Valve has today announced that it will be extinguishing its existing Steam Greenlight programme and replacing it with a pay-to-publish platform, known as Steam Direct.
Steam Greenlight is a system whereby users of Steam, Valve’s digital PC games store, can express their interest (or lack thereof) in potential releases. When a game has garnered enough interest, it will be flagged as ‘Greenlit’, and Steam will begin to liaise with its developer/publisher about making the game available on the platform.
Now, Valve states that Steam Direct will require new developers to “…complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline”.
The amount of ‘noise’ does appear to be a legitimate concern. The system – and indeed Steam as a whole – has been criticised for the number of low-effort, low-quality titles that have become available, although it’s worth noting that not all these titles enter Steam through the Greenlight system. The “application fee” for each new title under the new Steam Direct programme has yet to be specified.
Will this herald an improvement in Steam’s overall quality? Or does Valve risk pricing out bedroom developers? We’ll have to wait until Steam Direct’s Spring 2017 debut to find out.
To find out more information about the changes to Greenlight, visit the official Steam blog page here.