Valve To Crowdsource Game Library With Steam Greenlight

By Nathan Grayson on July 9th, 2012 at 10:18 pm.

Congratulations! This clearly undead horde approves of your game.

Oh wow. This came out of nowhere, and it seems basically brilliant. Valve just tossed up a webpage for Steam Greenlight, wherein “developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution.” So basically, it’s Steam Workshop for entire games, and – in theory – it gives a wartime-battlecry-like voice to smaller developers who felt they weren’t being heard by Valve. Further details and thoughts after the break.

So, for the uninitiated, the big problem for smaller developers attempting to get on Steam was that they’d send off a product to Valve, wait, and then get a “yes” or “no.” And that was it. No “whys” or “hows.” Greenlight, meanwhile, looks pretty clear cut. Developers submit screenshots, videos, demos, etc, and the community discusses and votes accordingly. So it sounds equal parts simple and ingenious, though Valve’s not entirely done working out the kinks. The official Greenlight page explains:

“[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. Part of the drive for this system is the need for customers to help us prioritize which games they want to see made available on Steam. So 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.”

Also interesting: Valve’s highly encouraging developers to continuously update, submit early builds of their game, and actively engage with the community to grease the wheels on voters’ rusty metallic hearts. So Greenlight could very well standardize Minecraft-style open development even more so than it’s already standardized itself. By the same token, however, copyrighted violations and “offensive material” are banned, so it’s not quite a lawless game development frontier.

Of course, there are still all sorts of potential drawbacks. At the end of the day, this will probably result in a flood of new content for Steam, so it could become significantly more difficult to find what you’re actually looking for. And sure, some smaller games might be able to establish enough of a community to get listed, but will they be able to gain enough visibility to actually make money? Could Greenlight even take away from the explosive boost smaller developers get by adding their games to Steam? And, if so, what will smaller developers do about marketing?

To Valve’s credit, however, it’s constantly adapting and tweaking, so a few of these problems may get hammered back down moments after they spring up. For now, though, all we can do is wait until the end of August, when Gabe Newell trots out his pair of comedically over-sized ribbon-cutting scissors and officially christens Greenlight for active duty. And then a billion joke listings for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 will instantaneously appear, and Valve will take away Greenlight forever and tell us this is why we can’t have nice things.

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158 Comments »

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  1. evilbobthebob says:

    So it’s like Lego Cuusoo but for games? Sounds good!

  2. Soulstrider says:

    Won’t be this terrible for niche games?

    • pakoito says:

      It’ll just fill Steam with more “noise” games IMO. I would have a period between one addition and the next.

    • Mike says:

      I’m wondering this also. They’re measuring interest relative to other games, so Greenlight is unlikely to uncover games which are unknown/very new, but potentially interesting. I dunno, I’m sure Valve have thought this through. Plus I assume this doesn’t negate the existing approval process.

      • eks says:

        I don’t know about that. The niche games tend to have the most vocal communities and ones who would be more likely to participate in this type of thing.

        Plus, it’s not like the competition is going to be AAA games from major publishers. The major publishers probably already have deals with Steam where they just push any trash and get it automatically accepted, they won’t have to go through a process like this.

        I bet this entire thing will be full of niche independent games and could possibly be a great thing.

        • Koshinator says:

          ^this

        • Mike says:

          Sure, you won’t be competing with Activision, but you might be competing with huge, established communities or near-ubiquitous genres. I just think you’ll get stuff buried. I can’t see And Yet It Moves making it through a system like that.

          Obviously if it’s not popular then it doesn’t make commercial sense to sell it on Steam. But Steam has made some very niche games successful and popular.

          • paddymaxson says:

            Things that aren’t commercially viable are fine on steam. Digital distribution is perfect for games that might not sell a lot of copies

            A steam page and enough Hard disk space to store a single copy of the game on and that’s the total “cost” to steam (and then bandwidth to send it in magic internets packaging to the user, but that’s only used per sale (and per later download, if they need to download it again, but bandwidth is really cheap, I promise). It’s pretty much perfect in this case as a game can sell 1 copy a week for 10 years and it costs no more to keep on steam than a game that sells 1 copy a minute for 10 years. Low sales aren’t great for the developer, but the cost to valve is very low.

          • lordfrikk says:

            But this isn’t a competition? There is no arbitrary limit to how many games can the Greenlight allow in. If they’re all great, then all games go in. I don’t see how some popular games will hold back other games, the winning games won’t be there forever to hog the front pages.

