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Valve Replaces Greenlight With Steam Direct

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.

  • dstarr3
    "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."

    That's not the problem at all. The problem is you can pay people to upvote your game on Greenlight and get your garbage asset flip on Steam with almost no delay.

    The problem isn't that it's hard to find a diamond in the rough. The problem is that they let their "rough" get completely out of control. You want to fix the real problem, Valve, close the floodgates and do some moderation and curation for a change. There's already a $100 barrier to entry on Greenlight and that's not stopping anyone.

    But that'll never happen, because that's less profitable. Just classic Valve completely misunderstanding the real cause of their problems.
    Reply
  • lun471k
    I just want to say that the flash video that start was about mechanical switched today and it was way more relevant that that Doom video. Good job Tom's team !
    Reply
  • nightshadexl
    All this will do is kill small indie developers. Ones that have already had success will continue to the new system but new indie developers will just have a new obstacle preventing them from reaching market.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    19280545 said:
    All this will do is kill small indie developers. Ones that have already had success will continue to the new system but new indie developers will just have a new obstacle preventing them from reaching market.

    What I'm HOPING is that the pay to entry is based on how legitimate their project looks. If it looks like you're actually hand-crafting a decent attempt at a game, awesome, $100 and you're in just like today. But if you're working on a zero-effort asset flip, that'll be $5,000, please.

    Who knows if that's how it'll actually work, though. Currently, I'm not holding my breath.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    19280183 said:
    That's not the problem at all. The problem is you can pay people to upvote your game on Greenlight and get your garbage asset flip on Steam with almost no delay.

    The problem isn't that it's hard to find a diamond in the rough. The problem is that they let their "rough" get completely out of control. You want to fix the real problem, Valve, close the floodgates and do some moderation and curation for a change. There's already a $100 barrier to entry on Greenlight and that's not stopping anyone.

    I agree. And Valve only exacerbated the problem with their trading card system, which made it easier than ever for shady "developers" to in effect pay people to greenlight their shovelware. They just need to offer free Steam keys to those who vote for their game, or who get the game as part of a cheap Greenlight bundle, and promise trading cards, so the voters will in turn be able to idle the game for a couple hours, then trade or sell away the cards in the Steam market. Once the game is on Steam, the "developer" can keep putting it into third-rate bundles where they might only make a few hundred dollars or so, but enough to more than pay for the minimal costs involved with repackaging some asset pack or unfinished student project and getting it on Steam. This junk software, in turn, floods the Steam store, making it harder to sift through and find actual decent games. There are plenty of really good games on Steam that just don't get the exposure they should, because they get lost in a sea of barely-playable cash-grabs.

    19280850 said:
    What I'm HOPING is that the pay to entry is based on how legitimate their project looks. If it looks like you're actually hand-crafting a decent attempt at a game, awesome, $100 and you're in just like today. But if you're working on a zero-effort asset flip, that'll be $5,000, please.

    That could potentially work, but it would require Valve to hire people to play each game, and to do a bit of research to make sure it's not just an asset flip, and that the developer actually has the capability of turning it into a finished product if it isn't one already. They would need multiple people to play it too, to avoid bias from a single tester. Is that something they could even do for $100? The original idea behind Greenlight was that that Valve would look over the top-rated submissions to determine which to let on Steam, but that apparently got out of hand and soon gave way to them allowing almost anything through with minimal interference.

    I suspect they'll probably decide on some fixed price, and that it will be considerably more than the existing Greenlight submission fee. And while that could help cull a lot of the asset flips and other bottom-tier shovelware, it could easily deter many legitimate new "indie" developers as well. As I mentioned above, it's easy for good games from small developers that lack advertising budgets to get overlooked on Steam. If a small developer isn't sure that their game won't get overlooked, and is already weary of potentially losing money on it, then putting themselves thousands of dollars more in the hole isn't going to help. A lot of those games might simply never get made. If Steam had done this a few years ago, before Greenlight got out of hand, when getting a game on Steam actually meant something, it could have been okay. At this point though, just getting a game on Steam does not necessarily mean it will be profitable, and the existing mountain of shovelware that's built up over the last few years isn't going anywhere. Also, there's the question of what "verification of the developer or studio and tax documents" involves. It makes it sound like a small developer without existing games on Steam might have a harder time getting their foot in the door.
    Reply
  • gergguy
    Steam is already flooded with junk games. I hope this will fix the problem and not make it worse.
    Reply
  • Killer Nads
    This is absolutely terrible news, and a huge step backwards for indie devs. Whats more this can also prove to be disastrous for VR games, most of these little VR gems have come from indie devs.

    The current system was the reason that made me decide to create my new VR game, im a solo, part-time developer that has had a design for a VR game for a few years now but only just managed to get the courage to actually learn and start developing in 2017!! Now that im about a month into my game this news comes and stabs me into the back, its really demotivating :(

    Us devs who are developing solely for VR dont have any sort of indication of how much money our game can make, VR is still a small market. $100 was just about the max i could afford to get my game on steam and try to sell it, but now with a price of up to $5000 just for entry i stand no chance! What does Valve want every indie dev to do? Do they want us all to go on Kickstarter or indiegogo and crowd fund our entry fee for Steam or something?

    This is a huge step backwards from Valve, i can only hope the entry fee doesnt go past $100 :(
    Reply
  • Killer Nads
    This is absolutely terrible news, and a huge step backwards for indie devs. Whats more this can also prove to be disastrous for VR games, most of these little VR gems have come from indie devs.

    The current system was the reason that made me decide to create my new VR game, im a solo, part-time developer that has had a design for a VR game for a few years now but only just managed to get the courage to actually learn and start developing in 2017!! Now that im about a month into my game this news comes and stabs me into the back, its really demotivating :(

    Us devs who are developing solely for VR dont have any sort of indication of how much money our game can make, VR is still a small market. $100 was just about the max i could afford to get my game on steam and try to sell it, but now with a price of up to $5000 just for entry i stand no chance! What does Valve want every indie dev to do? Do they want us all to go on Kickstarter or indiegogo and crowd fund our entry fee for Steam or something?

    This is a huge step backwards from Valve, i can only hope the entry fee doesnt go past $100 :(
    Reply