Steam Greenlight has been criticized by some PC gamers as a way for developers to boost revenue in a popularity contest. Valve Corporation has just announced that Greenlight will be replaced by Steam Direct sometime this year. Any PC game can then get a spot on the distribution platform if the developer can pay a fee.
The Washington State-based company has not set the fee yet. It says, however, it is ruminating on a figure with a wide range between $100 and $5,000.
Simply paying a fixed amount of money will be the new way to get games listed on the 2012-launched distribution platform. This differs from past methods. They include Valve reviewing each submission (Steam 1.0) or the online community voting (Steam 2.0), according to PC Gamer.
The fee that Valve picks is important. If it is too low many PC game clones will flood Steam Direct. On other hand, if the fee is high such as $5,000 it would result in developers crowdfunding their submission fee on Indiegogo. That would just outsource Steam Direct's services.
The current Valve Greenlight submission fee is $100. Developers can submit an unlimited number of titles for the gaming community to vote on. The two-decade-old game developer then gives the money to charity.
Valve has only stated in a blog post that the new fee will be "recoupable." The company has not explained yet how devs can get back the money although Valve employee Alden Kroll stated in a Gamasutra comment that developers can probably have the fee returned after their game hits a small revenue target.
It is still unclear if Valve would refund and delist unpopular titles. If it decides not to do that developers would lose their deposits after they pay to play.
Valve's new submission fee could result in many clones of popular titles like the hit mobile game Flappy Bird. The new system could still work. It would happen if Valve keeps the fees low yet promotes high-quality games.
Greenlight was effective in keeping the worst games out of Steam's online store. Steam Direct will now only require a little paperwork and a small fee to get new games listed on the distribution platform, so it is unclear if it could become a quality control issue. Time will tell.
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