        • The_Grand_User says:

          Of course the major publishes could also use it to estimate general interest in a more niche/risky game than their typical fare, but with higher production qualities. I do hope some of them take advantage of it and make some great interesting games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mo says:

      I think they’ll end up measuring interest relative to other games in the genre. Valve aren’t interested in hosting every Garbage Cleaner Simulator, but it’s possible they’ll host the best Garbage Cleaner Simulator.

    • Vinraith says:

      It’s a move designed to co-opt a larger slice of the indie market as the major publishers all move to their own exclusive distribution platforms. That it will also severely undermine Desura and other similar indie platforms is icing, of course.

      More indie games with more exposure is good, of course. More indie games that are exclusively tied to Steam, not so much.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        Given Desura seems (despite amazing promise to begin with) to have degenerated into a Game Bundle Storage System/Indie Royale storefront rather than somewhere you can actually sell games, having an accessible alternative to that is handy stuff.

        I know, I know Steam etc… and I know how you feel and I can’t and won’t disagree with -any- of it but I see this as everything XBLIG should have been and a good way for indies to get noticed.

        There’s nothing stopping them going DRM free/Steam free on their own sites and there’s every chance that if Valve don’t shit this up (and given it was concocted in close talks with indies I’ve good reason to believe they won’t), it can work out for everyone. Both as a publicity machine and an additional route to Steam.

        Which is nice.

        • Vinraith says:

          Yup, there’s a reason that comment wasn’t explicitly negative. There’s a real chance here for Valve to be a positive force in the indie scene and to raise the exposure of worthy projects. That would be awesome, I just hope that (as you suggest) said indie developers offer DRM-free versions along-side the Steam version. Hell, DRM-free with the ability to register a copy on Steam is basically the best of all worlds, as far as I’m concerned.

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            Ditto. I wish people would stop with the single store mentality. As someone who prefers to buy both direct and on Steam (one for the money, one for the convenience), it’s right annoying when I can’t. And that’s not even considering the DRM-age.

            And whilst I may be increasingly in the minority, not selling direct still loses at least one purchase from me that they could have had, all for the sake of 20 minutes setting up a storefront.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Just because a the biggest player is doing something doesn’t make it a bad idea. I would have liked to see this work for X-box even though I don’t have one.

      • frightlever says:

        Hopefully it’ll encourage Desura to make their client a bit more user-friendly. I hate that thing. Even the website is a nightmare.

      • Premium User Badge

        Mo says:

        > More indie games that are exclusively tied to Steam, not so much.

        As Rob says, that won’t necessarily be the case. There’s nothing stopping a developer from distributing their games in any other way. Further, unlike XBIG, where its games were (more or less) tied to Windows & Xbox by XNA, there’s nothing to stop a developer from writing very portable code in C/C++ & OpenGL.

        However, I get the feeling that games will end up being tied to Steam, but not through deals or proprietary technologies, but just the sheer convenience of it all, both from a developer and consumer point of view. (That’s certainly why I distribute games on the App Store)

        Basically, Steam Greenlight should allow indie game developers to get much wider exposure and (possibly) live on a popular platform, while still allowing them to control their own destiny. All in all, this is A Good Thing.

        Your concerns/issues are certainly valid, but at the end of the day the most convenient platform wins.

      • dsi1 says:

        This doesn’t seem to work with mods, which has always been Desura’s core niche.

        • Vinraith says:

          That’s what the Steam Workshop is for, obviously. Not that I think Desura factors into Valve’s calculations in any significant way, mind you, the Workshop (like everything Valve does with Steam) is just a means to tie more people even more strongly to their platform.

          • EPICTHEFAIL says:

            Steam does already support Source mods, possibly others as well. The system shouldn`t theoretically be all that difficult to adapt since it is just a glorified voting system ATM.

          • zeroskill says:

            Please tell us Vinraith, is Valve trying to mind control us right? Then take over the world. And make us all into game playing subjects. It’s the matrix is it, oh my god I was right all along!

      • pkt-zer0 says:

        Steam doesn’t require exclusivity, or even having any DRM, last I checked. You worry too much, you grumpy old man.

        • Vinraith says:

          And I didn’t say that it did. That it isn’t required, however, doesn’t change the fact that an increased volume of indie games on Steam will translate directly to an increased number of indie games exclusive to Steam, you can see that clearly enough in the currently available crop of indies on the platform. As Rob said above, some people just can’t be bothered to set up their own store and do things right.

          • 2lab says:

            They wouldn’t need to set up a store, there are plenty of DRM free games sold on steam already.

          • Phantoon says:

            Wait, what??

            They don’t need to set up a store to sell it, because it’s on Steam, to sell it DRM free, even though Steam is DRM, so they’d need to set up their own store…

            You need to rethink what you just said, because it does not make any sense.

