Steam Greenlight is dead, and a more monetised Direct is taking its place

3 min read
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Steam Greenlight is dead

Steam Greenlight, introduced back in 2012, was a direct change enacted by Valve to combat increasing fears of exclusivity of the platform. Before the introduction of the more community driven vetting process, Valve would individually curate and decide on what games made it to their Steam distribution platform. The result was a lack of varied titles, especially from the independent games movement, and the reality that smaller, experimental games would never make it onto the world’s biggest storefront.

Steam Greenlight changed that by putting the onus on players, allowing Steam users to vote on projects without requiring a monetary investment. The first few years were great – many smaller titles rose to the surface, and one could easily see Greenlight as the reason as to why certain genres returned, and previously smaller franchises made it big. In more recent times though, things have worsened. Asset flipped games and broken titles manage to pass the voting process, while actual participation in the system has decreased drastically.

It’s also not acted as the community-driven gatekeeping Valve may have wanted. In 2016 alone, over 4000 games released on Steam, many of which came from Greenlight and Early Access programs. The process was simply not working anymore, and as a result Valve is making a change. Greenlight is going away, instead replaced by Steam Direct – a more to the point, but financially confusing program to keep the wheel turning.

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Instead of a flat, once-off $100 fee to get all your games on Greenlight, Valve will now charge developers anywhere between $100 to $5000 to enable their game to appear on the platform. A small quality assurance test aside, this will be the only barrier of entry for developers now, although Valve themselves are still gauging how much they really want to charge. That’s likely going to be the sticking point though. Too high a price will exclude many developing regions (it makes local development, for example, suddenly far more expensive), as well as making it prohibitive for students. Too low a price, and the idea of fixing community-based curation flies out the window entirely.

It’s something Valve needs to detail as they move closer towards their next big step, as the company attempts to remedy the growing problems Steam has as a platform. But it’s a cautious time too, and one that will certainly shape independent development in particular for the years to come.

Last Updated: February 13, 2017

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Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

  • I just entered the twilight zone where the comment section was super old school.

    Anyways … now they just need to moderate ea better cause greenlight is only half of the problem.

    • Admiral Chief

      Agreed, Greenlight became a cancer

    • Loaded the default wordpress one for some reason. I blame Monday.

      • Admiral Chief

        /tableflip

      • WordPress … yuck.!

    • Admiral Chief

      I’ve already arranged a whipping for the culprit

    • Captain JJ

      Yea. I agree. Greenlight isn’t as much of a problem as Early Access. It seems like devs think once their game is on early access and on Steam they can do whatever they please.

  • Captain JJ

    I think this is a good thing for Steam. Greenlight has become a bit of a mess lately

    • Lu

      Yeah. I’m all for good indies, but the sheer amount of pixel “nostalgia” games being released equates to spam at this point.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Good. As someone who actually buys games on Steam, I’m perfectly happy to have less shit to shovel through.

    • Captain JJ

      But they have so many different shovels to choose from.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Unless it’s a knight with a shovel, I don’t care.

        • Captain JJ

          Hehe. I don’t mind. I’ve found some gems. I just tend to waste a lot of time looking for gems.

  • Darth Bizkit

    A “Load Comments” Button!? Is Criticalhit turning into MyMultichoice MyBroadband!?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/48c9eac32cfcc82576beba87daf0e80ac1e8d1957904cd43394635442cd9a58b.jpg

  • Lu

    How about doing this: Early Access games have to state an estimated release date. Should the devs miss the deadline, peeps who bought the Early Access title may then get refunded, but only then. That way devs win if they actually do their job, and the shmucks that buy early access don’t get screwed over. (Yes I too am one such shmuck)

    • Admiral Chief

      Nice idea!

    • Captain JJ

      And absolutely NO DLC on an early access game.

      • Lu

        Haha I was actually thinking of SnArk: Extortion Evolved when the idea popped up.

        • Captain JJ

          Haha. I’m going to remember that XD
          I think it’s time for me to get Conan…I still haven’t found a proper replacement since ARK lost its soul and died on me.

          • Lu

            I got Rust in a bundle. It’s fun running around as a savage with a few friends. But these survival games tend to bore me after a week.

          • Captain JJ

            Yea. I might need to try Rust sometime too. I have it.

          • Lu

            I’m in the old LaGz/Crit steam group if you wanna co op sometime (same profile pic nd name). This weeks a bit busy but I’m always up for some co op games

          • Captain JJ

            Oh cool. Yea. I’ll have a look. Will need to dl it first, but I see it’s very small.

          • Lu

            100% I’ll probly only be available from Friday anyway

          • Captain JJ

            Yea. I’m not even sure about myself. Haven’t had much time for gaming online lately.

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      Greenlight and Early Access are two seperate systems. The latter is not being changed (and has nothing to do with getting voted onto Steam)

      • Lu

        Yeah I know. But if the one gets an overhaul the other should definitely too.

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