I have friends in the indie gaming scene and they would love to get their game on the largest PC platform - Steam. The only problem is that Steam has an approval process that can leave a game in Steam's version of purgatory for months on end. Valve is hoping to speed up that process with Steam Greenlight.
Steam Greenlight is pretty revolutionary as far as digital distribution goes because it puts the fate of indie games into the hands of the gamers. It's kind of like the Steam Workshop in that the users will be the ones rating and categorizing the content based on ratings and interest. Expect a similar experience, but it will feature full fledged indie titles instead of mods.
Here's Valve's take on what makes Steam Greenlight different from everything else out there:
The prime difference is the size of the team that gets to decide what gets released. For many stores, there is a team that reviews entries and decides what gets past the gates. We're approaching this from a different angle: The community should be deciding what gets released. After all, it’s the community that will ultimately be the ones deciding which release they spend their money on.
If a developer is interested in getting their game up on Steam Greenlight, they're going to need a few things. You'll need a square branding image to represent the game, at least one video, four screenshots and a written description alongside tentative system requirements. As for platforms, the games must supports Windows PCs, but Mac support is welcome as well.
Steam Greenlight has massive potential to change the way indie games are discovered. Microsoft experimented with a similar idea in Xbox Live Indie Games, but they left the approval process up to other game developers. Greenlight expands the approval process to the millions of gamers on Steam who are more passionate about indie titles than anybody else.
Steam Greenlight will open its doors at the end of August for submissions. Indie developers can submit proof of concepts before the game is actually ready to drum up hype, but there must be at least one playable level before it can be submitted for approval.