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Steam Greenlight is a new system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the next games to be released on Steam. Developers post information, screenshots, and videos for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution. Steam Greenlight also helps developers get feedback from potential customers and start creating an active community around their game as early in the development process as they like.
Over the many years that Steam has been selling games, the release rate of games on Steam has continued to grow significantly. But given Steam's existing technological pipeline for releasing games, there's always been a reliance on a group of people to make tough choices on which games to not release on Steam. There are titles that have tied up this internal greenlight group in the past, and we knew there had to be a better way.
With the introduction of the Steam Workshop in October 2011, Steam established a flexible system within Steam that organizes content and lets customers rate and leave feedback. This opened up a new opportunity to enlist the community's help as we grow Steam and, hopefully, increase the volume and quality of creative submissions.
We know there is still a lot of room for improvement in making Steam distribution easier and faster; this is just a first step in that direction.