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Say goodbye to Steam Greenlight - and hello to Steam Direct

13 February 2017
Say goodbye to Steam Greenlight - and hello to Steam Direct

Five years after announcing SteamGreenlight, Valve today said that it will be pulling the plug on the "democratic" system that allows Steam users to choose which game is worthy enough to be vetted for inclusion via the software distribution platform. Without Greenlight, many of these likely would not have entered the old, curated Steam store.

The flawed popularity contest that is Greenlight is finally being killed off by Steam to be replaced by a new system called, Steam Direct.

Valve's Steam Greenlight system encouraged video game developers to get upvotes from video game fans.

No more voting, no more gauging of consumer interest; with Steam Direct, developers complete a package of personal/company verification, tax documents, and other paperwork, and then submit as many titles as they want, paying an additional "recoupable application fee" for each individual submission. Conversely, if the fee ends up being too high, developers with very promising ideas for games but are cash-strapped could be blocked from entering the platform because of monetary constraints, which can be a potential problem. Once developers have applied and are accepted into the Steam Direct program; they'll have to pay a refundable application fee for each new game they wish to distribute through Steam.

Alden's post talks about how Steam has changed over the last 13 years. Thus, we now have Steam Greenlight. Now Valve is shuttering the Greenlight community for Steam Direct. That's why Steam Direct is becoming a thing now.

The coming Steam Direct system's only barrier would be paperwork and a fee. Developers paid a small fee, put their game on there and saw the community vote on whether they wanted it on Steam proper. Steam is weighing how high to set its publishing fee, which they say could be anywhere from $100 to $5,000. Valve also started honoring refund requests for games that had been played less than two hours in under two weeks, helping users be less wary of taking a chance on an unknown game. "There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we'd like to gather more feedback before settling on a number".

The publishing fee for Steam Direct hasn't been finalized yet, and neither has the launch date of the new program. But the sheer flood of games pouring on to the platform makes it hard for anyone to find signal in the noise - and if Steam Direct doesn't address that issue squarely, it'll only get worse from here.

The fee is meant to reduce spam submissions, and it can be recouped by a developer if its game sells.