For all the evil Valve is guilty of with Steam, It is undeniable how much it has helped give indie games a leg up due to exposure to the Steam faithful.
What about all the games that haven't been able to get onto Steam?
Haha. I try to for once say something nice about steam.
Well I have a couple of thoughts on that. One is that while steam has helped, steam is not the solution to anything. It is not alone, nor should it be. Outlets like Desura, IGS, GoG can also share in distribution. In that respect it is actually kind of good that not every game gets green lit. In fact It would be nice if Steam was more selective because really with how many they already greenlight it is little more than a monopoly hoarding for the sake of eliminating competition. In fact if Steam were more selective, it would let those other outlets pick up the slack and you would see the emergence of cultural conditions. Sort of like in the old days of the console wars, when having a specific console meant you would get a consistent spectrum of games with similar design philosophies. I recall how the NES & SMS were basically performance wise on par, but the SMS games tended to look more grainy and darker and NES games were much more consistent with brighter color that because of less overall pixel variation less visually coarse, for example
However that leads me to the second thought. Many indie games are so tiny, niche, broken and/or incomplete that it is really hard to justify trying to sell them, much less host server space and bandwidth for digital distribution. So it is understandable that not every thing developed should by default be distributed. For example look at all the various different incarnations out there of "Slender"
While the greenlight system is far from perfect, what I was talking about was Steam long before greenlight was ever thought of. Imagine the state of Indie games today had Valve a decade ago only created steam for the digital distribution of their own proprietary software and only distributed mainstream 3rd party games. Then it becomes a question of if Steam would have become the juggernaut it is today had it not been off the backs of indie games filling in that massive library. Hard to deny the benefits of making an RPG and being able to share "shelf space" on the only place to access the PC version of the current Elder Scrolls game, or similar situations.