Valve announced today that their user-voted portal to the Steam Store, Steam Greenlight, will be retiring in favour of a new scheme, Steam Direct. Once the change is made, developers can sign up and, for a yet to be determined fee, list their game directly on the store.
Previously games would need to register a certain amount of interest from Steam account holders, then Valve would assess the application and grant them entrance on a case by case basis. As part of the announcement, Valve revealed that over 100 Greenlight titles have gone on to make at least $1million each. A princely sum for many of the smaller teams that comprise most of the Greenlight submissions.
Part of the decision to move to a more direct distribution system has come from changes to Steam itself, like the introduction of the Discovery Update. That’s when Steam started to generate lists for individual users, based on their current libraries, wishlists, friend recommendations and overall popularity. Gamers were able to find a lot more of the kinds of games they’re into, which lead to more sales and more time spent playing the games people were buying.
The hope is that a lower barrier to entry coupled with better discovery tools will prevent the good games sinking amongst a sea of mediocrity, while making it easier for good niche titles to get on the platform. Having seen some very low effort titles slip onto the Steam Store already, one hopes the time saved scraping through Greenlight will be put towards curating the store. Nobody wants an experience like that of the mobile app stores, with imposters and scams galore.
Valve is currently targeting Spring 2017 (that’s Autumn/Fall in the southern hemisphere) for Steam Direct. Final application price is yet to be determined, with them considering amounts between $100 and $5,000. They’re open to feedback on that, so maybe drop them a line if you have some thoughts.
You can read the full announcement here.