Steam Greenlight was introduced back in 2012. Since then, there have been over 90 million votes cast on various submissions. According to Steam, nearly 10 million players have participated in voting. 63 million players have played games that came to Steam through Greenlight. Among these games are some great games like The Forest, 7 Days to Die, Stardew Valley and even Rogue Legacy.
However as of yesterday, Steam is currently in the process of retiring Steam Greenlight. Greenlight was a system that indie devs or new game companies could use to submit their games to Steam. The basic premise was that you would pay Steam USD 100 and submit the game and marketing stuff for the game to them. People on Steam would vote for the game and if you reached about the top in your particular game category, there would be a high chance of your game getting into Steam. At the end of the day, there is still a small team at Valve who help to oversee and pick the games based on the data. But it seemed to work... sort of.
Steam Direct is Steam Greenlight’s replacement and according to Valve, it will make the process much easier. One of the chief reasons that Direct is replacing Greenlight is that Greenlight’s voting process greatly affected whether or not a game was greenlit or not. This means that some great games somehow were passed over. Additionally, the voting process actually didn’t make games more predictable for being greenlighted.
What Steam plans to do with Direct is basically streamline the entire process. Here are the some of the details:
Steam Direct will launch in 1 weeks’ time on the 13th of June. In the meantime, the team at Valve will be going through the backlog of submissions. During this period, no one will be able to submit new games or vote on submissions. Valve’s Alden states that they’re currently going through at least 3,400+ submissions. He also mentions that in the event you’ve bought a Greenlight Submission but weren’t able to submit anything in time or has not been Greenlit yet, you can use the Steam support site to request a refund of your fee.
Steam Direct does seem like a good idea. It sort of removes the voting element that has a tendency to skew the potential for a game’s release or not. On the other hand, you do sort of wonder how they’re going to go through the pile of games that will definitely increase in size now that the voting element is gone. This makes the platform a level playing field with the only arbiter of what makes a good game worthy enough of being on Steam, well… Steam. Whatever the case, Steam Direct sounds like a good thing for aspiring game developers, since you no longer need to worry about your game being pitted against competitors in a popularity contest. Here’s to looking forward to the first releases on Direct soon.