Boot up Steam and you’ll quickly be greeted by the biggest game releases of the week on its front page. Which is good for the big publisher out there looking to earn back some coin on the ludicrous budget that was spent on Two Human Too Furious. What about the smaller development team out there however? How does the little guy manage to push their product into the hearts and minds of gamers looking for something different to yet another sandbox or first-person shooter?
They don’t. Not at all with Steam’s current marketplace, which happens to be filled with crapware that refuses to be flushed down the drain. The Steam Market is home to so many of these games, projects which are quickly churned out out in an effort to play the trading card marketplace against itself and earn some quick coin using available and flippable assets, as has been pointed out before.
The solution? The end of Steam Greenlight, as that service will be replaced with Steam Direct in an effort to curb asset-flippers and highlight games which deserve to be seen by as many as possible. Want to have your game featured there? You’ll be able to do so for the low low price of $100 per game. “We knew that we wanted it to be as small as possible to ensure it wasn’t a barrier to beginning game developers, while also not being so small as to invite easy abuse by people looking to exploit our systems,” Valve’s Aiden Kroll explained in a Steam community blog post.
We’ve seen a bunch of great conversations discussing the various pros and cons of whether there should be an amount, what that amount should be, ways that recouping could work, which developers would be helped or hurt, predictions for how the store would be affected, and many other facets to the decision,” he added.
There were rational and convincing arguments made for both ends of the $100-$5000 spectrum we mentioned. Our internal thinking beforehand had us hovering around the $500 mark, but the community conversation really challenged us to justify why the fee wasn’t as low as possible, and to think about what we could do to make a low fee work.
That $100 fee will be refunded back to gamers as soon as their title hits $1000 in sales according to Eurogamer, as Steam looks for a way to direct people towards the types of game that they the user would find interesting. Sort of like how your various video streaming services sends you suggestions for what to watch next once you’re done bingeing your way through a season of An Idiot Abroad. “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,” Kroll said.
We believe that if we inject human thinking into the Store algorithm, while at the same time increasing the transparency of its output, we’ll have created a public process that will incrementally drive the Store to better serve everyone using it.
I still think you’re going to get a ton of games which smell like News24’s rotting comment section, but at least there’s a risk involved for people whose efforts fall on the shady side of game development.
Last Updated: June 5, 2017