The Steam Store, arguably one of the biggest platforms for digital distribution of pc games, has come a long way and today it’s time for another significant evolution. After almost five years of service, Valve is closing down Steam Greenlight to replace it with Steam Direct.
Greenlight was brought to life in 2012 to let players point out what games they would like to see on Steam. Before that, Steam games were hand-picked by a small team at Valve – a task that became increasingly impossible as independent development flourished. As such, developers had to rack up player votes to get their game Greenlit by the Steam community and publish it on Steam. While the system wasn’t without error, it managed to spawn a lot of commercial success stories like Stardew Valley, Rogue Legacy and The Forest.
So what does this all mean for developers? The biggest change is you’ll no longer have to rely on player votes to get your game published on Steam. Steam Direct offers a straightforward path to the Steam platform. After completing some digital paperwork, you’ll have to pay a $100 recoupable fee for each game you wish to release on Steam. This fee is returned in the payment period after the game has sold $1000.
This is a bit pricier than the one-time $100 fee to submit as many games to Greenlight as you’d like, but it’s light years away from the $5000 fee that was on the table when Steam announced the retirement of Greenlight back in February.
New developers who haven’t published on Steam yet will have to wait 30 days to publish their game as Valve reviews who they’re doing business with.
If you’re one of the more than 3000 developers that still has a Greenlight submission pending, you’ll have to sit tight, as Valve will manually review these final submissions. If you have bought the Greenlight Submission fee and weren’t able to submit a game in time, or if you’re in the final batch and don’t get Greenlit, you can request a refund.