A few days ago, Valve took everyone by surprise by announcing the end of the Steam Greenlight program, which allows fans to vote for the games they want to see on the store.
Greenlight will be replaced by Steam Direct, which forgoes the whole voting process in favor of a more, well, direct way for developers to put their game on Steam. As part of this new initiative, developers will have to file digital paperwork and tax documents “similar to the process of applying for a bank account.” Sounds fun!
However, this process will also see developers paying a fee for every game they want to put on Steam. Valve has yet to decide how much this fee will be, but is considering anything between $100 to as high as $5000. Naturally, this doesn’t inspire confidence, and a few indie developers have already started to speak out against Steam Direct.
Daniel Steger, the man behind the indie title Mount your Friends, has tweeted about the issues he has with the new program.
At the same time my experience with XBLIG says $5k per title is too much. Hopeful devs will bankrupt themselves w/ no profit.
— Daniel Steger (@StegerGames) February 10, 2017
British developer Robert Fearon also tweeted about how a high fee won’t go towards reducing the quantity of bad games on Steam, but instead will force out indie developer can turn Steam in “a playground for only well off people.”
There will *still* be a huge amount of games on Steam.
There will *still* be discovery problems.
It *still* won’t be 2009 on Steam again.
— RobF (@retroremakes) February 10, 2017
On the other end of the spectrum, there are developers that think the Steam Direct fee is nothing to worry about, one of them being Dave Lang from Iron Galaxy. Lang gave an “unpopular opinion” that if you don’t have the money (be it $200, $5000 or whatever) the odds of your game being a financial success are 0%.
Unpopular Opinion: If you don’t have money (be it $200 or $5000 or $Whatever) the odds of your game being a financial success is almost 0%
— Dave Lang (@JosephJBroni) February 10, 2017
Steam Direct will be replacing the Greenlight program this spring, so Valve has enough time to make some final adjustments before releasing the program to the public. While the outcry from some indie developers is understandable, Steam Direct definitely shows that Valve is trying new ways to filter out low-quality indie titles (the key word being “Trying”).