Steam Greenlight has been both a wellspring of endless creativity and a limitless source of humor and bizarre, sometimes questionable games since its inception in 2012. For better or worse (as an optimist I say better, though I could’ve done without certain titles), regular folks can now get their games on Steam as long as a target audience exists, and there’s little denying the service has altered the way games are marketed and made.
Valve agrees, but according to a message appearing on Steam from Valve itself, the time has come to shake up the process a bit. As of today Steam Greenlight has been officially shuttered, with its scheduled replacement Steam Direct set to go live on June 13th. Parts of Valve’s lengthy explanation can be seen below.
Now, five years since Greenlight started, we’ve seen over 90 Million votes cast on submissions in Greenlight. Nearly 10 Million players have participated in voting in Steam Greenlight, but over 63 million gamers have played a game that came to Steam via Greenlight. These players have logged a combined 3.5 Billion hours of game time in Greenlight titles. Some of those titles, like The Forest, 7 Days to Die, and Stardew Valley, are in the list of top 100 selling games ever released on Steam.
With these kinds of successes, the thousands of niche titles, and everything in between, we realized that a direct and predictable submission process will best serve the diverse interests of players moving forward. So thanks to all of you who voted and played games in Greenlight, as we begin the transition to Steam Direct.
As of now, we are no longer accepting new game or software submissions via Steam Greenlight and voting has been disabled. One week from today, on June 13th, we’ll be turning on Steam Direct.
Steam Direct appears to be a logical evolution of Greenlight, eliminating the “approval” middleman to simply allow more games to arrive on Steam. On the other hand, there’s clearly a desire for heightened quality control: Valve states that games will be checked to confirm they are “configured correctly, match the description provided on the store page, and don’t contain malicious content.” While the phrasing may bother some, similar processes have already been in place for Greenlight for about a year. As such, mass blockages of particular content types seem unlikely.
Valve’s emphasis with Direct seems to be on ease and convenience of developers’ access to Steam, and aside from an initial $100 fee that is later returned, it’s hard to argue otherwise. The new era begins during E3 on June 13th, so expect an all-new deluge of games shortly thereafter when the show concludes.