Valve Kills Steam Greenlight

Valve Kills Steam Greenlight

After years of saying they’d do it, Valve is finally getting rid of Steam Greenlight, Steam’s user-driven service for admitting smaller games to the Steam store. They’re replacing it with something called Steam Direct.

Here’s how it will work:

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.

So basically, no more courting users to get their precious upvotes. Games will instead be admitted directly onto the store. According to VentureBeat, Valve will do a quick check to make sure game files run and contain, well, games, but beyond that, anybody will be able to get onto Steam. It might sound like Valve is asking for an even bigger flood of shitty games than they’re currently dealing with, but they think the current Steam algorithm, bolstered by the two recent Discovery updates, is up to the task of separating the cream from the crap.

Valve added that while Greenlight helped lower the barrier to getting games on Steam, it revealed nasty rot in Steam’ core. “Greenlight also exposed two key problems we still needed to address: improving the entire pipeline for bringing new content to Steam and finding more ways to connect customers with the types of content they wanted,” said Valve.

Valve still isn’t sure how much they will charge for Steam Direct, noting that developers they have spoken to have advocated for fees as low as $US100 ($130) to as high as $US5000 ($6513). “There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum,” wrote Valve, “so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.”

Steam Direct will take Greenlight’s place sometime this autumn.


  • I wonder where this will leave games that are made available for free? Not the free-to-play DLC-supported ones, the games that are actually completely free. It’s not super common but there’s a non-zero amount of them on Steam. Case-by-case basis?

    • As a wipeout fan, Ballistic NG springs to mind. Completely free. Under the new system as described I can’t imagine the dev would have been able to bring it to Steam under its current model.

      Yet the main culprits of shovelware will quite happily pay the fee I’m sure knowing they’ll sucker in enough people to cover the costs.

      • Agreed. BallisticNG has come leaps and bounds, and is essentially WipEout 4. Production values have gone up, everything has been overhauled and the soundtrack has grown exponentially – all for the princely sum of ZERO DOLLARS.

        Neognosis (formerly VonSnake) started a Patreon a few weeks ago – I chose to pitch in. The sheer amount of hours I’ve clocked in that game made it worth it, and the team know their shit. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they support and update the game like madmen. Maybe their Patreon will help cover this cost?

  • Good. The community was awful with Greenlight and developers were bad at using it. Hopefully they raise the cost of submission to stop shovelware titles from flooding the platform. Steam shouldn’t be the place for literally every game ever conceived, particularly when many of those games aren’t even of passable quality. If it costs devs a decent amount of money to submit they might be inclined not to submit shite in the hopes of cashing in.

    • you know you can hide EA titles in your store preferences right? – sure it’s been abused akin to GL in some ways, but EA is still an incredibly useful option for things like Kickstarter and multiplayer betas due to Steam as a unified auto-update and community engagement platform (whereas GL was I think only really intended as a stop-gap in the first place for an alternative which didn’t come about in the end).

    • I can’t agree with that statement. Some of the most fun games I’ve played went through the Early Access process. If any changes needed to be made, it would be to give developers the option to disable purchases during EA, so that games funded by other means (kickstarter etc) could get their games onto Steam for the development period and allow backers to easily access the game and updates, give feedback etc, without having to deal with a whole bunch of “don’t buy this game, it’s not finished” clueless players who tank the ratings before the game has even had a chance to get underway. Also, reviews could be disabled when using this mode as well.

  • I wish we had the old steam curation. Sure, lots of indie titles didn’t get on there, but they get drowned in the noise now anyway. At least before I could expect a minimum standard of quality – I basically don’t impulse buy on steam anymore because I can’t be bothered wading through the piles of shit to find something worth playing.

  • IMO they should put into place a system where the fee you pay to add new games is based upon the reviews received for previous ones. Developers with decent games in the 70% plus will have relatively low fee’s while those who churn out shovel ware will have huge fee’s driving them out of steam. Also as the new system requires personal details from the developer it would be harder to cheat.

    • Given the way people like to brigade with reviews and tank ratings when devs do (totally reasonable) things they don’t like, I dunno that opening up a way for people to even more directly try and affect them financially is such a good idea in practise.

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