Steam Greenlight isn't perfect, but Valve is working on it.
Valve's current direction for Steam is community involvement. As a result, it launched Steam Workshop and Steam Greenlight, hoping to energize the community with user-generated content and a voice in the content going up on the distribution service's virtual shelves.
Of course, Greenlight is not perfect. There's been plenty of criticism leveled against it by developers. Though Greenlight has brought many indie greats to the storefront, indie developers criticize the lack of transparency in the decision process. And while indies can self-publish using Greenlight, plenty of indie developers who have publishers are turned away from bringing their game directly onto Steam and must go through the Greenlight process.
Destructoid pointed out one of the key examples of such criticisms. Developer Poe, the individual behind Six Sided Sanctuary, wrote a document outlining some of his grievances with Greenlight. He criticizes the fact that Valve clearly favors some games and how niche games are often left out in the cold. He also points out that Valve "encourages" new developers to submit their games through Greenlight, yet "we see new developers and publishers get pushed on through."
"If you establish a set of rules and they suck it sucks," states Poe. "But if you establish rules and break them all the time it’s bullshit. You’re marginalizing indie developers for no reason.
"TRANSPARENCY IS KEY IN THE INDIE COMMUNITY. Sony has done exactly this, and they are getting great indies on their platform left and right. Can you see the correlation?"
Valve programmer Tom Bui responded to the criticisms levied against Greenlight, acknowledging that "It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination" and that Valve's "primary problem right now is that we simply cannot ship as many games as we'd like." Unfortunately, he was loathe to go into the nature of these problems, brushing them off as things that "don't really matter to you, the developers... What matters is that we give customers the chance to buy your games and vote with their dollar."
He went on to explain that Valve was working on the transparency issue and automates a huge portion of the Greenlighting process. "[W]e're basically trying to... automate a lot of our processes... and putting tools into the hands of the developers," he stated. "We've also made the Steamworks SDK available so that developers can take a look and begin their integration before getting Steam."
Unfortunately, Tom Bui is only one individual at Valve. There's yet to be an official response from the company as a whole.