Valve Kills Steam Greenlight; Steam Direct Launches Next Week

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Valve is looking to make changes to Steam that will make it better for everyone Valve

Valve has officially closed Steam Greenlight as of June 6. Its replacement, Steam Direct, will arrive  on June 13.

Steam Greenlight launched back on Aug. 30, 2012. In a blog post, Valve offered some interesting statistics on Steam Greenlight:

  • over 90 million votes have been cast on submissions in Steam Greenlight

  • almost 10 million players have participated in voting in Steam Greenlight

  • over 63 million gamers have played a game that came to Steam via Greenlight

  • a combined 3.5 Billion hours of game time have been spent in Steam Greenlight titles

  • some Steam Greenlight titles ( The Forest, 7 Days to Die, and Stardew Valley ) are in the list of top 100 selling games ever released on Steam

  • Steam Greenlight has driven major growth in categories of games previously considered extremely niche, such as visual novels

As for the transition period, a team at Valve will be manually reviewing the list of 3,400+ pending submissions and will be selecting the final bunch of titles to pass through Steam Greenlight.

“Our goal is to Greenlight as many of the remaining games as we have confidence in. There are some titles that will not be Greenlit, due to insufficient voter data or concerns about the game reported by voters. Titles that are not ultimately Greenlit may still be brought to Steam via Steam Direct, provided they meet our basic criteria of legality and appropriateness,” states the post.

Steam Direct’s goal is to be “understandable and predictable” for developers around the world, so the process will be simple. New developers must:

  • Fill out digital paperwork (including bank and tax info)

  • Go through a quick identity verification process

  • Pay a $100 recoupable fee for each game to be released on Steam

The $100 fee is recouped after the game has sold $1000. Also of note:

  • Prior to release, the review team will still install each game to check for correct configuration, game matching description on store page, and lack of malicious content

  • Denial during Steam Greenlight’s final week does not disqualify devs from submitting to Steam Direct upon launch next week

  • Brand-new developers must wait 30 days from app fee payment until game release, allowing the Steam Direct team to review and confirm the dev’s info

  • Devs must put up a ‘coming soon’ page for a few weeks before release

WIth the new system, indie devs no longer have to persuade fans to vote for their games in hopes of securing Valve’s greenlight, which should hopefully address complaints about the uncertainty and lack of transparency in the Greenlight process. Greenlight’s original goal was to gauge possible player interest in more niche, independent or small projects by allowing Steam’s users to express their interest without the commitment of a purchase. Those games that received the most interest in the form of votes were “greenlit.”

While Valve originally intended the Greenlight system to be a way for the company to step back from individually curating every game submitted to Steam (over 4000 games were submitted last year alone), Steam Direct dispenses with the community/popularity aspect entirely. This is partially due to a drop-off in community voting involvement, especially since Steam has improved its discovery systems since launching Greenlight. Instead, with Steam Direct, devs jump through a single hoop or two and launch their game.

As for the controversial fee-per-project, this is intended to create a balance between empowering independent creators to launch their games while also discouraging trolls and low-quality multiple launches from degrading the system. Steam Early Access will not change.

What kind of change do you think replacing Steam Greenlight with Steam Direct will make in the industry? Feel free to discuss this change in our comments section below

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