Time to Evolve: Valve Dumping Steam Greenlight

Out with the old and in with the new - Steam Greenlight is facing curtain's call according to Valve's Gabe Newell.

Valve's Steam Dev Days conference is a two-day gamer developer's conference in Seattle for professionals to meet in a relaxed, off the record environment, with over 2,000 attending development professionals. The event is closed off from the press, but details about the future of Steam have managed to slip out - notably, that Valve is promising that Steam Greenlight will eventually "go away."

Until now, Steam Greenlight has been Valve's way of crowdsourcing game submissions, helping indie developers carve out a place in the Steam marketplace. But Valve admits that the implementation has been less than perfect - and has been almost from the moment it was launched. 

From July of last year, in response to putting notoriously terrible game Infestation: Survivor Stories as a Daily Deal: 

"We realize that we are failing in this regard and are working to fix it. We've made some good progress, but we aren't where we want to be yet," Valve's Tom Bui said. "However, because of this progress, we have been Greenlighting more titles within the past couple months (with a small pause for the Summer Sale), but it's still not enough and we are fully aware of that."

But the problems went beyond the necessary improvements to the back end, and the decision to pull the service (in its current incarnation at least) has been floating around for a long while.

Even as early as February of last year, during a talk at the University of Texas, Valve's Gabe Newell discussed the possibility of dropping Greenlight:

"We came to the conclusion pretty quickly that we could just do away with Greenlight completely, because it was a bottleneck rather than a way for people to communicate choice. ... Greenlight is a bad example of an election process. ... We should stop being a dictator and move towards much more participatory, peer-based methods of sanctioning player behavior.”

Now, with over 75 million registered users, Steam is moving onto new horizons (namely with their SteamOS), and Greenlight is on its way out the door says Newell, according to VentureBeat:

"Our goal is to make Greenlight go away. Not because it's not useful but because we're evolving."

Newell didn't specify what Greenlight might possibly evolve into (if any semblance of the service will in fact remain), but it does point to a friendlier Steam platform that allows small developers an easier path to publishing their games.

To further help them achieve that, all of the 2,000 developer attendees are receiving a free Steam Machine to help them with future development.

What do you think? Will you miss Steam Greenlight?

Featured Columnist

Avid PC gamer and long-time console lover. I enjoy sneaking, stealing everything not nailed down, and shooting zombies in the face. I'm also a cat.

Published Jan. 20th 2014
  • Illutian
    So long as the Greenlight is replaced with a similar service. I see no issue.

    But if they [Valve] are taking away Indies' ability to self-publish. Then that's BS.
    ...and I'm pretty sure Valve wouldn't want to do that.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    I don't think they do, the Greenlight program is still ridiculously popular in spite of its flaws. But I think they simply want a better system to do it with.
  • Samuel F
    Featured Contributor
    It's a pity because so many great Steam games have come from the Greenlight program. It sounds like what we might end up with will still function in a similar manner though, only time will tell.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    They're still pumping out Greenlit titles in the meantime, but I think they're trying to get rid of the backlog somewhat as they figure out what will come after it. I hope for a better system.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    As long as they replace it with something else, I am okay with this. There have been a lot of good games greenlit, but a whole lot of low quality games have gotten the OK via Greenlight as well. Hopefully if they choose another type of program for allowing lesser-known indies on Steam with higher quality control.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    I would like higher quality control. Some of the ones that have come out (the one that was riding on DayZ's coattails for example) were poorly done and should never have been given the chances that other, better, games never had.
  • DemonicSkies
    I hope it actually gets replaced and not just removed. That would be a blow to indies. Regardless of Greenlight's flaws, it is still a way for indies to get a chance at making it big.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    To me it sounds like Steam doesn't look like it wants to drop indie support, it just wants a better system to facilitate it.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    I'm glad it's going? The process, from some of the devs I've talked to, is incredibly convoluted and dark. Hopefully it gets replaced with a better system.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    Agreed, there have always been problems with it, and if they can come up with a better system, more power to them!
  • Big Chief 1
    Featured Correspondent
    I'm disappointed to see Greenlight go, due to some really good games surfacing like Savant - Ascent and others. There's only been a few major flops that were released, but most of the others were pretty good. Oh well, I'm not in control of it I suppose.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    It will be replaced, Steam is not abandoning the indie scene just yet, though they haven't announced what they think would be better.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    Please don't scorn me, but I don't even have a Steam account.

    I hope they still keep the idea of Greenlight going forward.
  • Big Chief 1
    Featured Correspondent
    Say what?! Haha
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    I'm impressed too... how did you avoid Steam sales for so many long years?

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