Steam users may be familiar with the Indie-funding aspect of the community, known as Steam Greenlight. The community / feature is a place for small developers to get player interest and, at a certain threshold, move their game officially to the Steam Store for purchase by any Steam user. Today, Valve posted on the official Steam Community regarding Greenlight, as well as some changes coming to the program including its termination and replacement.
The full blog post, which will be linked at the source at the end of this article, details Valve’s sentiments towards Greenlight. Valve, after launching Greenlight “realized it was a useful stepping stone for moving to a more direct distribution system, but it still left us short of that goal” and with the program, over 100 Greenlit titles have made over $1 million USD each. Valve continues, writing that “[t]hese unforeseen successes made it abundantly clear that there are many different audiences on Steam, each looking for a different experience.” Obviously, Valve, but it’s great to hear that you as the corporate parent entity have realized this as well.
Valve continues, discussing shortcomings of the Greenlight platform, namely the problem of Steam users easily finding the games they’ll love on Greenlight and the actual pipeline developers send their games through from Greenlight inception to store publication. Steam has since allowed for user curation of collections of titles, as well as overhauled developer publishing tools in Steamworks. However, Valve believes that Greenlight, while highly-successful in its current form, is not the best process and method for publishing small-team efforts to the largest PC gaming marketplace.
Valve is introducing “Steam Direct”, a new system where developers sign up to publish their content on Steam with a similar application process to a bank account. Steam Direct is targeted to launch in Spring 2017. One of the aspects of Steam Direct that is likely to greatly affect developer acceptance of the new platform is a recoupable publishing fee. Valve has “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,” and that fee will determine how small or large an effort will make it through the new publication process.
As with all new programs that have yet to be publicly implemented, there are no determinate numbers yet on fees, or what the actual effect of Steam Direct replacing Greenlight will be. As the feature continues to develop and finally launches, be sure to stay tuned to Rectify Gaming for the latest developments.