Greenlight: Valve’s New Indie Game Community

Valve has been having a great month with its Steam side of the business.  With good news comes more good news, as they say, and here is no exception. Valve reps say the firm is rallying the indie game developer community with a service it calls Greenlight.

Greenlight is a community that will feature indie developer games for Steam community members to vote on.  Similar to voting-type websites like Reddit and Digg, Greenlight will take the power of the existing Steam community, reps say, and give gamers a voice as to what is featured on Steam.

According to Valve, the goal of this platform is to engage more indie game developers, their fans and get their content visible to a wider PC gaming community.

Using a self guiding type approach, Greenlight will allow indie game developers to submit their games for review by the community.  In turn, Steam users will be able to select games they like.  Top rated games will ultimately win a slot in the Steam Store and be featured by Valve for the entire community to enjoy.  In short, this streamlines the review process of games by harnessing the power of the community.

But why now?  In Venturebeat, indie developer Dejobaan Games’ Ichiro Lambe said:

The Steam review team’s biggest problem right now seems to be volume …. they receive an overwhelming number of submissions during a week. Playing through each of them would be a full-time job for dozens. Ideally, Greenlight will help highlight the hidden gems that might otherwise fall through the cracks.

greenlight splash

The next logical step for Steam is to increase its community capabilities and this certainly is an opportunity to expand community while doing something completely different from everyone else in the space.

To this end, Greenlight is a slight departure from Steam’s day-to-day operation as a content delivery system. But it does help Valve expand Steam’s existing user profiles and groups.

In my view, the project is promising for a lot of reasons. Valve reps say it is concerned more about people gaming the system, or trying to, than it is on creating a popular site. In order to make the most of the community and provide an experience that benefits the developers as much as the voting users, Valve remains resolved to ensure abuse stays low and accessibility remains high.

In recent weeks announcements have been flowing out of Valve, including the release of the Teach With Portals initative  covered earlier this week. If executed well, this has great potential.

Stay tuned to and be on the lookout in August for a review of Greenlight when Valve releases into the wild.