Valve will be shutting down Steam Greenlight — which was used by many developers to bring their games to Steam directly. In its place will be a new system called Steam Direct.
“After the launch of Steam Greenlight, we realised that it was a useful stepping stone for moving to a more direct distribution system, but it still left us short of that goal. Along the way, it helped us lower the barrier to publishing for many developers while delivering many great new games to Steam. There are now over 100 Greenlight titles that have made at least $1 Million each, and many of those would likely not have been published in the old, heavily curated Steam store,” a post from the company on the Steam Community blog reads.
According to Valve, Greenlight brought to light major concerns that it needed to solve.
“Greenlight also exposed two key problems we still needed to address: improving the entire pipeline for bringing new content to Steam and finding more ways to connect customers with the types of content they wanted.”
The post goes on to highlight what you can expect from Steam Direct, namely a stricter vetting process, application fees, and documentation needs not too removed from what’s needed to open a bank account.
“The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling “Steam Direct,” is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. 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,” the company claims.
Valve is still mulling over a publishing fee for Steam Direct. It states that several developers and studios it spoke to responded with amounts as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. It’s still gathering feedback before deciding.
Considering how some game makers abused Steam Greenlight to launch games which were of poor quality, with some going as far as to even sue Steam commenters for criticising their games, this is a welcome move as it ensures a necessary barrier to entry, hopefully preventing shovelware.