Closing Greenlight Today, Steam Direct Launches June 13

Raijinn

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7 JUNE - ALDEN
In this post, we're going to talk about closing down Steam Greenlight and the transition to Steam Direct.

If you haven't already, it's worth reading the last few posts we've made recently about our philosophy, some changes to address bad actors, and some upcoming improvements to Steam Curators system. These posts introduce and describe the subtle, but important, shift in the way the Steam Store is designed, and who it is designed for.

A look back at Greenlight
Steam Greenlight launched on August 30, 2012, at a time when we realized that we weren't able to predict which titles players were really interested in. Up until that point, a small team here at Valve had been hand-picking games to invite on to the Steam platform, and almost every day we would hear from players wondering why awesome new game X wasn't available on Steam. The more this happened, the less confident we became that our own tastes were accurately representing the tastes of everyone using Steam. Greenlight was introduced as a way to help our team figure out which games players most wanted, by having those Steam users vote. Almost right away, we saw an incredible variety of games being submitted and voted on, which made it clear to us that there are far more distinct tastes and interests among Steam players than we had realized.

Right from the early days and throughout the life of Greenlight, we have been continually surprised by the hits coming through. In just the first year we saw titles such as War For The Overworld, Evoland, Rogue Legacy, and Verdun move through Greenlight and go on to become hugely successful. We found it was easy to explain afterwards why some titles turned out to be big hits, but when we forced ourselves to predict beforehand, we weren't nearly as accurate as we thought we were going to be. Those early years also saw huge growth in some categories of games that we had previously considered extremely niche, like visual novels. Whether you love or hate visual novels (In which case you can customize your preferences here!), they have gone on to form a huge following on Steam. Even today, we still see surprising smash hits come through Greenlight, such as the recent releases of Dead Cells and Blackwake.

Now, five years since Greenlight started, we've seen over 90 Million votes cast on submissions in Greenlight. Nearly 10 Million players have participated in voting in Steam Greenlight, but over 63 million gamers have played a game that came to Steam via Greenlight. These players have logged a combined 3.5 Billion hours of game time in Greenlight titles. Some of those titles, like The Forest, 7 Days to Die, and Stardew Valley, are in the list of top 100 selling games ever released on Steam.

With these kinds of successes, the thousands of niche titles, and everything in between, we realized that a direct and predictable submission process will best serve the diverse interests of players moving forward. So thanks to all of you who voted and played games in Greenlight, as we begin the transition to Steam Direct.

Retiring Greenlight
The information below on Greenlight and Steam Direct is going to be most relevant for game developers, as it discusses the nuts-and-bolts details of the transition.

As of now, we are no longer accepting new game or software submissions via Steam Greenlight and voting has been disabled. One week from today, on June 13th, we'll be turning on Steam Direct.

Over the next week, a team here at Valve will be reviewing the list of titles that have not yet been Greenlit and will be selecting the final batch of titles to pass through the Greenlight process. Our goal is to Greenlight as many of the remaining games as we have confidence in. There are some titles that will not be Greenlit, due to insufficient voter data or concerns about the game reported by voters. Titles that are not ultimately Greenlit may still be brought to Steam via Steam Direct, provided they meet our basic criteria of legality and appropriateness.

If you are a game developer with a game in Greenlight that hasn't been Greenlit yet, please be patient as we review the 3,400+ pending submissions. If you bought the Greenlight Submission fee, but haven't had a chance to post a submission, or if your submission has not been Greenlit by the end of this process, you can use the Steam support site to request a refund of your submission fee.

Steam Direct details
The goal with Steam Direct is to provide an understandable and predictable path for developers from anywhere in the world to bring their games to Steam. With that in mind, we're making the process as easy and streamlined as possible. A new developer will simply need to fill out some digital paperwork, including entering bank and tax information and going through a quick identity verification process. After completing the paperwork, the developer will be asked to pay a $100 recoupable fee for each game they wish to release on Steam. This fee is returned in the payment period after the game has sold $1,000.

As we have been doing for the past year, there is a short process prior to release where our review team installs each game to check that it is configured correctly, matches the description provided on the store page, and doesn't contain malicious content.

Additionally, brand-new developers that we haven't worked with before will need to wait 30 days from the time they pay the app fee until they can release their first game on Steam. This gives us time to review the developer's information and confirm that we know who we're doing business with. Developers will also need to put up a 'coming soon' page for a couple of weeks prior to release, which helps get more eyes on upcoming releases and gives players a chance to point out discrepancies that our team may not be able to catch.

