Valve tightens developer requirements for submitting games to Steam

Exciting news for PC gamers and developers have emerged from Valve who announced that they will stop the Steam Greenlight service, a popular voting service for developers to showcase their games to get onto the Steam store, in favour of Steam Direct.

Valve hope that by doing this they will stop the flaws of the Steam Greenlight program, whilst improving the overall quality of titles allowed onto the Steam store.

What was Steam Greenlight?

Steam Greenlight was a service that allowed developers to get their games onto Steam.  Developers who wanted to submit their titles had to pay an overall fee first of $100.  After doing that their game was allowed on the Steam Greenlight service where users could try it and vote if it was good or bad.

If it received enough positive votes it ended up on the Steam store. If it didn’t, according to developers who used the service, Valve refused to give refunds if the date of purchasing the Steam Greenlight fee exceeded two weeks or the amount of playtime of the submitted title exceeded 2 hours.  Naturally, this has angered a lot of developers.  Valve have finally released this and that is what has led them to stop the Steam Greenlight service and instead replace it with Steam Direct.

What is Steam Direct?

The key to the changes that Valve want to address lies in the name, direct.  Valve have changed the submission process to now be $100 per game, not per developer.  This was done to try to curb the amount of shovelware that was submitted because the entry to Steam Greenlight was too low.  Furthermore, all developers who submit their titles to the new Steam Direct will have to provide financial company information, like what is required to open a bank account.

Valve hopes that by increasing the difficulty to get submitted only real developers will take the time to submit their titles.  This should, in Valve’s mind, reduce the amount of shovelware submitted.  Not wanting to reply on that alone, Valve have announced that each game submitted to Steam Direct will also be fully played first by Valve employees to check the quality.

 

What does it mean for developers?

For many indie developers, it can take several years to make a game and for those developers nothing much will change.  But for those who want to put up a basic game, using Unity assets, to make some quick money, these changes will mean that they need to make a serious investment to the service.  This will more than likely put them off and they will take their games elsewhere. Some developers are optimistic of the changes, others still think it won’t make any difference to the amount of shovelware on Steam.

How does Steam Direct benefit gamers?

Unless you were heavily invested in the voting system of Steam Greenlight you won’t really see any major differences in Steam Direct.  With Steam’s refund policy now in place, that was not at the time of Greenlight, gamers can now be refunded easily if they are not happy with their purchase.  Valve hopes though that gamers will see an increase in the overall quality of titles that are submitted to the new Steam Direct service.

With these changes and the move to Steam Direct Valve are waking up to the fact that they need to improve the submission service for both gamers and developers.  By tightening the submission process Valve hopes that only serious developers will take the time to submit games to the new service.  They also hope that the new system cannot be cheated as much as Steam Greenlight, but whether this is the case remains to be seen.  The ball is firmly in Valve’s court.

Ian

References

Valve finally replaces the faulty Steam Greenlight system with Steam Direct, PCWorld, last updated February 2017

Steam Greenlight is closed, Steam Direct goes live next week, PC Gamer, last updated June 2017

Steam Greenlight is dead: Valve introduces Steam Direct, VentureBeat, last updated February 2017

Developers using Steam Greenlight’s replacement Steam Direct will be charged a $100 recoupable publishing fee, VG24/7, last updated June 2017

What Is Steam Direct, and How Is It Different from Greenlight?, How-To Geek, last updated June 2017

Valve is not giving refunds for Steam Greenlight fee, Reddit, last updated March 2017