Greenlight? More Like Redlight…

Steam’s Greenlight has a few shortcomings. Steam is a multi-player platform created by Valve. It is used to distribute games and other media online. Steam offers media installation and automatic management of software for multiple computers, and communal features such as friends lists. Greenlight is platform for gaming distribution made for independent developers.

ValveThe idea behind Greenlight is to get the Steam community involved in the game selection process on Steam. Every Steam member has a vote, and games with many positive votes or promise will be added to the Steam store eventually. That’s the basic concept.

Overall Greenlight was suppose to help gauge people’s interest in a game or games, and to help democratize Steam’s game selection. This democratization has not worked out. There are too many games, too many community members, too many opinions, and too few Valve employees try to keep everything under control. This led to Valve approving games by the truckload, instead of in moderation, and they ended up flooding the market.

Steam GreenlightGreenlight uses criteria that focuses on communal feedback. For example, a game with a lot of likes are more likely to get the attention of Valve moderators, and therefore has a better chance of being published on Steam. But, there is a problem with this method. Some developers would offer product keys to anyone who would “like” their game. This could lead to a skewed view of a customer’s interests, and overall makes Valve’s job harder to pick out quality content.

Even Gabe Newell (Valve’s head honcho) said that Greenlight is a “bottleneck” in what should be a more efficient process, but he and the rest of Valve haven’t done anything about it. They haven’t even taken any incremental steps in a long time. Eventually it will get better, they claim, but in the meantime gamers and developers alike are left to sit here and watch as trash floats to the top while many good games sink. High-profile voices have spoken out against this. Some have even given up hope and packed their bags.

DynostopiaOne problem that recently arose from Greenlight was a game called Dystopia. On Steam’s Greenlight page Dynostopia may look like another India game that promises a variety of features, and even has a decent looking trailer (note: it has already been taken down by the developers). Developers usually provide a free trial version to people interested in providing an accurate rating of their game. But most indie developers usually have a website set up for their games distribution, and they use Steam as a form of networking, and advertising.

In Dynostopia’s case people would access a link on Steam’s Greenlight page, and download a RAR archive. When the RAR is unpacked and the .EXE is launched Dynostopia’s malware is already in effect has has made your Steam account rate Dynostopia, write a favorable review of it, and add the game to your favorites. This malware works though background programs and modifies your files without your knowledge, and eventually ends up installing keyloggers on your computer. And eventually will end up corrupting all your files.

While Steam remains the main juggernaut for online gaming it still has problems. Valves said that change was on the way for Greenlight, but nothing has happened. And now we can only ask: Can we try something else already?

Aven Helgerson

2 thoughts on “Greenlight? More Like Redlight…

  1. I really like the idea behind the Greenlight process. I wonder if there are ways Valve could regulate the system to get rid of some of its problems. Like screening programs for viruses (if that would even be possible with the amount of games being submitted), or maybe creating a system where they will only accept games in a certain genre each month, so the amount of games needing to be approved is much smaller.

  2. With so many game creators throwing their content onto this site, I think that their is definite bottlenecking to be dealt with. I think that there needs to be a better way of filtering and sifting through the games to reduce the number of games submitted so that there can be more constructive criticism given to those that create games. A way to do this may be that the feature a game for a certain amount of time then a new game so that more games have the chance of being seen, critiqued, revamped, and maybe produced.

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