      • zeroskill says:

        “More indie games that are exclusively tied to Steam,”

        You are just assuming. You don’t know that. Steam doesn’t do exclusivity contracts with indies like Microsoft does on XBLA. You takling out of your ass. Nobody ever said they are gonna be tied to Steam.

        • Koozer says:

          Wooaah, could we all calm down a bit and leave the poor man alone? If you can’t see the complete common sense in more devs on Steam => more devs not bothering with other versions, then that’s your problem.

          • zeroskill says:

            I don’t like people that are trying to mislead, make stuff up or assume.

          • Phantoon says:

            Funny. You’re trying to mislead new readers into think Vinraith is an alarmist. In doing so, you’re making stuff up. Which you ALSO assumed.

            See, the three are closely linked, and you’re guilty of all three.

    • Cooper says:

      I just hope that the plan with this is not to cut out their own teams checking games.

      Because if all indie games get onto Steam by virtue of user voting, users will not be exposed to games that might otherwise have made it onto the store.

      People stick with what they know, this will be no different.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        Nope, it’s an additional route rather than a replacement, I think.

        *hope

      • Vinraith says:

        I think that’s more a concern in the long term than the short.

      • Bobka says:

        This is my worry as well. It’d be a shame if a small indie game made in someone’s spare time that might have sold 1000 copies at 5$ just never gets a chance because the relative interest is too low compared to a bunch of games by ex-AAA developers, big indie names, and beloved indie studios.

        Then again, there is no suggestion that this will replace the current system… though I wonder about the relationship between the two application paths. If the game isn’t doing comparatively well on Greenlight because it’s just too niche or experimental, does that harm the devs’ chances if they apply the traditional route? Can they even do so?

        • Phantoon says:

          I think it’s tangentially future competition to kickstarter. Greenlight sounds a lot like it, but one in where you don’t receive money just for showing up and making a neat video. On the other hand, you probably won’t be able to name drop to get interest either. You may actually need content, but it could also be one that keeps devs better on track by handing them a checklist, so they don’t fall to the perils of the starter by forgetting to do something simple like send copies of your game to gaming websites.

          Of course, I could be totally wrong, and the community base could stay exactly the same despite the system working differently.

      • Koozer says:

        Well it does say that they won’t be picking purely from votes gathered, so there’s some hope.

  3. Metonymy says:

    I’ve always felt it appropriate that Valve chose the engineering and industry of the mid 1900s as their symbolism, since they regularly exhibit the characteristics of that age. Work, experimentation, innovation, and honesty.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I’m sorry, this is not the Steam forums. Valve employees do not regularly visit RPS, so you’re not going to get a volunteer mod position there by ass-kissing here.

      • SlappyBag says:

        No need to have a go at him, hes not so much arse kissing but in awe. I for one bloody well love Valve, their outlook and methodology for development is insanely refreshing in this day and age. No need to berate somebody who is praising them.

      • InternetBatman says:

        There’s nothing wrong with giving praise where praise is due. Valve delivers a good service and while they don’t always add the features I want (tags instead of categories in the library), they do consistently add features that make Steam better.

        • Lowbrow says:

          I’m not sure if this is praise or a subtle way of calling Valve the Robber Baron of the industry.

      • skinlo says:

        Calm down dear.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          Sometimes I run into blocked comments and wonder whether I should unblock them, then I see a thread of “calm down” comments below and regret nothing.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Chill guys. Metonymy’s comment just reeks of sycophantism. It’s exactly the kind of thing that attention seekers write over at the Steam forums when they’re looking to get extra attention. It just seems out of place here.

        I am flattered that someone is blocking my comments though.

        • PopeJamal says:

          I’ve seen people get their teeth knocked out for saying less to someone in person. Calling someone a ass kisser isn’t necessarily a neutral type of thing.

          I thought it was pretty bad, and I used to be a professional jerk.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            I wonder what it takes to get fired from being a jerk. :)

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            It wasn’t meant to be a neutral comment, Internet Tough Guy.

          • Eukatheude says:

            Someone please explain to me how this kind of people made it onto rps in the first place.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            I think after the 300+ comment threads on Sarkeesian and Diablo all the angry people stayed.

          • Phantoon says:

            Hah! You think it began with Diablo 3?

            Nope, it’s been a slow trend, since the beginning. As the community got larger, and RPS got more exposure, the quality of comments trended downwards, because you get Kotaku types that click the wrong news link in Steam.

            It’s not been an outright bad thing, merely that there are plenty more bad types.

      • Raiyne says:

        How rude.

        For the most part, all that seems to be true. Well, I don’t know about honesty, but as for work, experimentation and innovation, all those points seem to apply to Valve.

