Valve is killing Steam Greenlight

Valve has announced plans to kill off Steam Greenlight, its service that lets Steam users vote on games from small developers that they'd like see come to the Steam marketplace. Following Greenlight's exit this spring, Valve plans to launch Steam Direct — a new system that dispenses with the voting aspect and allows developers to have a simpler, more direct line of publishing their games on Steam.

So what's the reason for the shift? Speaking to Eurogamer, Valve cited Greenlight's unpredictability for developers:

"Right now the system of Greenlight, as a way of bringing your game to Steam, inherently has a bunch of unpredictability in it," said Valve's Aiden Kroll at a media roundtable attended by Eurogamer at the company's Bellevue, Washington headquarters."As a developer, I post my game to Greenlight [and] I don't know how long it's going to take until my game is greenlit," he added. "So it makes it hard for me as a developer. Am I going to be able to release on date X? When should I start spinning up any community outreach? When should I start talking to the press about my game? As soon as there's some amount of unpredictability in that process it makes a bunch of other things much more difficult for developers."

Greenlight originally launched in 2012, and promised a way for Valve to streamline the process of evaluating which smaller games should be published to the Steam by allowing customers to vote on their favorites. As a sign of its success, 2016 alone saw more than 4,000 games make their way to the Steam (though not all through the Greenlight program). However, Greenlight has received its fair share of criticism, particularly over the number of low-quality games that make their way through the program.

In Greenlight's place, the new Steam Direct system will do away with the voting process and allow developers to simply apply to be published by filling out a form, having their game pass a basic QA test, and paying a fee to launch. The exact cost of publishing isn't yet known, but Eurogamer's report notes that Valve is considering anywhere between $200 and $5,000 per project.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • So a more direct route to crapware?
  • That could very well be the case, but the QA process will hopefully be a small barrier to entry for some of the more blatant crap that has littered Steam recently. Depending on where they price the per-project publishing fee, I could see it stemming some of the tide in favor of more quality projects as well. It's still inherently pretty open, though, so you're likely going to see some of the same crappy asset flips you see now.
  • This gives Valve more control over what gets published as opposed to having to publish based on user votes. This is a good thing as they will be able to vet and reject crapware without seeming tyrannical. Users may not be able to tell what is crapware at the moment they vote, but Valve will most likely have a wide array of resources as its disposal. Half-assed conclusions are pointless.
  • Ah, I must have misunderstood the process. I thought that it meant that it was skipping the voting process and letting anything be posted that went up for votes.
  • Possibly to avoid more goat simulator or operating room game from getting in.
  • Communities have failed in internal systems of peer review like this. XBLIG and green light are prime examples. It becomes a nest of back scratching to release my game helping someone pass theirs. Not off real problems that need addressing before launch. While they are good concepts steam needs to follow ms approach in having these smaller guys communicate thru a company handled review system that tightens and stream lines the process while helping devs know how long itll be before a game can launch.