Getting onto Steam is a huge boost for any game, but Valve's submission process is slow and opaque, and many developers find they have to try several times to get on. How splendid, then, that Valve has announced it will use the Steam Workshop model of community ratings to winnow the chaff from the delicious wheat with its new 'Steam Greenlight.'
Like Steam Workshop, developers can create pages for their games on the Steam community site with screenshots, videos and whatnot. Users are let loose to comment, rate, and yell that they're doing it wrong, then Valve will reach out to the makers of games Steamaniacs are most excited by.
"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," Valve explained on the Greenlight site. "After all, it's the community that will ultimately be the ones deciding which release they spend their money on."
Steam's handling of indie games has been somewhat wonky through the years, with heaps of fine games being outright turned down while many of questionable quality slip through. It's been advised that developers re-submit if they don't succeed, and many do on later attempts, but it's all a bit weird, messy and disheartening. With Steam being the heart of digital distribution for PC gaming, it really can make or break a game.
Greenlight should launch on August 30. "We know there is still a lot of room for improvement in making Steam distribution easier and faster; this is just a first step in that direction," Valve said.