Steam Direct will launch in one week, on June 13th.

*note: I just copypasted this from the steam page, and I'd like to know what you guys think
 
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lianderson

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Greenlight had some major problems, but hopefully this fixes them. Tbh, the only thing I was personally worried about, besides the $5000 cost they flirted with, was the refund, which I´m glad they addressed.
 

taarna23

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Honestly? I think $100 is too low. Basically anyone can come up with $100 if they're even half-arsed serious about making a game, even if they have no clue what they're doing. For companies that literally make their living off of selling garbage games that masquerade as something decent, this is nothing. Like any good scam artist, they are skilled at what they do, and by the time they get booted off, they'll have made more than enough to move on to their next garbage project. Steam will be a clutter of this and finding something worth playing is going to quickly become a nightmare.
 

UgyBoogie

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@taarna23 I think it's great. Steam Direct isn't necessary directed to companies, but to small developers as well. There are so many games out there that are made by a single person or a group of 2-3 people. And after developing a game, which already cost a lot of time, effort and money, it would be even harder to get it to the public if Steam would've raised an even higher fee.
Sure, 100$ isn't much for a company, but for a single person it could be. And the fact that you get this money back anyway (if it's successful) is nice too. Steam Direct was never intended to filter out "garbage games", it's simply a new system to publish games.
 

Tuomo L

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Honestly? I think $100 is too low. Basically anyone can come up with $100 if they're even half-arsed serious about making a game, even if they have no clue what they're doing. For companies that literally make their living off of selling garbage games that masquerade as something decent, this is nothing. Like any good scam artist, they are skilled at what they do, and by the time they get booted off, they'll have made more than enough to move on to their next garbage project. Steam will be a clutter of this and finding something worth playing is going to quickly become a nightmare.

I am really getting tired of these people who think that you have to pay some big fee to wear "I develope games seriously" badge, as if the quality of games is nowadays only determined by how rich the developer is. There's alrerady plenty enough expenses when you're an indie game maker releasing games for market, we really don't need to add more to that.

As someone who does develope as seriously as they do, for my livelihood, I can say that anything higher than 100$ would be utmost devastating. Some people I saw suggest even higher fees than my monthly rent, which is just unfair and uncalled for.
 
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Frogboy

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Honestly? I think $100 is too low. Basically anyone can come up with $100 if they're even half-arsed serious about making a game, even if they have no clue what they're doing. For companies that literally make their living off of selling garbage games that masquerade as something decent, this is nothing. Like any good scam artist, they are skilled at what they do, and by the time they get booted off, they'll have made more than enough to move on to their next garbage project. Steam will be a clutter of this and finding something worth playing is going to quickly become a nightmare.

Is it really that easy to make more than $100 off a garbage game that you slapped together in an hour or so? I would think that as soon as the first few buyers said that game was a cash grab that no one else would go near it. I can see this tactic working if it was $100 to publish as many games as you wanted. But $100 per game seems like it would make it difficult to profit on a no-effort submission but perhaps I'm mistaken.

Either way, I'm sure people will figure out some way to game the system. People always do.
 

Tuomo L

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For the record, here's a video about Steam Direct and why 100$ is okay.

 

Failivrin

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As the post states this path is for developers "anywhere in the world," I'm sure currency exchange rates were taken into account when deciding the entry fee. 100 USD is not too much for an American dev, less for a Japanese dev, more for a Canadian, and quite a chunk for devs in most under-represented countries.
 

Raijinn

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@Failivrin
Agreed, 100 USD is a LOT in my country, 1.329.800 IDR.
And believe me that's a lot.
 

umbralshadows

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For the record, here's a video about Steam Direct and why 100$ is okay.


I was tryna watch it but all I could do is whistle tha deadly premonition song he has in tha background cuzz damn I love that song. ...

I don't think $100's gone a change anything for game quality cuzz game quality's nothing ta do with riches really. Better ta have a more improved screening process yo. Thouh its sad cuzz I read visual novels n Rp maker games are hard ta get in cuzz not mucha fanbase (most people hate those i read even if its quality). ... Shame for me cuzz visual novel/sims are what I plan ta make.
 

bgillisp

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Personally, I wish Steam would go back to what it used to be, where getting your game on there actually meant somethi8ng. Right now, it's just trying to be itch.io, and the world really doesn't need two such places. As it is, it feels like Valve forgot why people liked Steam in the first place as now they just want to be everything for everyone.

