make Greenlight go away," Oshry quoted Newell as saying. "Not because it's not useful, but because we're evolving."

Oshry said the Valve head had been talking about how he wanted to give developers more control over Steam and how they use it to promote their games. The Greenlight process lets developers post pages for their games on Steam and lets the community give input on whether or not they look like something worth purchasing.

While details about the how and why of Greenlight's eventual disappearance aren't known yet, they've already been speculated upon. Earlier this week, PC Gamer reported on a translated interview with Vlambeer's Rami Ismail in which the Ridiculous Fishing developer guessed that Valve would soon be killing Greenlight.

"I'm thinking that because they've been clearing the queue at such a rapid rate," Ismail said. "They've been clearing 100 games every month. . .You don't do that because there are 100 good games on Greenlight every month. You do that because you want to get rid of everything that isn't greenlit before you kill it, so you don't upset developers."

Ismail then guessed that Valve would replace the program by letting any developer put their game up on Steam and relying on a peer-to-peer recommendation system to solve the issue of content discoverability.

Coinciding with the beginning of Steam Dev Days, Valve also announced that its digital storefront had passed a new milestone with 75 million active users, a 15 percent jump from the 65 million total announced in October. The company also released a geographic breakdown of its sales, with North America and Western Europe accounting for most of its business (41 percent and 40 percent, respectively), but noting that Russia and Brazil have shown tremendous growth in the last year (125 percent and 75 percent, respectively).

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Latest comments (11)

Paul Smith Dev 8 years ago
Making the steam store an open platform sounds like a very bad idea, you need some sort of "quality barrier" otherwise it will just get flooded with crap.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago

Exactly, every gaming portal and first party console has a quality department (not meaning QA, of course) for that very reason. You don't want junk to be working on your machine.

(Which leaves me wonder then, how come "Road to Hell" retribution got a multiplatform release)
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Eyal Teler Programmer 8 years ago
The only problem with a free for all portal is discoverability. If there's a way for good games to "rise to the top" and a way for game buyers to access subsets of games in which they're interested, then the situation will be better than it is now. Valve discussed this before, the ability for people to open store fronts, for example.

Steam codes are a desired feature for most games. Gamers want Steam, some aren't willing to play a game if it's not on Steam, but it's not easy to get on Steam. Steam with no barriers means that developers can give players what they want.

Sure, it would mean there's crap, but one man's crap is another man's (or woman's) gem, and IMO when Steam has 75 million active users it's enough if 0.001% want the game for it to available.
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Show all comments (11)
Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital8 years ago
The only thing worse than Greelight is to let everyone in. You'll replace "it's hard to get there" with "it's impossible to make any money there".
This can work on mobile platforms, with billions of potential customers, but not on a 75-million user platform (with only a fraction of the users being active). We'll get the race to the bottom, that we know from the AppStore, all over again.
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Andrew Animator 8 years ago
All of a sudden Origin looks much more attractive :)
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments8 years ago
No info on what greenlight will be replaced with yet, so we probably shouldn't assume they're necessarily going for the google play model.

One option might be a "beta" area, where anyone can put titles for sale, and use some sort of crowdsourcing to promote titles from there to the normal catalogue. Could replace early access as well as greenlight.
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Rolf Moren Freelance Marketing Consultant 8 years ago
Steam with no curation might spell death the small studios. This will lead to over saturation and a market where prices rapidly will race towards zero. App-store was the first blow to the gaming industry and a totally open and free Steam might be the last.

edit: Though I must admit that the Greenlight system in its present form is an abomination that must be removed.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rolf Moren on 16th January 2014 12:23pm

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Eyal Teler Programmer 8 years ago
75-million user platform (with only a fraction of the users being active)
This article clearly said "Steam hits 75 million active users".
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
Its been known for a good year now that the long-term plan has been to have user-based curation, and the move to turn user recommendations automatically into user reviews (which happened a couple of months ago?) was probably done with a view to killing Greenlight.

People are acting like discoverability on Steam is a new problem, when it really isn't - there's 9377 items on Steam, including DLC, software and utilities, and trailers. The front page is as clean as you can get it with the constant stream of games being released, but even so, it's still confusing and hard to find games you might like (even harder to find games others might like, and even harder again when its a large sale). Some form of user curation - or curation by websites and magazines - would help to narrow it, and that's the route they'll go. Search for RPGs, say, and be greeted with the personalised curated storefront of RPGCodex, for instance; search for Zombies and have a user curated page from someone who loves the classic Romero films, etc.

It won't be perfect, but it'll be a better situation than either the mobile app stores or the Greenlight system they have now.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 16th January 2014 1:42pm

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Mihai Cozma Indie Games Developer 8 years ago
That is pretty much what Desura does with its IndieDB
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Konstantinos Giatilis NA 7 years ago
Em, maybe you mean Early Access. Greenlight and Early Access are two separate programs. You can't buy games through Greenlight, they have to be already Greenlit to be available in Steam. Early Access has a clear disclaimer: something along the lines of you should only support a game in EA if you are happy with the game in it's current state.

Early Access is a different beast. It also has faults, but dropping Greenlight doesn't mean dropping Early Access.
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