Valve is shuttering its Greenlight community program, instead moving to a more “open” system with Steam Direct, which will allow more publishers to get their games listed on Steam. With Steam Direct, developers will be able to submit their game to Valve by filling out paperwork, and pay anywhere from $100 to $5,000 in application fee to get their game distributed on Steam.
Valve mentions that the fee is “recoupable.” On its official blog, Valve detailed the reasons for the change, stating that while Greenlight was an effective distribution system for new games that relied on the community, it failed to address the quality metric for games:
After the launch of Steam Greenlight, we realized 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.
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.
With Steam Direct, Valve is looking to limit the “noise” when it comes to submissions:
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.
While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we’re still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct. We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.
It’ll be interesting to see the direction Steam Direct takes in the coming months.