After voting for a couple of games back in Steam Greenlight's younger days, I pretty much forgot about the existence of the community voting-based distribution system. That existence will soon be fading from more than just my mind now, as Valve is doing away with Steam Greenlight and replacing it with Steam Direct instead.
Intended to be out by Spring this year, Steam Direct will require developers to be an application free - which is recoupable - for every new title they intend to distribute. New developers will have to complete digital paperwork, personal or company verification and tax documents. There will also be a publishing fee required, but Valve are still in debate over it sum; speaking to developers and studios, the responses they got ranged from $100 (RM444) to $5,000 (RM22,200).
The whole process definitely sounds like a more, well, direct way of distributing games on Steam, unlike Steam Greenlight. And that's the whole point. As Valve said in a Steam post:
"... over Steam’s 13-year history, we have gradually moved from a tightly curated store to a more direct distribution model. In the coming months, we are planning to take the next step in this process by removing the largest remaining obstacle to having a direct path, Greenlight. Our goal is to provide developers and publishers with a more direct publishing path and ultimately connect gamers with even more great content."
Stuff like the above are the only things I like about Steam Greenlight.
Valve said that Greenlight "was a useful stepping stone for moving to a more direct distribution system, but it still left us short of that goal. Along the way, it helped us lower the barrier to publishing for many developers while delivering many great new games to Steam. There are now over 100 Greenlight titles that have made at least $1 Million each, and many of those would likely not have been published in the old, heavily curated Steam store."
But it also made Valve realize that they needed to "improving the entire pipeline for bringing new content to Steam and finding more ways to connect customers with the types of content they wanted".
Whether Steam Direct will deliver on those two things remains to be seen, and deciding the amount for the publishing fee will be tricky for Valve. It can't be too low, but indie developers are unlikely to be thrilled if the fee costs $5,000 (honestly, I'm wondering which developer/studio suggested that out of curiosity).
In the meantime, Steam Greenlight will remain up and running, though submissions will stop being accepted a couple of weeks before Steam Direct gets activated.