(Almost) everyone wins if Steam does self-publishing right

Valve have been pretty open about the idea of reducing manual curation, eventually killing off Greenlight and opening up access to their distribution platform. Recent comments only confirm it – Gabe says self-publishing on Steam is something they want to allow. There’s always lots of gnashing of teeth when it comes to ‘app stores’, discoverability and quality. Indies want their product to be been seen, purchased and played, customers want to find the stuff they like without wading through the stuff they don’t. Quality varies widely, but it’s not as simple as crap games and good games, since one man’s “Walking Simulator” is another man’s life changing experience. No single service has convincingly cracked the problem of exploiting the “long tail” of video games, efficiently finding the niche for each particular game and accurately getting the right games to the right customers (where in the extreme, some products probably have ‘no right customers’). Here’s one idea of how I see Steam self-publishing working such that Valve can exploit the long tail without losing the trust of their existing customer base: let’s call it Amber-light (“the ghetto”), followed by being Greenlit.

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