Valve expects to phase out Greenlight this spring!
Apparently, Valve has been dissatisfied with Steam Greenlight for at least as far back as early 2013, when Gabe Newell described the system as "probably bad for the Steam community." A year later, he stated outright that the goal was to "make Greenlight go away, not because it's not useful, but because we're evolving."
Today, the direction of that evolution was finally revealed: A new system called "Steam Direct," targeted to go live this spring, that will enable developers to get their games on Steam without having to pass an approval process first.
"This new path, which we’re calling 'Steam Direct,' is targeted for spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight," Valve explains. "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, intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline." Part of the goal is to discourage the submission of Greenlight projects that are submitted in bad faith, such as joke-projects or projects comprised of stolen assets.
The amount of the publishing fee hasn't been finalized yet; developers Valve has spoken to have suggested amounts ranging from $100 to $5,000 per game. "There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number," the blog post says.
What do you think about this sudden change in strategy on Valve's part? Will this help or hurt small developers? My initial thoughts are that this may severely injure indie developers. Most indie devs I've talked to are now scrambling to start their Steam Greenlight campaigns since nobody knows how much the publishing fee will cost. It may end up that some indie developers just won't be able to afford to pay the fee in order to get their game on Steam.
Thankfully, my team-mate and I managed to start our Steam Greenlight campaign for Towards the Pantheon before it's changed. You can find it and vote for us here: steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=864776690
What are your thoughts on this topic?