Valve is replacing Steam Greenlight with Steam Direct to give developers more power to bring games to the platform.
Valve is changing the way games come to be on their platform. Previously, Valve has used Steam Greenlight to help lower the barrier of entry onto Steam for smaller developers. Developers were able to pitch their games directly to players who could vote on whether or not the game was of interest to them. To date, Steam Greenlight has brought over 6000 games to the platform, with over 5000 more being approved by the process. Valve has announced that they would be shutting down Greenlight in favor of a new system they are putting in place dubbed Steam Direct.
Valve says that Steam Direct will allow developers to submit products directly to Steam eliminating the voting process that can sometimes be a bit of a popularity contest for developers. Valve has been refining several tools including discovery updates, user reviews, discovery queues, user tags, and Steam Curators to help create an environment where the content users are exposed to is customize for them. Thus allowing developers to reach players they can connect with and allowing players to find titles that speak to them. Steam has an immense amount of content to manage and although it is not a perfect system, the goal is to expose players to games beyond the home page
“We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.”
Valve is applying a fee primarily to reduce the noise from developers submitting content that doesn’t meet Steams quality and wasting Valves resources. The precise fee was not stated however Valve suggested the fee could be between $100 and $5000 depending on the game, they are still considering the options on how to approach the fee system. For many small developers, even $100 which is similar to the cost of launching a Greenlight project, represents a significant cost barrier, let alone $5000.
Valve does not want this to be the case, Steam Direct is intended to make it easier than ever for developers to publish to steam. The goal here is to make Steam is a welcoming environment for any “developers who are serious about treating customers fairly and making quality gaming experiences.”