        They’ve got a great ‘corporate work ethic’, they’ve certainly experimented, with business strategies… and Steam has basically changed the ‘game’ of the game industry, and how we as consumers function in that market. Not single handedly of course, but it obviously played a strong part in it.

    • gwathdring says:

      The railroad era was renowned for honesty, hard-work and ingenuity? I’d agree those are qualities of Valve but not of the Age of Steam.

  4. The Innocent says:

    This sounds great!

    It does make me worried for the fate of Desura though…

    • Stardog says:

      I don’t think it will affect it much. Desura’s Alphafunding lets people sell an unfinished game, but it seems like you won’t be able to do that on Steam. Desura does have gatekeepers, but they seem very relaxed and it’s “easy” to get your game in.

  5. LionsPhil says:

    How have they managed to secure a trademark on “greenlight”?

    • InternetBatman says:

      Is it Greenlight or Steam Greenlight that’s trademarked?

    • Gunrun says:

      Remember trademarks come with context. It’s possible they just have a trademark to Greenlight as a device for crowdsourced videogame publishing.

    • mewse says:

      According to US Trademark and Patent Office, there are currently 9 active trademarks for the word “Greenlight”. (Valve’s isn’t one of them. Remember that the ‘TM’ symbol just means that someone is claiming trademark. If it was an officially registered trademark, they’d use a ‘R’ symbol)

  6. InternetBatman says:

    I think this is a great idea Steam’s missed two or three good games that I think this could help. I’d like to see Unepic on Steam. I’d also like to see people put EA games on Greenlight.

    • Koshinator says:

      This system isn’t really designed around the major publishers – I doubt that participation (or not) in the Greenlight service will affect how the larger publishers/devs get their games through approval.

      • InternetBatman says:

        It was just a dumb joke. I meant people submitting clones of EA games. That’s one of the things that clog up their reviewing process right now.

    • Mistabashi says:

      EA games not being on Steam has nothing to do with Valve not wanting to sell them anyway – it’s a conflict of interest between Steam and Origin.

  7. Crusoe says:

    As usual from Valve, this looks fantastic.

  8. nasenbluten says:

    How about they just do what they said back in the day: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2007/11/21/rps-exclusive-gabe-newell-interview/

    What is this crap?

    • nasenbluten says:

      “Gabe: Oh yeah, I expect we’ll go back in time and eventually pretty much every game that’s ever been available will be on there 24/7. “

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Yeah, because doing one good thing means they couldn’t possibly also do another good thing they once promised to do. What is this crap, indeed.

        I find GOG better for older games anyway, what with all the soundtracks and goodies. Even in the rare cases where Steam does include such things it’s not presented in the most convenient way exactly, and more often than not you have to pay extra for a “deluxe” version. I prefer Steam for new stuff.

        Which is not to say it wouldn’t be great if Steam also had a complete archive of classics, but there’s no rush…

        • GameCat says:

          GOG.com also started selling new games. If you’re indie game developer it’s probably one of the best places where you can sell your game.

  9. Stardog says:

    This is a great move. The key for me is this part:

    “Can I post my game concept or early builds?
    Absolutely! We encourage you to post information about your game as early in the development process as you are comfortable with.”

    As an indie dev this will seriously let me know what kind of traction our games are likely to get.

    A user vote is always a worry, considering the most “popular” isn’t always the “best”, but it seems like they won’t discount games that get less votes. It seems like a system that will just fastrack the really popular ones and get them into people’s hands quickly.

    Nice one Valve.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Yeah. As a tiny tiny niche indie who has little hope of ever getting on Steam, I’m getting pretty excited about this. If nothing else, it seems like it might become one of the best marketing platforms for indie games, much better than existing database sites.

      • Bobzer says:

        More likely it will be so full of crappy half arsed flash and java games yours won’t receive any attention whatsoever in the mess of white noise.

        • marcusfell says:

          You can’t seriously believe that will be an issue.

          • Bobzer says:

            Why wouldn’t it be?

            Everyone and their mother would be submitting games they’ve made to this.

          • Jay says:

            It’s certainly been an issue at other places that do this kind of thing. The infux of chancers is going to be staggering, though no doubt they’ve factored for that.

            I’m mostly worried it’ll normalise the tendency for common-or-garden indies to pander to get attention, if that’s their best bet getting their foot in the door. So we basically end up with the Zombie Game Approval System.

  10. Jomini says:

    I don’t see how this will effect anything but the tiniest of Indie games. They already sell games that are so shallow that they are basically run of the mill flash games, their previous selection procedure can’t have been very harsh.

