July 9, 2012 at 8:18 PM ET
Steam is by far the dominant game distribution system on PCs, but like any other virtual marketplace there must be a submission process, review period and so on. Many games are submitted, but some slip through the cracks or wait while less worthy competitors are made available. Valve is hoping to fix this with Greenlight, a section of Steam where gamers can vote on games they'd like to see offered for sale.
Developers will be able to put their game into the system regardless of how small, incomplete or buggy it may be, and the community will rate it. If a game is getting a lot of interest, Valve will reach out and see about putting it up in Steam proper.
All you need is a game and some video and screenshots of it in action — which means lots of smaller indie developers can put up their random experiments and small games, and trust the community to sort out what's good. There are already lots of forums and specialty sites for this, but Steam has a huge international community and could help a game find the audience it needs to succeed.
Valve plans to launch the service at the end of August.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.