Steam Greenlight just celebrated its first year anniversary, and in a new interview Valve founder Gabe Newell has admitted that while it’s not perfect, the service will grow and improve over time.
In a Gamasutra interview, Newell reflected on Greenlight’s progress so far, and said, “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.”
Newell conceded that the Valve submission process has proven a bottleneck in bringing titles to market, but he hopes that Steam will become an API that allows developers to create their own store-front. He added, “Ultimately, we hope to increase our throughput so significantly that the conversation about selection becomes antiquated,” says Newell. “Then we can debate our ability or inability to properly aggregate and display the increased volume of titles being offered.”
On the debated nature of Steam Greenlight voting itself, Newell continued, “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.”
He concluded, “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.”
What is your take on Steam Greenlight’s first year? Has it been a success or is there much work yet to be done?