Gabe Newell: Steam Greelight Isn’t Perfect, Will Continue to Evolve
Valve Software head talks about improving and changing aspects of Greenlight such as the voting system.
It’s been one year since Steam first introduced Greenlight, it’s indie game selection process that allowed the community to choose the games they want to see retail on the Steam Store. While many improvements have been made and are in the pipeline for Greenlight, Valve Software boss Gabe Newell believes there’s still much work to do.
In conversation with Gamasutra, Newell stated that, “The immediate goal was to give us more data in the selection process as we ramp up the tools needed to get us to our longer term goal of improving the overall throughput of the system.
“Before Greenlight, folks would send mail to us mail or fill out the posted submission form, hope that someone saw it and liked it, and waited in the dark for a reply. While it is not perfect, Greenlight helped us pull that process out of the dark and help with the selection process.”
There’s been talk of doing away with the voting and selection system, automating the process instead. Newell talks about developers possibly establishing their own stores through the Greenlight API. “Ultimately, we hope to increase our throughput so significantly that the conversation about selection becomes antiquated. Then we can debate our ability or inability to properly aggregate and display the increased volume of titles being offered.
“Votes on Greenlight provide a useful point of data in gauging community interest, but we’re aware that votes alone may be an inexact form of gauging customer interest. So we also try to incorporate additional information we have about factors such as press reviews, crowd-funding successes, performance on other similar platforms, and awards and contests to help form a more complete picture of community interest in each title.
“Much of the evolution of Steam and Greenlight is driven by what the community of gamers and developers tell us they want to see made possible. Right now, we’re focused on expanding the depth and breadth of our catalog. That expansion and addition of content is going to come with a need to innovate and iterate on how customers browse for games and evaluate potential purchases.
“Evolving our tools to allow us to publish more titles more frequently is the solution for the bottleneck. We’re working on it, and the 100 [Greenlighted games batch] was a big step towards the long term goal. This latest batch is both a celebration and a stress test of our systems. Future batches may not be as large but, if everything goes smoothly, we should be able to continue increasing the throughput of games from Greenlight to the store.”