Valve is doing away with Steam Greenlight and introducing Steam Direct to help games launch on Steam and get the attention they deserve.
Greenlight allowed developers to post information about their games, screenshots, and trailers. Steam users would then leave comments and suggestions and vote on whether or not they wanted to see the game on Steam. If enough voices from the community liked the title, Valve began talks with the development team to set up a timeline for its release. Valve said this process worked in the past, and that over 100 games which made $1 million each got their start on Greenlight. The company also said these games supported the idea that Steam's users enjoy a wide variety of games.
However, this also posed a problem within Greenlight. There are many games in the program, which makes it harder to find the diamond in the rough, so to speak. To that end, Valve improved some features in an effort to get more games noticed through Greenlight.
“To solve these problems a lot of work was done behind the scenes, where we overhauled the developer publishing tools in Steamworks to help developers get closer to their customers,” Valve said in a blog post. “Other work has been much more visible, such as the Discovery Updates and the introduction of features like user reviews, discovery queues, user tags, streamlined refunds, and Steam Curators.”
Even with these upgrades, Valve thinks it can further improve on the distribution and promotion system for these developers through the new Steam Direct program. If a developer wants their game to go on Steam, they will need to submit multiple documents such as a verification of the developer or studio and tax documents. Every time the developer or studio wants to submit a new game, they will have to pay a publishing fee. The amount of the actual fee is still undetermined, although Valve talked with creators and received prices between $100 and $5,000.
This new process should filter through the noise of games on Greenlight and find titles that have the potential to make it on Steam. The documentation and publishing fee should help make sure viable developers and studios will put the appropriate time and effort into making the game while also communicating with fans. Valve doesn’t have a specific release date yet for Steam Direct, but it expects to launch the service sometime this spring.