Gabe Newell: Steam Greenlight is "a bad example of the election process"

Steam Greenlight

Last week, Valve boss Gabe Newell visited the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs and spoke about the "bottleneck" of Steam's current approval process and possible solutions for getting rid of the red tape. Part of the problem, Newell explained, is the mediocre headway from the Steam Greenlight voting system, "a bad election process" that may even be axed in the future.

"It's probably bad for the Steam community, in the long run, not to move to a different way of thinking about that," Newell said. "In other words, we should stop being a dictator and move towards much more participatory, peer-based methods of sanctioning player behavior. Greenlight is a bad example of an election process. We came to the conclusion pretty quickly that we could just do away with Greenlight completely, because it was a bottleneck rather than a way for people to communicate choice."

Greenlight certainly suffered a rocky launch back in August, with scores of fake submissions peppering the genuine efforts from indie developers. Valve implemented a $100 submission fee as a quick fix, but a larger question looms: are voters part of Steam's "dictatorship"? Are good games going unnoticed simply because someone gave a thumbs-down for arbitrary reasons such as "too anime" or "looks dumb," and would replacing it with something else entirely transform Steam into the publishing paradise Newell envisions? Let us know what you think of Greenlight in the comments.

Thanks, Gamasutra .

Omri Petitte

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?