The United States has always been dedicated to free people exercising free speech and making free choices, but Americans have had more ways to express themselves to the entertainment world in the last decade or so than they’ve ever had before. American Idol might have ignited the popular form of the revolution, and in more recent years the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter has expanded it to the creation of new technology products and works of art. But gamers have seldom had the opportunities they do now that Valve has unleashed its own crowd-sourcing initiative, Steam Greenlight .
There are lots of reasons to cheer this decision, but first and foremost is that Valve isn’t interested in separating you from your money — not directly, at any rate. The entire purpose of Greenlight is for players to help Valve decide what games should next appear on the Steam download service. But you put down no money up front, which means you don’t have to worry about being out any cash if the creators can’t deliver. Not that that’s likely to be much of a problem anyway — Greenlight is more about bringing new attention to finished products than it is nurturing new titles from the embryonic state.
The process, as described on Greenlight’s “About” page , is simple: “Developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game, and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution.” Then Steam members vote, and if there’s sufficient interest, the game will be made available. When it is, and only when it is, you pay for it and download it — assuming, that is, you want it.
This is exciting for two key reasons. First, the encouragement it will provide developers: Knowing that there’s a less arcane and more publicly