Valve is changing the way games can get onto its Steam digital storefront, as the company today announced it would be ending the Steam Greenlight program and replacing it with Steam Direct.
Launched in 2012, Steam Greenlight was intended to take curatorial duties off Valve's plate by letting the community vote for the games they wanted to see added to the store's catalog. While it accomplished the goal of allowing more developers to get their games on the service, it was rarely seen as a perfect solution, with Valve telling developers as early as 2014 that it planned to do away with the Greenlight program eventually as Steam evolved.
Sometime this spring, Valve will switch from Greenlight to Direct, which will eliminate the need for developers to seek community support before their games can appear on the storefront.
"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," Valve's Alden Kroll wrote in a post introducing Direct. "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."
Regardless of what that feedback tells Valve, Kroll emphasized that it is once again an intermediary step toward whatever form Steam will need to take in the future.
"We want to make sure Steam is a welcoming environment for all developers who are serious about treating customers fairly and making quality gaming experiences," Kroll said. "The updates we've made over the past few years have been paving the way for improvements to how new titles get on to Steam, and Steam Direct represents just one more step in our ongoing process of making Steam better."