Steam Greenlight has turned one, and in a new interview Valve founder Gabe Newell has reflected on the initiative's progress thus far, discussing the service's shortcomings at this stage, and looking ahead to an improved future.
"The immediate goal [of Greenlight] 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," Valve founder Gabe Newell told Gamasutra.
"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 admitted that the selection process still wasn't as smooth as could be hoped, and that bottlenecking was a real issue, but hoped that Steam's future might see the service become a web 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."
As for voting, well Valve has had to play gatekeeper t o a certain extent, and Newell says that they're working to incorporate more information to help provide " a more complete picture" when it coms to community interest:
"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," Newell explained. "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," says Newell. "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," he added. "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."