Oh, well, I guess there's still gog.com. At least they still have managed to avoid the shovelware.
 

XIIIthHarbinger

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I am inclined to think that one hundred US per game, is a good figure.

High enough to keep people from spamming a dozen variants of the same thirty minute game. But not so high to bankrupt solo devs making games in their spare time.

Could I lay down a grand or more per game? Sure, but I am also an antisocial person who practically lives like a monk in an ascetic religious order. Normal people do things that cost money like interact with other humans, marry other humans, & make teacup humans.
 

PunkFile

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$100 per game is alot :kaomad3:
 

Titris Thrawns

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The caveat of $1000 for the recoup of $100 is important. From the little I know of how the bad actors were abusing Steam trading cards with shovelware/asset-flipping, this looks a good way to squish it. I wonder if the 1k mark is also part of the confidence metric for a game's trading cards to be released? *shrugs* If so, I guess nothing will change for my aspirations. I've set my personal goal of success to have a game make back the 100 buck gateway fee :kaojoy:. Now to... actually finish that game...:kaoswt2:

The 30 day developer vetting process also sounds nice. Was that not a feature of Greenlight? From my understanding, Greenlight was a one-time fee, get the votes and the game was put on the store with no Valve curator intervention.
 

dragon1up

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If steam could do a video on rpg maker mv that would be great as currently there is no videos about using SteamPipe Build up loader...my game made it through green-light, filled everything out but can't build the game due to timing out issues and steam guard issues. Despite a successful login, and the instant failure of trying to upload a single exe is annoying none-the less.
 

Kyuukon

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I'd like to release my game on Steam someday. It's a free game - $100 is already too much for a free game.
$100 for the exposure/publicity/marketing you get in return, it's not too much if you think about it :o Even for free games, I'd say it's more than worth it.
 

sabao

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I'm all for Steam trying something different out. Greenlight as it was meant to be proved to be ineffective. Pasting thoughts posted from a similiar thread here:

Greenlight was great on paper but as far as screening for any actual quality goes, it wasn't really working. Everyone was getting approved. I've talked to a large number of indies that have run campaigns on Greenlight and none of them have failed to get their game approved. The only entries that don't get approved have either done a horrible job at getting word out (very rare), have regional licensing issues (commercial games that have regional publishers) or have attempted to cheat the system. If you've ever run a campaign before, you'll know your dashboard has analytics for your own campaign as well a side-by-side to compare your daily/weekly performance with other Greenlight campaigns, so these these things were pretty easy to catch.

The $100 fee per submission is daunting, yes, and while I agree no amount of money will ever deter trash games from making it into Steam, I do believe $100 is a reasonable enough rate to be approachable even to smaller game devs. If the money goes into drastically improving curation and discoverability, then I reckon it also helps me in the end.

Agreed with the fee - higher and it would become too expensive.

I'd like to release my game on Steam someday. It's a free game - $100 is already too much for a free game.

You could always start out somewhere else like itch.io and see if you can raise the funds necessary to pass the game to Steam. If I've learned one thing so far, it's that a lot of people seem to be willing to shell out if they really believe in the product.
 

Celianna

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You could always start out somewhere else like itch.io and see if you can raise the funds necessary to pass the game to Steam. If I've learned one thing so far, it's that a lot of people seem to be willing to shell out if they really believe in the product.
Meh, my plan was to go onto Steam for raising funds. I'm already on itch.io which has gotten it some recognition, but Steam has a much higher range of exposure, of course. But I wouldn't want to go on Steam unless I had at least an official demo. In-development games on Steam don't tend to do well.

I'd pay the $100, but it's still a lot of money for a game that's free. I can understand if you're going to sell it commercially, but ugh, it hurts funds.
 

sabao

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Meh, my plan was to go onto Steam for raising funds. I'm already on itch.io which has gotten it some recognition, but Steam has a much higher range of exposure, of course. But I wouldn't want to go on Steam unless I had at least an official demo. In-development games on Steam don't tend to do well.

I'd pay the $100, but it's still a lot of money for a game that's free. I can understand if you're going to sell it commercially, but ugh, it hurts funds.

I reckon with the work you do for everyone, a lot of people wouldn't mind pitching in for the fee? Or at least put your demo on a Pay What You Want basis on itch and see if you can raise money from that. There seem to be a lot of people there who're more than happy to give out a couple of dollars if they feel like it will help out a project they like.
 

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