After years of saying that their Greenlight submission system isn’t the best solution, Valve has finally made a decision to do away with it in favor of Steam Direct. Coming later this year, Steam Direct will require a yet-unspecified fee for game submissions.
The real question now is, how much will they charge? The company is currently suggesting a very wide window of between $100 and $5,000 per game submitted. Valve says that the money is “recoupable”, but did not say how or when. One of the company’s employees has commented saying that the developer could get back the fee “after the game hits some modest revenue target,” but nothing more than that is being said.
If that information is accurate, then Valve won’t be keeping the fee, just its share of the game’s revenues. That’s not too different from Steam Greenlight except for the fact that the $100 covers whatever games the developer wants the community to vote on.
The danger now is that if Valve goes too low on the Steam Direct fee, it could keep Indie developers out of the fray. $5,000 isn’t something a budding/struggling game developer can come up with at a moment’s notice.
What’s really key, though, is that Valve keep improving their content discovery tools so more new devs get a chance to showcase their talent.
The next question is: will Steam ever come to consoles? It might, but from what CEO Gabe Newell says, it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon.
The biggest pain point seems to be their recent experience with the iOS app. In an interview with EuroGamer, Newell spoke candidly about what the company went through just to get an update pushed to the mobile app. After delaying the update for six months, Apple finally pushed their patch with no explanation as to why it took that long.
As a result, Newell is now saying that relying on other software providers puts Valve in an awkward position where there is “complete uncertainty about doing updates… Like we don’t know how to operate.”
That’s probably why, when asked if Steam will ever move to the console environment, Newell says this: “We love the PC right now. A lot.” That practically rules out Steam games on consoles for the moment, so don’t expect to see their titles on PlayStation or Xbox anytime soon.
As for Steam Direct, that should be coming out later this year. Hopefully, they’ll get it right this time and more great content will be discoverable from the depths of Steam, while the platform remains a level playing field for developers of all colors.
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