What was once an arcane process of submission, finding friends of friends who knew someone at Valve, staring at empty inboxes, crossing fingers and looking into the mirror while whispering ‘Gabe Newell’ three times is now a popularity contest. Good thing?
From the close of August studios will be able to set up ‘Green light’ pages on Steam, from here the Steam community will be able to vote on who they’d like to see launched on the only PC distribution platform that truly matters. For games with existing communities (such as the one that I work on, Project Zomboid) the new system is an utter boon – for newer, perhaps more arthouse, projects getting on Steam will remain a challenge.
Popularity, arguably, isn’t always a herald of great things. If a modern Van Gogh made shooters, then we wouldn’t appreciate his genius till long after his death. If a contemporary Gauguin found his muse through point and click adventures, likewise.
Then again, in my opinion, there’s no reason that games cannot gather a head of (wait for it…) steam elsewhere before attempting to breach Greenlight. It’s probable that a community will build around the system, championing smaller games, while all of a sudden the likes of RockPaperShotgun will become powerbrokers like never before.
Greenlight removes the mystery from the Steam selection system – it brings democracy to what was once a strange oligarchic process based exlusively on white smoke appearing from a Seattle chimney. It’s resoundingly a good thing, but to get the games that deserve their place in the sun online – it’ll need your help.