Monday, July 9, 2012

What “Steam Greenlight” Means for You

   Valve, the makers of a whole bunch of games that are totally worth playing, announced today that they will be releasing a new, crowdsourced game selection process for their incredibly popular Steam platform which will be called, predictably, “Steam Greenlight”. The basic premise for this new model is that the Steam community, and not Valve itself, will now be in complete control over exactly which independent games will be released for download on their service. That means that we will be in charge of which indie games are released to the public on Steam–as in, you and I.

Finally, Steam is in capable hands.

The same model of crowdsourcing has been used before—most notably in the project starting website, Kickstarter—which has, for the most part, worked well enough for the particular community that it services. To break it down even further, Greenlight promises us: “See an indie project that you’re excited for? Go ahead and support it. If you support it, so will we.”

The potential of this new model is obvious: the great indie games will be noticed, selected, and hopefully released to the pomp and circumstance that they deserve. On the other hand, the lame, too-artsy-to-work, and just plain shitty indie games that are released every minute of every day will be swept under the rug faster than the Bible at a science convention. Well, that’s the promise, at least. The actual application of crowdsourced indie game selection will mean that the hardcore, since they are the most typical of crowdsourcing communities, will probably be doing all of the selecting while the more casual gamers will likely be unrepresented.

Boring people who only play games like Peggle and Bejeweled 7: Kick to the Bejewels will have to stick to the vendors that are already established on Steam—folks like Popcap, for instance. For the rest of us, Greenlight promises to be a great tool for getting indie developers out in the open.

Crowdsourcing is the most logical step for Valve to take at this juncture; one of their most successful games was born from independent development and you can tell that it played a definitive part in Valve’s decision to turn more attention to all the undiscovered talent that is floating around the internet.

What does Steam Greenlight mean for you? If you’re a developer who’s just starting out with little marketing resources and connections, it very well could give you the opportunity that you need. More importantly, If you’re a normal, run of the mill gamer who just wants to see better things in the industry, then Steam Greenlight will let you find all of the hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered. Hopefully.

If the Xbox was crowdsourced, this game wouldn't exist.

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