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Valve set to replace Greenlight with Steam Direct

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Valve have finally announced what they suggested they would do at the first SteamDevDays, Greenlight is being thrown out. It will be replaced by 'Steam Direct', which may still require a payment from developers.

Steam Direct' is set to go live around Spring this year. They will ask all developers to file some digital paperwork, verification and tax documents. They will then need to pay a 'recoupable application fee' for every title they wish to distribute on Steam. Valve have asked numerous developers about the fee, the responses went from $100 to $5,000.

I hope they get rid of the fee altogether to get on Steam, they said it themselves they've made a fair amount of money thanks to letting these "smaller" game get on Steam:
QuoteThere 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.

I'm a little torn by the idea of this. Greenlight wasn't exactly a great system, as it was open to a lot of abuse by developers (voting for keys and so on), but this doesn't sound much better. Having a much more open system with no fees would remove a lot of the hassle while Valve is still likely to make a ton of money, I mean Valve do take a cut of all sales at around 30% anyway so what do Valve have to lose? Of course, even more trash will make it through, but that is why we exist, why Steam curators exist, Steam reviews and so on. Steam and the internet as a whole has many systems ready to help people sift through junk.

The amount of games on Steam has been increasing constantly, so it was time for Valve to do something at least. It's a step in the right direction to me, but not enough. They are going to need to do something about their "newly released" lists, as they will get rammed. Allowing only a certain amount per-day or some such system would help and not allowing developers to flood it with DLC will certainly help even more too.

Valve need to be very careful if they do introduce a fee per-game, since it could end up locking out less fortunate developers, who might have a really fantastic game.

Still, I do wish more people payed attention to itch.io. They have a great store and an open source client. Valve could learn a bit from them I think, but then itch could learn from Valve a little too. I do like the fact that Valve are being more open with their communication and their plans, this is good. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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31 comments
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Cheeseness 10 February 2017 at 8:03 pm UTC
Greenlight's fee was added after the service was launched in response to the number of "Half-Life 3" and other joke/not serious submissions. IMO the fee was a fairly ham fisted way of addressing that problem, but it seems like it was embraced by the developer community and is here to stay.

The interesting thing about Steam Direct seems to be that there's no indication of there being a voting process involved. Maybe we're about to see Steam move entirely away from curation and embrace the kind of anything-goes approach that Itch.io has (this would be good IMO).
Eike 10 February 2017 at 8:08 pm UTC
QuoteThey are going to need to do something about their "newly released" lists, as they will get rammed.

There already is a list of "popular new games", though:
http://store.steampowered.com/search/?filter=popularnew&sort_by=Released_DESC&os=linux
Spud13y 10 February 2017 at 8:11 pm UTC
I'm more concerned about the trash that litters the store. Developers like Digital Homicide can just release utter garbage and not care about upkeep. There's a game called Sunken that's abandoned by developers (I can't find their website or Facebook page either). Fallout 3 is being sold broken on Windows and Valve isn't holding Bethesda accountable.

There has to be standards that Valve must enforce. If a game is in early access for more than a few years, the developers would have to prove that they are making progress on it. If not, their game goes bye-bye. If games are on the store with negative reviews (like when you search a game and you see a red thumbs-down), the developers would have to either work on bettering the game or the game gets taken off the store.

I hope that this is actual reform, but I know better so I won't hold my breath.
HadBabits 10 February 2017 at 8:13 pm UTC
I share your love for Itch.io, but I disagree that Valve should seek to emulate them, at least as far as putting out new games is concerned. I think steam should be more for the creme dela creme developers, or at least ones who have their shit together Itch keeps it open and welcomes new and old developers alike, which is awesome, but when I go to steam and anticipate spending more money I expect more polished products.

Personally I think the fee should go for at least $500-$1000. Not a perfect solution, but I feel like it will shift a lot of the games more suited for places like Itch, like the game I'm currently developing :B, and in turn result in a better storefront on Steam.
Beamboom 10 February 2017 at 8:20 pm UTC
The fee is a very good idea. If you can't dig up a thousand dollars to place your product in a distro channel like this then you're simply not ready to start a serious business yet, or are just joking about.
ravenmocker 10 February 2017 at 9:47 pm UTC
BeamboomThe fee is a very good idea. If you can't dig up a thousand dollars to place your product in a distro channel like this then you're simply not ready to start a serious business yet, or are just joking about.

I agree completely, I think a fee will Improve the quality of games on Steam also developers will have to come more prepared. As others have said there is so much garbage on steam to the curators can't even keep up
Cheeseness 10 February 2017 at 9:59 pm UTC
One person's garbage is someone else's personal touchstone.

There's no way that algorithms or teams of isolated curators at Valve can pick games that are a good fit for everybody. I think it's a fundamentally flawed thing to expect from a monolithic storefront that attempts to cater to all people. This role is better filled by communities who can have deep context/genre/culture specific focuses, and most importantly can have overlap with and contradict each other about what's valued and what's not in ways that aren't possible for a storefront.

There's an interview with Gabe from a few years back where he talked about the idea of moving away from a monolithic Steam storefront and instead allowing communities, individuals and companies to have their own "Steam storefront" tailored to their specific needs and tastes. If this is still a direction for Valve (I hope it is, and replacing Greenlight with Steam Direct feels like it's in line with that), then removing store-level curation and other restrictions on what people can publish through Steam is an important step.
Solitary 10 February 2017 at 11:12 pm UTC
CheesenessOne person's garbage is someone else's personal touchstone.

Have you seen what is up on Steam Greenlight lately? Lots of the stuff can be objectively rated as garbage. Companies like Digital Homicide should be removed from Steam (thank god this one actually was), not given better opportunities how to plague the store.
ShabbyX 10 February 2017 at 11:25 pm UTC
Just an FYI, Valve takes about 10~15% of the price. It's the consoles that take crazy numbers like 30~40%.
natewardawg 10 February 2017 at 11:42 pm UTC
A one time fee of about $100 is probably a really good idea. This keeps absolute junk off of the store, but still allows for indie game startups who have already sank a ton of money into making their game, many of which just don't have $1000 more to pay to get onto the store. Absolutely free, I'm afraid, would probably allow many pretty good games to drown in the sea of not so good ones.
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