Valve takes on Kickstarter with ‘Steam Greenlight’

Modeled off of crowd sourcing, Valve is giving the Steam community the power to decide the next games that get distributed through Steam.

Valve is putting the power of selecting the next Steam games in the hands of its users. Today Valve announced “Steam Greenlight,” a new system of crowd sourcing votes from its community to select the next indie games that will be distributed through Steam’s network. The platform is set to be launched by the end of August.

Developers interested in the possibility of distributing their games through Steam may submit their game concept and seek the support of the Steam gaming community regardless of the stage of game’s development.

“Developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support,” Steam wrote in a statement.

Developers can keep fans of their game updated throughout the game’s development process from start to finish by responding to feedback and answering questions. If Valve believes that the game garners enough support from the Steam gaming community, the finished product will be selected for distribution.

The decision process for selecting the games to release has always been left up to a select few decision makers at Valve. But the process has been far from fool-proof. “There are titles that have tied up this internal greenlight group in the past, and we knew there had to be a better way,” Valve revealed. Opening up “Greenlight” to the public, Valve hopes, will be an efficient and faster strategy for deciding on the games that will make it onto the distribution slate.

It’s a clever strategy that has been modeled off of the crowd-sourcing success of Kickstarter and IndieGoGo game campaigns. Even Amazon Studio, in its first-time foray into original programming, launched its own platform to crowd source short films and Web series. Similarly, Valve will be able to gauge projected sales based on the volume of consumer demand for pitched games, but more importantly, Valve likely hopes to find and work with hidden indie gems like the next Minecraft that otherwise may not have considered Steam as a viable distribution platform.

“After all, it’s the community that will ultimately be the ones deciding which release they spend their money on,” said Valve.

The launch of “Greenlight” is just over one month away, but it’s evident that Valve has yet to finalize its selection criteria. “It’s going to change during the first few days/weeks since we don’t know what kind of traffic to expect,” said Valve.

One thing is certain. The number of votes a game gets will not be the only factor in the decision. “Part of the drive for this system is the need for customers to help us prioritize which games they want to see made available on Steam. So the specific number of votes doesn’t matter as much as relative interest in a game compared with other games in Steam Greenlight.”

Published on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM