Back in February, Steam announced that it would be ditching Greenlight in favor of a new submission platform called Steam Direct. With Steam Greenlight, developers entered their games into something of a popularity contest, submitting previews and allowing users to vote on which games they’d like to see in the Steam store. That’s all going away, and it’s being replaced by a system that allows developers to publish their games to the Steam store after paying a per-game fee.
At the time, Steam was considering a fee that ranged between $100 on the low end to as much as $5,000. Obviously, implementing a fee on the high-end would essentially stifle small-time developers who couldn’t afford to pay that much, so it’s not really surprising to hear that Valve wanted to settle near the low-end. What may be surprising is the fact that Valve has decided on a $100 per-game fee through Steam Direct.
Even better is the fact that it’s “recoupable,” with Valve telling Ars Technica that it plans to return that $100 fee after the associated game hits $1,000 in sales. That makes the Steam store a pretty friendly place for independent developers, but it could potentially open the door to abuse – that is, developers flooding the store with bad games in the hopes of turning a profit, despite the fees.
How is Valve going to combat that? “We’re going to look for specific places where human eyes can be injected into the Store algorithm, to ensure that it is working as intended, and to ensure it doesn’t miss something interesting,” Valve writes in today’s blog post. The company also notes that it will be keeping an eye on submissions itself, so that it can implement changes as necessary.
However, Valve points out that with the recently-released Discovery Update, it’s more concerned about putting the right games in front of users than it is with curating what makes it onto Steam in the first place. Assuming Valve’s discovery algorithms work as intended, most users should never see games that would qualify as shovelware.
Valve is silent on when we can expect this new fee to roll out, but considering this plan has been in the works for a few months now, we should see it before long. What do you think: will this be a good thing for Steam, or will it open the door to more bad games? Head down to the comments section and let us know!