For anyone unfamiliar with Valve Software’s Steam platform, it is the leading digital delivery marketplace for PC games. Valve has announced Steam Greenlight, a community-based website meant to provide indie developers with feedback and the opportunity to be selected by users for distribution on Steam. Unlike sites with a reviewing panel, it will be primarily the customers themselves that will determine the future of these indie titles. Debuting August 30, the community will be able to rate projects that indie developers submit and give feedback.
Games that have a relatively high number of votes from the community, as well as considering other factors like genre and features will likely see their wares on Steam. In other words, it’s not just about getting a specific number of votes, though getting a large quantity of up votes doesn’t hurt in the slightest.
“Making the call to publish or not publish a title isn’t fun,” … “Many times opinions vary and our internal jury is hung on a decision. But with the introduction of the Steam Workshop we realized an opportunity to enlist the community’s help as we review certain titles and, hopefully, increase the volume and quality of creative submissions.” -Valve Rep
This new approach to cultivating an online marketplace is exciting not only for customers but also for small developers who want to break into a wider audience. It may be hard to imagine other “app stores” doing this, but if a good precedent is set here, it would be interesting to see this concept spread to some of the other well established walled gardens around the industry.