After months of talking about it, Valve is officially shutting down Steam Greenlight. As of this writing, voting has been disabled and no new games or software will be accepted.
Originally launched on August 30, 2012, the system was designed to allow Steam users to vote on new games they would be interested in playing. Games with enough votes would be permitted into the Steam store, while those that fell short were not, theoretically preventing an explosion of poor-quality games.
According to Valve, nearly 10 million gamers have cast over 90 million votes on submissions in Greenlight. The company claims that as a result of that process, over 63 million gamers have logged a combined 3.5 billion hours of game time in Greenlight titles. Some of those games are amongst the top 100 selling games ever released on Steam, including The Forest, 7 Days to Die, and Stardew Valley.
Unfortunately, whatever its successes, the system still failed to prevent shovelware from funneling into the Steam store: according to Steam spy, 38% of the games on the store were released in 2016 alone. Valve has spent 2017 developing new discovery features, such as curators who recommend specific games to their followers and an algorithm which suggests games based on the Steam user’s history, including past purchases, playtime, and friend activity.
For developers, Steam Greenlight is being replaced with Steam Direct. Launching June 13, 2017, the new system requires developers to fill out paperwork, including entering bank and tax information and going through a quick identity verification process. After that is completed, the developer will pay a $100 fee for each game they wish to release on Steam. The fee is returned after the game has sold $1,000. New developers that have not released on Steam previously will need to wait 30 days from the time they pay the fee before they can release their game onto Steam.
Over 3,400 Greenlight submissions in pending status will now be reviewed by Valve. Until the launch of Steam Direct, the company will “Greenlight as many of the remaining games as we have confidence in.” Games with insufficient voter data or with reported concerns by voters will not be approved. Titles that are not Greenlit can be submitted to Steam Direct, provided they meet Valve’s criteria of legality and appropriateness.