Just last month we shared the news about Steam’s “Kickstarter without the money” program Greenlight. It’s because we love sharing. And so, it seems, does Valve, who pitched the service as a way to put the publishing power more squarely in the hands of fans. Today, the digital download giant took Greenlight live, and we’re here to share some of the details. Doesn’t it all feel so warm and fuzzy?

Located at http://steamcommunity.com/greenlight/, the service is already host to over 100 uploaded projects from one-man teams, indie duos, and small studios; all of them would-be Steam hits waiting for your approval. As a reminder, the service  gives developers and publishers the chance to showcase a new project, an existing title making its way to Mac or PC, or even an experimental prototype in front of Valve’s massive community – all with the chance to get published on Steam itself. 

As Valve sees it, this is a way for potential customers to become early evangelists while taking an active hand in appraising a game, sharing their opinion, and giving it a thumb-up of approval. Because the developers need to get down into the mud and spread the word to garner positive ratings, Greenlight is positioned as a service that will strengthen the relationship between game makers and their audience. Meanwhile, Valve will still oversee the process by having the final say on which highly sought-after prospects make the leap from the Greenlight garage to having a personal address in Steamville. There will be an emphasis, they say, on high quality content; they even plan to court developers whose work is getting noticed in the greater blogosphere and asking them to use the service. 

news

Amid the early adopters hoping to get a piece of the release buzz are some great titles that have already passed through Gamezebo’s hands, including Paper MonstersSlingshot Racing, and McPixel. More excitingly, however, there are games whose names I don’t recognize, from developers using the service as intended: to take their first crack at publishing something. As with Kickstarter, we will surely need to wait until the first successfully “greenlit” projects hit the service at large to see the quality, judge how fans react, and observe what kind of entitlement complex develops among the thousands of mini-executives voting with their virtual thumbs. 

In the mean time, let’s continue the tradition of sharing. Make your way over to Greenlight and scope out a few projects that catch your eye! Become promoters, spread the word, and help some great games make money. 

Oh — and while you’re at it — be sure to check out a selection of these games first hand as part of the pay-what-you-want Green Light Bundle.