Valve to Replace Steam Greenlight with Steam Direct Later this Year – Industry Reaction Divided
Steam Greenlight has been a less than stellar program since its launch in 2012. While it may have brought new hope to many developers, it also pushed some into the dark recesses of Steam with no chance of seeing the light again. Did it work? Kind of. Was it better than pre-Greenlight Steam? Absolutely. However, it’s still a pay-to-play popularity contest that didn’t pan out as well as Valve had hoped, which is why they are finally getting rid of it. The successor? Steam Direct. According to many indie developers, the upcoming Greenlight replacement is a step in… a direction. In a recent post to the Steam Blog, Valve announced the new feature:
The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling “Steam Direct,” is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. 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.”
In the post, they also mentioned something that seems to have gotten everybody’s attention. The potential fee for developers could be “as low as $100 to as high as $5,000.” Quite the range, don’t you think? Mind you, these numbers are not set in stone. They are merely suggestions from studios and devs that Steam spoke with. “There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.”
Naturally, many have drifted in the direction of the potential $5,000 fee when questioning Steam Direct. Creator of Mount Your Friends, Daniel Steger of Steger Games said the following:
At the same time my experience with XBLIG says $5k per title is too much. Hopeful devs will bankrupt themselves w/ no profit.
— Daniel Steger (@StegerGames) February 10, 2017
Understandably so, the main concern of that steep of a fee is that a lot of great games might never make it to the popular platform because the developers simply can’t afford it. Robert Yang said on Twitter, “uhhh a $5000 fee per game would basically shut out students / small devs / experimental people from Steam forever? also pretty bad for VR?” They aren’t wrong. $5,000 is a sizable chunk of change and would impose an incredible risk for vulnerable developers.
However, not everybody is entirely dissatisfied with the announcement. Dave Lang of Iron Galaxy took to Twitter to voice his opinions on the matter:
Unpopular Opinion: If you don't have money (be it $200 or $5000 or $Whatever) the odds of your game being a financial success is almost 0%
— Dave Lang (@JosephJBroni) February 10, 2017
Some have even expressed how the implementation of Steam Direct will drive players to other services and maybe help the lesser known video game providers. One such person counts on the “little guys” to thrive during the upcoming years. An example of a lesser known store is itch.io. Some of you may be wondering what this is. Well, it just might become a developer’s best friend in the era of Steam Direct. It operates very much like Steam, offers some great indie games, and is completely free to publish on. They even trolled the hell out of Steam when Direct was announced:
Introducing itch.io direct
— itch.io (@itchio) February 10, 2017
There’s no telling what will come of all of this. Some will think it is an improvement, while others will not. Instead of having a one-time fee with Greenlight, the “recoupable” fee each time a game is submitted may be too much for some. We’ll all just have to wait and see what Steam comes up with.
What do you think of Steam Direct, gamers and developers? Have any of you published anything to Steam through Greenlight? Are you looking forward to the new way of things? Let us know how you feel in the comments section below! In case you missed it, the Gabe hath spoken on paid mods. As always, be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter so you don’t miss out on what’s next in the gaming world!
Eric Garrett2192 Posts
Eric is an editor and writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he is not staring at a computer screen filled with text, he is usually staring at a computer screen filled with controllable animations. Today's youth call this gaming. He also likes to shoot things. With a camera, of course.