Valve have just revealed Steam Greenlight - a new route for indies to getting games onto Steam that harnesses the power of the Steam community to surface the best games.
Speaking at an indie game event in London, Valve explained that the Steam Greenlight process will function in a similar way to how the Steam Workshop works - the community will preview and rate new games. The hope is that the best of those new games will then rise to the top, and enter Valve's approval process.
In a Q&A posted on the Steam Greenlight site, Valve explain that "developers post information, screenshots and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution." The Greenlight process was born out of the Steam Workshop, where modders can have their creations rated and celebrated by the gaming community. "This opened up a new opportunity to enlist the community's help as we grow Steam and, hopefully, increase the volume and quality of creative submissions.
For indie game developers, getting onto Steam can be extremely lucrative, but the approval process is opaque, and Valve rarely comment on why games are turned down. Valve, and the indies hope, is that by harnessing gamers to play and rate games, the Valve team will be able to turn round approvals much faster. They say that their approval process will mostly be around to check the game is functional.
On the financial side, Valve won't discuss the revenue share, beyond saying it is "industry standard." Valve will take down any games with explicit sex or offensive content.
Valve also promise that they are working on more initiatives to give more developers a chance at Steam's market. "We know there is still a lot of room for improvement in making Steam distribution easier and faster; this is just a first step in that direction." Steam Greenlight will see its first games added to platform in the coming weeks, ahead of its launch in August.
The Greenlight site is now live. We'll update the story with more information as soon as it comes in.
Correction: in an original version of this story, we said that the community would be able to play the games. This is not true.
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