Steam has just announced something caled “Steam Greenlight“, another way for indies to get their games on Steam. Basically, the community rates your game, and if you get enough positive ratings, Valve will begin the formal approval process.
This is huge for indies. A lot of gamers will suggest on forums that indies should get their games on Steam. If only it were that simple. Steam is a closed platform; unlike XBOX Live, there isn’t a simple checksheet you can meet to guarantee a spot on the service. You submit your title, and you hope you get approval. If you don’t, you have no guarantee of even being told why you were rejected. Your game was just “not the right fit” for the service.
Much like the publisher/book model, this puts all the power in the hands of an agent who you have to hope sees the potential of your game. But maybe your title has a dedicated fanbase who sees things in a different light to the reviewer Valve assigns to check it out?
Well, now the community can make a direct difference. If enough of a fanbase exists, they can effectively signal to Valve that your title can sell, and justify putting it up on the service.
This is awesome news. And, just another reason to be a fan of Valve.
You can’t blame them from wanting to ensure a minimum level of quality on their service, but it’s great of them to democratize the decision process. Leaving it up to fans is about as fair as you can get, really.