    • Creeping Death says:

      And yet To The Moon was still refused.

      • Ayslia says:

        Actually, it was accepted. It just hasn’t been released yet.

      • Slaadfax says:

        Same with Book of Unwritten Tales. There are plenty of really good games that have sold pretty well other places, yet still haven’t gotten on Steam. Since games like these are well-rated and decently popular within their niches, their communities might be able to get more traction this way.

    • ulix says:

      Or take “The Pinball Arcade”. It sells on PSN and Xbox, on iOS and Android, but not on PC; since Valve didn’t accept it for some reason. At the same time it is a fantastic game (the best Pinball Sim there is actually).

      • arccos says:

        I’ve heard this, but I don’t really understand it. Are they just not going to sell on PC at all if Steam doesn’t accept them?

        That seems kind of silly.

    • Premium User Badge

      wengart says:

      There are a whole bunch of niche indie titles that have a hard time getting onSteam. Unity of Command for one.

  11. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Could Greenlight even take away from the explosive boost smaller developers get by adding their games to Steam?

    No. The neat thing about Steam is not that it’s a carefully curated selection of superior games (loads of Steam games are rubbish), but that it’s an extremely convenient platform for purchase and distribution. Gamers who can’t be arsed to go to a developer’s website and enter their credit card details and keep track of yet another set of login details for a download will happily click the “buy” button on Steam.

    See also: the iOS App Store, which accepts anything and everything that doesn’t do anything weird and clears a very low bar of quality. There are still tons of indie success stories.

  12. RagingLion says:

    This sounds like an unequivocally great idea. Nice.

  13. Fazer says:

    Does it mean Valve will finally add Starcraft 2 and Battlefield 3 to Steam?

  14. Premium User Badge

    mrwonko says:

    Nice, we may get Gateways or McPixel on Steam now.

    What are you hoping for?

    • zeroskill says:

      Dwarf Fortress :=

    • BooleanBob says:

      The Spirit Engine 2.

      A quiet revolution in the JRPG subgenre with a fantastic battle system, intriguing composite party mechanics and ludicrously beautiful art and sound. All that and no faux-anime aesthetic, for people who actually care about such things!

      The fact that it’s the work of just two people is utterly staggering to me.

  15. HazardousMonkey says:

    I think this is a great idea, but i don’t think EA games , or sc2 will be added to steam because first the publishers have to add their game to be voted on, then we can vote. the whole point of origin and blizzards battle net though is to get users to use their service and not valve’s steam service. i think if sc2 or battlefield 3 were ever going to be on steam they would have been there already.

  16. Vagrant says:

    As I see it, this is basically Kickstarter without the financial funding implications.

    • Jimbo says:

      So fundamentally Not Kickstarter then? The difference between saying you want something and putting your money where your mouth is is all the difference in the world.

      • dE says:

        Yet it would be significantly easier to get funding for your game if you can walk up to publishers and say “well as you can see here and here, we’ve got this many people on steam raving about how much they want our game. You want in on it?”.

        • Phantoon says:

          Good for Valve they’re already at the bargaining table with each one.

          I have no problem with this, incidentally. The Terraria guy made enough money to pay his house, car, bills all off in the first week. Success for Steam is also success for an indie, too.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Smashbox says:

    Haters gonna hate, but this is genuinely rad. Good for customers, devs and Valve. I bet we’ll see others adopt similar systems in time.

  18. SkittleDiddler says:

    Ugh. Steam is already 90% filler and 10% good stuff. This isn’t going to improve that situation.

    Although I’d rather trust the users to decide what content makes the cut. Valve have absolutely no common sense when it comes to authorizing final releases.

    • MondSemmel says:

      That’s not the problem. The problem is that Valve are getting more submissions for Steam than they could ever possibly give a far amount of time to. In some place, it was mentioned that just sorting through all the fake “I made this game called CoD” stuff – i.e. people altering existing games, then pretending they made them – already took lots of time…

      The potentially big gain of this thing would be to have users sort through the crap – an initial selection procedure, if you will.

  19. Alexrd says:

    Oh great, more games with Steamworks DRM… *sigh*

    • skinlo says:

      Not necessarily. Steamworks isn’t compulsory when you put a game on Steam.

    • Mistabashi says:

      This has nothing to do with whether or not the developers choose to use Steamworks.

      • Alexrd says:

        Are you saying that Valve is doing this out of charity? There must be something they’ll ask in return for this service/help.

        • Cooper says:

          A cut of all profits of games they sell, like, well, in all cases when you buy a game off of steam?

        • Raiyne says:

          It’s a half-experiment, half-good-idea kind of thing that this seems to be.

