Valve is shutting off Greenlight, to be replaced with Steam Direct.
Greenlight was Valve’s crowdsourcing platform which allowed indie developers to pitch their game for voting by the steam community. If the game gets enough support and is “greenlit”, it will then be released on Steam. The Greenlight program will be replaced by a direct sign up system for developers called Steam Direct, planned for release in Spring this year.
According to the blog post by Valve employee Alden Kroll “We will ask 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.”
However, the publishing fee is still not determined yet. Valve has reached out to developers and studios quoting figures from a range of $100 to $5000 – which understandably will cause some debate. It will take some time for the company to gather a bit more feedback before settling on a number.
Initially Greenlight was an effort for Steam to involve their users in their curating process, appealing to different groups of customers and different types of players. The program has lowered barriers for publishing, allowing many smaller studios and developers to push content on steam. Since conception, Steam claims that “over 100 Greenlight titles that have made at least $1 Million each”.
Reception to Steam Direct from the community have been mixed. Greenlight wasn’t a fool proof system and was subjected to much scrutiny since it didn’t work as well as Valve hoped. However, basing on the comments rolling in on the announcement blog post; while the publishing fee will weed out most of the junks and non-committed developers, there are concerns to whether it will kill the indies too. I guess we’ll have to wait for further details from Valve on how they will be running it.