Steam Greenlight will metamorphose into Steam Direct

The way independently-created games are making their way to Valve's Steam service is about to undergo a big change. According to a post on its official blog, Valve will be replacing Steam Greenlight with a new and very different service called Steam Direct, starting this spring.

Steam Greenlight debuted in the summer of 2012 and provided a pathway for independent developers to make their way onto the enormous Steam marketplace. The service allowed developers to submit their games for approval by the community. Users vote on the titles they like and in turn help Valve decide which games actually become available on Steam.

Steam Direct kicks the doors wide open on that idea. To put a game on Steam through the Direct initiative, no voting or popularity contests are required. Valve says in its post that developers will fill out a set of digital paperwork "similar to the process of applying for a bank account." Then they'll pay a "recoupable application fee" that Valve says hasn't been set but will be somewhere between $100 and $5,000, depending on the feedback the company gets from active and prospective developers.

Games are being added to Steam at a faster pace than ever. More games have been added to Steam overall in 2016 than in any other single year, accounting for 38% of all games currently on the service. It's already tough to dig through the piles of junk games to find good ones, even with Greenlight supposedly helping to filter them. If Valve sets the Steam Direct fee too low, it could make the problem even worse. On the other hand, setting the fee too high may push out developers with smaller budgets or in developing countries. Communities have also used Greenlight as an excuse and method to harass developers, and developers in turn have used game keys to bribe their way into pledges from gamers.

Valve is a game company beloved by many gamers, but its reputation for taking care of the services has suffered in recent years—digging around in places like the Steam subreddit reveals countless stories of disappointment by users and developers alike. Steam Direct has the potential to improve on the idea started by Greenlight, but Valve will need to devote time and energy to making it work rather than just putting up a kiosk in their already-cluttered store and hoping everything works out.

Comments closed
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 3 years ago

    I think Steam Direct should be bifurcated away from the rest of the site. That is, Steam Direct should be its own sister site where people go to wade into garbage to find gems. Regular Steam goes back to the way it once was and is a place for only developers whose games average at Positive.

    Yeah, Activision’ll get shoved in with the crap, but hey… if the word fits…

      • superjawes
      • 3 years ago

      This is what I would like to see. Main (or “real”) Steam can be the curated part where developers/publishers have already been vetted through basic quality control. That even provides a pathway to move from the Direct store to the main one.

    • squeeb
    • 3 years ago

    It will improve over time. I remember when Steam was first released the damn friends list didn’t work for like literally months at a time.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    Simple solution:

    Split up the Steam DRM/client/etc. and the Steam Storefront.

    Once steam is competing on an equal basis with other stores everyone benefits.

    Valve continues to get the fees from developers for using their infrastructure/DRM and can ramp up the minimum standards for the steam store to remove the rubbish.

    Developers get more choice where they’d like to sell games from without the elephant in the room of the wider steam storefront availability due to valve aggressively installing it with every game. I’m sure we’d soon see stores specialising in new developers take on a greater prominence and independence.

    Users no longer have to put up with third party advertising with their games.

    • One Sick Puppy
    • 3 years ago

    Steam Greenlight has always signaled red-flags for me.

    • strangerguy
    • 3 years ago

    I won’t be remotely surprised there will be even more of those creepy anime-hentai love simulators finding it’s way into Steam.

      • LostCat
      • 3 years ago

      Which would be awesome.

        • One Sick Puppy
        • 3 years ago

        Ayup. I’ll take hooters over guns anyday.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 3 years ago

    Sort by tag “simulation”

    >WWE RAW 2017
    >RUST
    >CALL OF DUTY: FUTURE WARFARE

    Needless to say, steam has some issues

      • green
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<][b<]Sort[/b<] by tag "simulation"[/quote<] maybe you should filter by that tag instead

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      Are you suggesting CoD isn’t realistic!?

      How dare you 😉

      • MpG
      • 3 years ago

      Agreed. We all know Rust and CoD are as fake and unrealistic as it gets.

