Gambitious had a great idea with their whole “Kickstarter for Videogames” thing, so it makes sense that we didn’t have to wait long for the big guns to follow suit.
Game distribution platform Steam just announced Greenlight, a system that will allow its users to cast votes to decide which new games will appear on the Steam marketplace. This will abolish, or at least mitigate, the trials of the former review process, which would often leave game developers with a “no” answer and no further explanation.
Developers will submit their project to Greenlight in the form of a branding image, a handful of screenshots, some intro footage, and tentative system requirements. Users will cast votes and offer feedback, and games that have enough “traction” compared to similar games are selected for distribution. Compare this to Kickstarter, where projects must reach a certain monetary threshold to be funded; in Greenlight, all you need is the proper attention.
The advantages of such a system for Steam are numerous:
- Games stay in Greenlight indefinitely, offering unlimited opportunities for improvement and reassessment
- It costs Steam the same (small) amount to host any game, whether it sells ten copies or ten million, so they don’t lose money by hosting smaller “indie” games
- And of course, there is an audience waiting for every approved game with open wallets
As long as Steam hammers out the kinks in the first few months of the system’s release, we’re looking at a real winner of an idea here. They could reach out to established platforms like Gambitious and Desura that have already crowdsourced games to see what pitfalls to avoid. The fact that this sort of thing has been done before bodes very well, though, and it’s always great when companies let eager audiences help create new content. I can’t wait to see what this system turns out!