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June 06, 2017 2 min read
Today marks the end of Steam Greenlight, Valve's system with which Steam users have been able to vote on upcoming games they'd like to see release on the platform since 2012. Valve is no longer taking new game and software submissions through Greenlight (or accepting votes), and on June 13, Steam Direct, the new pay-$100-per-title self-publishing model, will launch as a replacement.
Valve has another lengthy blog post dealing with specifics, particularly as they relate to developers affected by the shift from Greenlight to Direct. In short, it's going to review the 3,400+ pending submissions "over the next week" and plans to "Greenlight as many of the remaining games as we have confidence in." Titles that miss the mark will need to go through Direct from June 13 and on.
The company also brought user-engagement stats. "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," said Valve. To that end, the Direct publishing model is meant to flow like this: "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."
There are caveats (all-new devs have a 30-day waiting period after payment for Valve to "review" their background; games need a coming-soon listing "a couple weeks prior to release"), but that's the gist. While it's tough to say how these changes will play out for users and developers long-term, I'm hopeful Direct is a step in the right direction and Valve is quick to adapt in places where it's falling short.
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