We may not be the bigshot in the executive leather chair who gets to decide which games are made and which get dumped, but we can now at least have a say in which get on the Steam store. Which is essentially the same thing to that weird and confusing small number of people who only buy games on Steam. Valve today launched Steam Greenlight, letting user votes decide which games get on Steam.
Should you like of look of them, or any other game on Greenlight, you can vote for them to show Steam how wanted they are. Essentially, Valve's crowd-sourcing its submissions process. There's surely some human intervention in the process at Valve, mind.
Considering how many lovely games have been turned down in the past--some of which went on to be accepted after the developers re-submitted them--this should mean more niceness on Steam for us all. And given how hugely huge and important Steam is, this is kind of a big deal for a game.
"We've been working on this feature for the last few months with the input from a group of indie partners, and the response has been extremely positive," Valve said in the launch announcement. "And, as we've done with all Steam features, we intend to continually grow and modify Greenlight as more and more developers and community members have a chance to get involved."
It's not all plain sailing, though. Greenlight has the unfortunate side-effect of requiring developers to up their marketing efforts. Whereas before they'd simply fire a game off to Valve and trust a professional would handle the submission, now they need to politely harass we hoi polloi to get voting and spreading the word. Developers with a low profile, or who make unconventional games, might have trouble getting the support. Not to mention that what the writhing masses want most is often crass and unoriginal, the philistines.
To handle one of these problems, a group of developers with games in the initial Greenlight lineup has already launched a pay-what-you-want bundle so people can play their games then, hopefully, like them and vote for them.
If you've made a game, you can now submit it to Greenlight, but please don't ask your fans to spam video games websites. We're still dealing with the Kickstarter goldrush, thank you.