News: Steam’s new Greenlight system shows the way for small developers to get their games sold through fan appeal.
With Kickstarter raising more than a few questions surrounding the ethics of putting money up-front for a product that often isn’t even in development, today’s announcement by Valve of the Greenlight community system comes as a bit of a shock. Rather thn putting their cash behind a project in the hopes of a satisfactory return, the Greenlight system encourages developers to build up fan backing, getting as many potential players on-side as they can in order to ‘seek a critical mass of community support’.
Granted, there’s a difference in approach to each service: Greenlight does rely on studios to provide their funding and drive to finish their own project, building up fan support by providing screenshots, trailers and other incentives. The main benefit of the system to budding developers is that by being able to put up early builds through the hub of the Steam network, fans and developers and create an open dialogue much sooner and simpler than managing it through a seperately hosted website.
The Greenlight system, due to start at the end of August, provides a ‘soft’ resource for developers. There are no time limits placed on projects, nor any ‘freeze-out’ periods once a project is accepted by Valve for distribution on the Steam network. As an expansion of Valve’s community support network, it’s another simple, yet potent idea – another way for fans to get involved, and another way to encourage budding developers to work within the Steam framework.