Valve sunsets Steam Greenlight, proposes dev submission fees to ‘decrease the noise’


Valve is determined to keep itself in the news this weekend, apparently: Yesterday, the company announced it’s shutting down the Steam Greenlight platform. That’s no big deal; Greenlight’s been a bit of a joke for a long time, such a weak barrier to entry that pundits have long argued there’s so much on Steam that it’s hard to find anything.

Where it gets complicated is in how Valve plans to replace Greenlight: Instead of the company curating what it publishes or players vetting games with easily manipulable votes, the studios themselves will be paying an entry fee to weed out… well, presumably they think it’ll weed out bad games, but it looks more like the actual effect will be to weed out poorbies, students, experimental games, and folks in developing countries — meanwhile, giant distributors pushing out garbage will breeze on by.

“The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling Steam Direct, is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.”

Valve says that it’s considering fees in the $100 to $5000 range and is still collecting feedback.

Gamasutra’s been polling game developers for their reaction to the move, and the mood is definitely not what I’d call delighted. While most of the dev respondents are indifferent to Greenlight’s existence itself, indie devs are particularly unhappy with the idea that they might be shut out of the market they’ve only just fought to belong in.

Source: Valve. Cheers, Ceder.
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Ashfyn Ninegold

The market hates a vacuum. When Valve pulls the plug on its international Greenlight platform, if a market truly exists for a small in-progress developer platform, it will just be a matter of time before another distribution platform takes it up. And if no one does, then it simply isn’t a workable arrangement.


This is great, the price IMO should be fairly high. There is already enough trash on steam that was allowed in through steam greenlight.

Erik Heinze-Milne

I mean… Greenlight already HAD a submission fee… making it more expensive is just going to punish smaller devs just starting out.


This is the best news I’ve seen in a while. I have become steadily more and more discouraged by the predatory efforts of mercenary developers with no quality or investment behind what can laughably be called ‘games.’ Steam did nothing to stem the tide either which resulted in a lot of people being fooled into buying rubbish. I’m ashamed to admit how often I was burned with this. As someone else has commented, this has ruined any reputation Steam had for quality. It will be hard to get it back, but hopefully this move will deter anyone without a solid product. Well done Valve!

Robert Mann

Yeah, somebody else will come along before long and scoop up all those indie studios… and celebrate their successes.

This sounds like a great way to focus only on bigger studios. If Steam desires that, then they can do that. They just might be surprised how many people don’t like the move, though.


The Greed never stops…..smh.

Kickstarter Donor

I continue to strongly dislike the direction Valve is going with this. It’s not a benefit to consumers or many indie devs at all.

More and more it seems like they’re looking for any way possible to do less work, all while still reaping huge piles of cash from Steam. Leaving a worse experience for users because there’s no curation at all, while also not addressing the issue of how many completely broken and bullshit games continue to make browsing the storefront a nightmare.

Daniel Miller

To be fair DLC’s don’t really count a new job. Go back to ffxi, ffxiv, and many other games. The new job itself warden feels like its is ok for expansion. But I want to see more then just one new skill tree like thief guild or DB. A weapon type, and such would really make it feel right.

A expansion with a new job but perhaps one or less skill tress and perhaps no new crafting categories wouldn’t feel right.

John Kiser

Uhhh what?


I think maybe he meant this comment to go on the ESO article that appears a couple slots above this one on the main page.


Hmm. The cynic in me thinks that this is less about barriers and more about profit margins. But I guess it will depend on the price. I can see the marketing dept over at valve developing a price tiered approach as we speak. Lol.

Roger Christie

The entry fee is supposedly donated to a charity.


The Feed Gabe Foundation….


Maybe put the onus on the consumers? Rather then asking them if they would buy a greenlit game have them actually preorder it. If enough people preorder the game gets put on the store, if not all the preorders get cancelled. Then make a requirement to have a short demo downloadable at the game’s greenlight page.

The biggest problem was people voting in bad faith, with certain unsavory groups manipulating votes in return to payment. If people were forced to invest a little into games they wanted to see greenlit that would reduce the likely-hood of that occurring.