Steam is pretty much the number one platform for digital downloads. While there are other popular sites, like GoG or Humble, Steam is the gold standard when it comes to getting games. That said, Valve’s policies haven’t been entirely without their faults. Four years ago, Valve launched the Greenlight platform but as of June 6 it’s been shut down.
Steam Greenlight was a way to let the smaller indie game developers get their foot in the door. By giving Valve $100 they were able to let the users of the platform vote on if their game is good enough for the 100-pound gorilla. All they needed was the money and the assets to show off at least something that it wasn’t a scam or joke game. However, it did have its drawbacks.
The Greenlight system let anyone with a game submit, which ended up flooding the site with less than stellar performers. Some games that should have easily made it floundered. Those that should never have seen the light of day easily made it to the top. There was also the problem of voter manipulation, but let’s not go there.
While it was met with mixed success, due to various decisions, made clear in the blog post, Steam Greenlight is no more. All submissions have stopped, and those still in the queue have one more chance to make it through. The rest are at the mercy of the new system. However, it does look like a refund system for the fee is in place.
In any event, come June 13 the new Steam Direct platform will debut. What does this mean for those who used, or wanted to use, Greenlight? Well, they’ll still have to give the $100 to be considered but Valve will be cutting out the voter process. Also, anyone who wants to have their games on the site will have to fill out some paperwork. The fee will be returned to the creator after their game earns a grand.
Another thing to note is that anyone who hasn’t dealt with Valve before will have a month’s grace period after submitting to be considered a Steam game. I guess this is to weed out the good from the bad. How all of this will affect the indie scene remains to be seen. After all, Steam Direct won’t go live until next week.