          Ideally, it’s a win-win in both situations. Just by supplying the platform, the storefront, Steam, gets to know which games are in demand and worth publishing. The indie developers get to make use of Steam’s massive userbase and popularity to capitalise on publicity and recognition.

        • Phantoon says:

          The information alone is worth it to Valve. Knowing as many things as possible is how they function- otherwise, they wouldn’t have hired a Psychologist full time just to read facial expressions.

          There doesn’t need to be a big greedy conspiracy- Gabe is already a millionaire off selling hats. He wants the information more than the money.

  20. Jimbo says:

    Steam Greenlight is a simple concept; a bunch of fanboys throw votes around for a couple of weeks and at the end, the zombie game gets greenlit.

  21. hemmingjay says:

    This should mean Towns and Gnomoria should both be on steam by the fall.

    • gritz says:

      I hope this is what it takes for Din’s Quest to get a wider audience.

  22. Dominic White says:

    Just spelling this out for people: Valve still get the final say here – it is their store, after all. They’ll just give more consideration (and faster) to games that can demonstrate a viable market, and a degree of business savvy from the developers.

    This is an unbelievably massive improvement over their old system, which seemed to be flipping a coin. Even IGF grand-prize winner Aquaria got rejected at least once (I think several times) before Valve actually looked at the game, realized it was kind of a big deal and authorized it.

    • malkav11 says:

      Exactly. I’m sure they have some sort of decision-making process for content approval, but it’s never been revealed to either the public or, y’know, the developers submitting their games, so the results have often seemed bizarrely arbitrary. Brilliant, brilliant games like Armageddon Empires and Solium Infernum rejected while the umpteenth random low effort hidden object game gets added. One game from Steven Peeler (Depths of Peril) approved, two rejected, despite at least one of the two arguably being better and more compelling than the one approved. Etc.

      Greenlight should, I hope, rectify these issues if it does nothing else.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        The process has been made public, it’s entirely down to whether they liked the game or not. Anyone can sit in the meeting and get a say as to whether a game makes it onto Steam but ultimately, it’s been down to little beyond “that’d be something we’d like to sell”. Good previous helps but it’s still not a guarantee.

        It’s not the best system but it’s a fairly good one. But the amount of good sellable indie content has increased vastly over the past few years and with more people making games right across the shit to good scale, so have the amount of submissions.

        And of course, it’s entirely understandable that they don’t provide rejection feedback. It wouldn’t end well.

    • Phantoon says:

      I played the Aquaria demo. People said it was a Zelda-like, but I sure didn’t see it. At all. In fact, I played through the entire thing, hoping for a payoff at the end where the game suddenly became fun.

      But there wasn’t anything. It just ended. Then I quit the game and resolved to never do that again.

  23. JackDandy says:

    Something seems off about it.

  24. SominiTheCommenter says:

    First, until this comes out and demands Steamworks integration, which I doubt, I’m going to assume that most of those games don’t have any DRM added , as most indie games on Steam. Once downloaded through the client, DRM Free.

    • HothMonster says:

      So many people don’t realize this. I blame the ridiculously stupid file structure.

  25. Skabooga says:

    Valve used crowd sourcing to filter and judge the submissions for the Team Fortress 2 video contest. In the end, it was Valve who chose most of the winners, but by sieving the entries through the collective minds of so many people, they were able to quickly and effectively throw out some of the bunk videos, like people who just resubmitted the “Meet the Soldier” video and claimed it for their own.

    Perhaps they are seeing how far they can stretch the applications of this technique.

    • Phantoon says:

      Competition is gonna be a lot fiercer the next Saxxy, what with SFilmmaker officially released.

  26. Mr. Mister says:

    Let’s see if Unepic can finally be steamized.

  27. Memphis-Ahn says:

    Now we just need to wait for Steam Redlight where “offensive material” won’t be banned!

  28. grizzled young man says:

    Perhaps I’ve grown old and stupid, but why is this a good idea? Valve is really losing focus and getting carried away with this sort of buzz-word-salad nonsense.

    Maybe I’m overreacting to the fact that they announce so many silly little projects/ideas/think pieces and so few full length titles, but I feel like they’re increasingly disinterested in making real games.

    Which is really a shame, given the pool of talent and history of distinctive titles they’ve amassed. Personally, I’d trade an oil tanker full of this sort of TED-inspired brainstorming for one copy of Half Life 3.

    • marcusfell says:

      Go away. Oh wait, a grizzled young man? You can stay, I guess, but try not to touch anything.

    • Premium User Badge

      Newblade says:

      Why do you think that the people working on the Steam submission process are the same people that are working on Half-Life 3?

