Steam Greenlight, Valve's "vote whether these games deserve to be on Steam" program, is less than two years old and now on its way out, albeit slowly.
The service has received plenty of criticism, especially from developers of less "traditional" (read: less shooty) games who felt the popularity contest nature of Greenlight was easily manipulated against titles that otherwise should've landed on the service.
Valve confirmed at Steam Dev Days that it plans to phase out the service. "Our goal is to make Greenlight go away. Not because it's not useful, but because we're evolving," said managing director Gabe Newell in his welcome address.
Whether this means Valve will move to a multiple-storefront system, as Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail predicted to PCGamer last week, it's hard to say — but I certainly won't shed many tears for Greenlight once it's gone.
Early Access is, of course, the other big trend in PC gaming these days and it's looking fairly entrenched. It's popular among consumers because they can pay to play a game before its proper release and (potentially) have a say in the development process. It's popular among independent developers because it helps fund a studio prior to the game's release, gives the studio a built-in base for quality assurance and bug-testing, and allows the team to react quickly to feedback.
How popular, though?
Well, one in ten games released on Steam in 2013 fit under the Early Access banner. That's a lot of unfinished games. And since the standalone, Early Access version of DayZ just sold a million copies in a mere four weeks, don't expect this trend to disappear anytime soon.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.