Update June 13, 2017: Steam Direct is now live, and game developers can now use the system to get their games up on the Steam Store.
The full details are available on the official page for Steam Direct, which gives folks a better idea of how the system works, what to expect, and a full list of guidelines for what sort of content isn't allowed on Steam.
If you don’t want to spend any money on Valve’s platform, check out our list of the best free Steam games.
Pornography, offensive, and adult content that hasn't been age gated are all off limits, so perhaps we'll see a change in the sort of thing seen on Steam. Whether some of the more smutty games that already exist on Steam will be affected, we don't know.
Update June 6, 2017: Valve have officially turned Steam Greenlight off. The game voting service has seen a bunch of success stories since it launched, but now Valve want to take a more direct approach to letting indies onto Steam.
From June 13, any developer wanting to put their game on Steam will have to go via Steam Direct, paying a small, recoupable fee of $100 and filling in some paperwork before being published. Valve say this will allow a wider range of games to get through, without the need of votes to make them stand out first.
"Five years since Greenlight started, we've seen over 90 million votes cast on submissions in Greenlight," say Valve. "Nearly 10 million players have participated in voting in Steam Greenlight, but over 63 million gamers have played a game that came to Steam via Greenlight. These players have logged a combined 3.5 billion hours of game time in Greenlight titles. Some of those titles, like The Forest, 7 Days to Die, and Stardew Valley, are in the list of top 100 selling games ever released on Steam.
"With these kinds of successes, the thousands of niche titles, and everything in between, we realised that a direct and predictable submission process will best serve the diverse interests of players moving forward."
There are a couple of caveats for new developers, for verification purposes, but the new system seems like the most logical way to fill up Steam with some more indie variety. Check the Steam blog for specifics.
As for games already on Greelight, Valve are checking them over and will publish as many of them as they have confidence in.
Original Story February 10, 2017: Steam Greenlight was always a bit of a strange one. Developers paid a small fee, put their game on there and saw the community vote on whether they wanted it on Steam proper.
Sometimes this led to real gems that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. In fact, Valve say 100 Steam Greenlight games have made over $1 million. Still, the market was often flooded with garbage, despite the sign-up fee existing to put developers off spamming the service.
Valve say they’ve learned a lot from this process, but they’re looking to replace it with something a bit more simple. Something that works better for serious developers and game players alike.
Steam Direct is the solution, launching this spring and replacing Greenlight in the process. The service will ask potential developers to fill in a bunch of digital paperwork for verification purposes, then they have to pay an as yet undetermined application fee.
Again, this is there to act as a sort of quality filter. “While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalised store, we’re still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct,” say Valve.
“We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.”
We’ll find out more closer to launch in spring.