      • grizzled young man says:

        I don’t see the issue being one of overall organizational bandwidth (certainly Valve has the people to do both), I see the issue being one of corporate posture and focus. A company that spends its time hiring economists, making freemium online-only half-games and revolutionizing paradigms is not a company that has the discipline and drive to really carry an innovative full length game across the finish line.

        I realize that my opinion is going to be considered retrograde by those who find the current fashions convincing. But in the 15-odd years that I’ve been gaming and working in technology, lots of buzzwords have come and gone. None of them have changed the fundamental fact that there is something beautiful and special and unique about a big, immersive, game something that is the result of both a singular vision as well as the efforts of many towards a specific end.

        You know, like Half Life.

        • D3xter says:

          I find what they do with Steam in general a lot more important than a single game like Half Life 3, I mean sure I’ll get it and play it when it’s out but it’s not “WOOOOO!”, but with Steam they can influence the entire industry at hand (and had a great part in Indie games and Digital Distribution getting more popular and a lot of other places for instance embracing “Sales” and similar). They also sound like a sane voice regarding piracy and despite employing DRM they haven’t once changed the parameters since 2003. I’d rather Valve has a say than EA or Activision…

          Now if they would just fix the Offline Mode, made it clear that users OWN the games they buy BEFORE a massive lawsuit forces them to/generally not close accounts for ANY reason other than strong cases of fraud and would stop the Region based marketing and pricing (included censored/butchered versions) somehow I’d be perfectly happy…
          They are already trying to fix the lack of Modding Support with Steam Workshop so that’s one point off the list.

          And for all the amounts of people saying that “Valve doesn’t make games”, they have a surprising amount of games out there or in development (with DOTA2 and CS:GO as full games right now): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valve_Corporation#Games

          And they’re likely already developing Half Life 3 too (along with a “Next Gen” engine for the new consoles would be my guess) but I bet they can’t say anything till next year upon which people are going to see the words “Half Life 3″ somewhere and a big Marketing reveal and freak out.

        • Phantoon says:

          How many flippin’ games do they need to put out yearly before you people, yes YOU people are satisfied!?

      • Koozer says:

        THe funny thing is that comment would work for any dev at all except Valve.

  29. shofixti244 says:

    As a small-time developer myself (And by that I mean, I toy around with Game Development with mixed success in my spare time) this seems really cool, but I also worry about Market flooding.

    Maybe it’s just wild speculation, but I could see this opening a floodgate and releasing a wild torrent of games to the world. Each one doomed to be lost in the crowd around it as they stream forth out into the internet covering everything in their way under 10 feet of unpolished ideas.

    • trjp says:

      Have you seen the iOS./Android marketplaces?????

      I’m pretty sure that, in this case, it will actually have the opposite effect. I’m fairly sure there will be a bar to entry AND you’ll need to get a lot of people behnd your game to make it stand-out from the others.

      None of that exists with any other DD store (most of which appear to accept anything at all) and there’s almost none of it with the mobile platforms either.

  30. MythArcana says:

    Nothing to see here. Just Valve herding sheep for the slaughter.

  31. dethtoll says:

    This is good news for my company, Kisareth Studios. We’ve been trying to get on Steam for some time — the more exposure our flagship series, Chronicles of a Dark Lord, gets, the better! Hopefully this will help us in that regard.

    • Phantoon says:

      For the love of-

      If you want exposure when talking as a member of a team for your game, POST THE FRIGGIN LINK!

  32. zukalous says:

    Alright you can be impressed but please don’t complain (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/04/23/the-kickstarter-dilemma/) when you get too many emails from developers asking to cover a Greenlight game.

  33. abandonhope says:

    The year of the indie continues. It’s encouraging, but at the same time there are already way too many of them keep up with, let alone play. I do like the idea of browsing and voting for potential games without being asked to pay anything, as my wallet got Kickstarter fatigue some time ago.

  34. vash47 says:

    “Valve’s highly encouraging developers to continuously update, submit early builds of their game, and actively engage with the community to grease the wheels on voters’ rusty metallic hearts.”

    Please no, I’m tired of this ‘games as a service’ thing.

  35. D3xter says:

    I hope this gives a greater voice to Adventure games… Valve doesn’t seem to particularly hold a large place in their heart for them for whatever reason.
    Including for instance Daedalic Games (a german Adventure game maker) who started petitioning for some of their titles to get on Steam: http://forum.daedalic.de/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1061 and finally JUST succeeded, but also things like To The Moon (I’m still waiting on that), Journey Down and Resonance

  36. Premium User Badge

    RobF says:

    I’m mainly impressed by it but I’ve wrote up a few of my concerns here:

    http://www.merseyremakes.co.uk/gibber/2012/07/some-quick-thoughts-on-greenlight/

    I’d dump them in the comment section as normal but man, I need to sleep!