    • MpG
    • 3 years ago

    I’m a big fan of indy game development, and I’ve had some wicked fun with a lot of indy titles, but it’s clearly TOO easy to just throw up anything. Seriously, if you can’t even manage $5000, maybe your game needs to incubate a little longer before it goes public. And if you need to crowdfund it, fine. One person actually willing to put down money means more than 99 others merely willing to click “Accept” on the Greenlight page.

    But really, fixing Greenlight is only the start of what needs to happen. Valve has utterly let themselves go due to laziness, and it obviously isn’t due to lack of revenue. Every new revamp of the steam page completely ignores that the searching and filtering system is still from the stone ages. No tab system to let you load up game screens while you continue to browse. You buy anything, and you’ve cursed yourself to have your store page flooded with crap games that happen to have a similar tag. God help me, I bought a game with the tag “Pixel Graphics”, and now I’m getting carpet bombed with everything that snuck through Greenlight. I desperately need an “Ignore games with _____ tag” option.

    • NoOne ButMe
    • 3 years ago

    YAY!

    I think Valve should do it where if there is already a game not recouped by developer on Steam, the fee should be much higher.

    Like, $250 for first game, and $5000 per game until the first is recouped. For a $5 game, this would mean 167 copies sold at that price. Assuming that the cut Steam would take is what is fully counted toward “recouping” the cost. As some have theorized.

    Most Indie developers that we would want on Steam have one game with lots of effort/work. So this would mostly hit the “developers” who shovel out cr*pware.

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    Greenlight was great, at first. The problem is that it exposed all of the problems with Valve’s storefront…and now searching sucks.

    I don’t want to wade through 15,000 versions of the same crappy game that I don’t want to look at.

      • nanoflower
      • 3 years ago

      You don’t want 100 versions of Flappy Bird to choose from?

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      how about 14,999 versions? /sarcasm

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    95% of everything on Steam is junk.

    That 5% of good games is still ten times more total games than any other digital storefront, probably more than all of the others combined.

    I agree with others here that Steam needs filters – filter by release date, not the date it was addeed to Steam. Filter by release platform – We can eliminate all the Flash and HTML5 games that are offered for free elsewhere in a browser. What would be equally nice would be to filter by worldwide sales estimates so that we can see what’s an AAA game and what’s a very polished but ultimately shallow one-man-show.

    • psuedonymous
    • 3 years ago

    Now, will the ‘recoupable application fee’ be merely a ‘you get it refunded if your application is accepted (i.e. not blatant crapware)’, or will it be ‘returned’ as upfronted fees?
    i.e. If you paid $1000 for application, and you sell your game for $10, Valve would normally take $3.33 of that (their 30% cut). Instead of getting the $1000 back as a lump, your first 300 sales would pay you the full $10, and every subsequent sale you’d get the normal $6.66 share. For Valve, that would mean even for games that fail to sell well they’d still get a good payout, and in any case they’d still get that $1000.

    In theory an up-front charge reduces the tide of crapware by bleeding repeat offenders, though unless they force all past Greenlight applications to go through the new process there’s still an existing sea of crap any new games will need to wade through. And it only works if the fees are high enough that they make crapware unprofitable rather than merely less profitable.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      I suggest 3.33 be edited to 3.00, to reflect proper 30% <3

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Then they'll pay a "recoupable application fee" that Valve says hasn't been set but will be somewhere between $100 and $5,000, depending on the feedback the company gets from active and prospective developers.[/quote<] I think we can all predict how this will go: - Big developers will advocate big fees so there's less indie competition - Small developers will advocate smaller fees so there's less up-front cost to getting published on Steam

      • LostCat
      • 3 years ago

      And more completely worthless products on Steam woo woo. (Not that there weren’t plenty of those with Greenlight…)

    • Kairu43
    • 3 years ago

    In effort to help, the second sentence contains the following:
    “Valve will be replacing Steam Greenlight will be replaced…”

    The rest looked good to me 🙂

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      Ack, thanks, Mr. Editor. Fixed.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]"Valve will be replacing Steam Greenlight will be replaced..."[/quote<] That sounds like a perfectly Valve thing to do.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        They just mean that this will be the replacement for Greenlight’s successor. It’ll all happen in the course of 3 months.

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