When Steam Greenlight was first announced, the idea seemed nice and simple. The Steam community would view and rate indie games, and the best would rise to the surface, ready to be fished out by Valve and given their own corner of the Steam Store. In reality, however, new batches of Greenlit games have been few and far between. It’s been so slow going that some games in the top 10 have sat unapproved for months.
The truth is this: Valve would like to Greenlight more games, but due to the way their tools are set up, they can’t. Not yet, anyway.
Valve designer Alden Kroll said that the company is Greenlighting as many games as its current setup allows for.
“We would like to Greenlight more items, but can't at this moment as a result of hard technical limits in how our tools and systems are currently set up,” he told indie developers in an online chat yesterday. “We're really trying to do this, and we're actively working on it, but it hard and is a lot of work.”
Kroll acknowledged that the issue was “important”, and confirmed that Valve have “a bunch of people working on it”.
“Unfortunately, we have limited resources at the moment, so we cannot ship every game that we want,” elaborated programmer and designer Tom Bui. “We’re working towards having an open platform that Gabe has talked about, but we’re not there yet.”
Bui said that Valve are “actively looking into” a system that would allow indies access to the Steam API to sell their games before being officially Greenlit - a plan that sounds a lot like Gabe Newell’s vision for a new, uncurated Steam.
“We’re working on something like this,” continued Kroll. “There’s a lot of unknowns and a bunch of work to get there, so we’ll see the systems evolve over time as we iterate and make progress in that direction.”
What kind of form would you like to see this new, nebulous system take?