  37. Premium User Badge

    Hardlylikely says:

    From the recent Valve Handbook for New Employees:

    “Hiring well is the most important thing in the universe. Nothing else comes close.”

    Maybe this is partly a crypto-recruitment program from a cabal or employee working on Job No. 1. A crowdsourced recruitment platform.

    Mostly kidding.

  38. delusionsofnoir says:

    Solium Infernum would be my first choice for coming up on Steam.

    • Phantoon says:

      I still couldn’t justify the price, though. I’d have bough 25 bucks worth of Solium Infernum if it were 5 bucks. But the current price is still too high.

  39. Premium User Badge

    princec says:

    An observation I would like to make –

    This will not lead to a flood of new games, or indeed any increase at all in the number of games released on Steam. Valve carefully control the drip feed of new games on Steam to maintain value and focus exposure. What Greenlight does is remove the need for them to spend 90% of their time evaluating the massive piles of utter dross that they have to sift through from their previous manual submission process. Greenlighting simply automates their previous black-box filtering system freeing them up to do more useful work.

    Also, though didn’t explicitly say and left this specifically very vague, it’s likely to work that they will simply sort this list in descending order each week and pop the top 3 off the top and greenlight them, thus meaning the actual number of votes a title gets is irrelevant; it will simply be a popularity contest, which is of course exactly what a commercial operation needs, because the whole reason they are doing it is to ensure that games that people actually want to play and pay for get released as opposed to weirdass indie experimental titles that make interesting reading but fail to actually loosen any purse strings when the bottom line approaches.

    Slightly more worrying, from my perspective at least, is that existing developers have to get new titles greenlighted now before publishing whereas before it was just a case of, “Give me a new App ID Valve, we’ve got a new game to release” – tho again there’s a silver lining in that it will maybe give us some hint that whatever idea we’ve come up with is actually going to make any money or not.

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      It would seem to me that Greenlight is an entirely optional way to get your games on Steam besides the already existing methods. Also I don’t think anyone who can walk up to Steam and say “Give me a new App ID Valve, we’ve got a new game to release!” before this gets implemented would have any problems doing so after.

      What I’m more worried about is that new indie devs will make the choice between ‘I could spend resources on marketing’ or ‘I can just throw it on Greenlight and hope it creates some buzz’ which is a terrible choice to make if you want to run a succesful business but we all know people are just damn lazy.

      So let’s hope Valve prioritizes devs who spend time to get the word out on their game over games that got a lot of hype just because they entered their game to Greenlight. (Admittedly, the way they have it set up now seems to be able to take care of that, but that’s still the most worrisome aspect about it to me.)

      • Premium User Badge

        princec says:

        I think this is exactly the choice that Valve are removing here. Specifically they will be able to ignore developers who don’t spend the time and effort drumming up the support they need to get a greenlight.

        Just throwing something on Greenlight is going to achieve nothing – you’ve got to promote the hell out of that Greenlight page next.

        wrt optionality – I’m fairly sure Anna said in response to a question that new games from existing devs will go through the greenlighting procedure too. But Cliffski is also fairly sure that her answer to that question was exactly the opposite of what I think, so one of us has misunderstood or misheard. Bah.

  40. RegisteredUser says:

    I find it most interesting that this underswelling of “Is Valve really good or evil” is becoming more and more prevalent.

    What if Gabe resigns? What if the whole thing, after establishing utter dominance goes full-on “corporate”?
    I’m curious whether they are really going to be always trying their best to do stuff that is both profitable and new as well as “good” for the consumer, at least in some ways.

    I am big time worried all of this could tilt at any point in time and the “Steam is DRM / evil / worst thing to happen ever” argument gets forever proven 100% correct.

    On the other hand, I am also secretly starting to hope that they get so big, they can dictate game makers not to include anymore DRM outside of steam, while allowing those that don’t wish to use ANY DRM(= run without steam running, too) to have the freedom to do so.

    • Phantoon says:

      Huh? Valve is 100% privately owned. Gabe isn’t the sole owner, and I’m sure he has a plan in the event of his death anyways.

  41. fish99 says:

    Will this stop travesties like Revelations 2012 being published on steam?

    • Phantoon says:

      WOW I just watched Totalbiscuit slog through a few minutes of it-

      Do you think the makers of that shit took the idea of a “Mayan apocalypse” literally? Like Mayans were going to end us all? Makes as much sense as people from completely different religions listening to other prophecies, but still.