Editorial: How Will STEAM DIRECT Affect the Indies?

Recently Valve has announced that they will be removing Steam Greenlight and replacing it with Steam Direct. They were quoted stating, "This new path, which we’re calling 'Steam Direct,' is targeted for spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline." on PC Gaming.

So, what does this mean for the independent developers? It means that it is going to be a more difficult process to put a game on Steam, which is a good thing. The saturation of Steam was starting to become apparent as more and more games flooded in the game platform that belonged on mobile game platforms only; flappy bird knock offs, infinite runners, etc.

While the price will be a big decision that is still in the works (they are considering between $100 and $5000), the concept is exactly what Steam needed to help improve the quality of games coming in to Steam; especially since quantity is far from what the server needs. The amount they decide to go with is a heavy choice, and if they asked me I would say that they should have a system set up where they review the game and price it based on the amount of popularity the game itself has the possible projection to reach.

Steam Greenlight had become a game of popularity and was easily pushing many undeserving games through by simply having them share among peers and friends requesting for a "Yes" vote that many would provide, even without having interest in the game itself. Steam Direct will clear that possibility with developers making quick, unenthusiastic, and honestly rather unimpressive games to put on Steam and will have those developers turn to the mobile platforms; iOS and Android.

But then again comes the problem that they are thinking of going up to $5,000 PER GAME ENTRY! That number is absolutely absurd! A multitude independent developers often create games in their spare time and will take years to make sure the game is made how they envision it. These are often self-funded developers that can't spare $500 let alone adding another zero on the end of the number.

While more updates are released from Valve on this new concept, the more we will find out how fair, or possibly unfair, it is and if it will take away the possibility of publishing games without a publisher or crowdfunded money fronting. If they do raise the amount to being where games will pretty much require a publisher, then we can all expect to see a Steam platform that we used to have roughly four to six years ago. Reverting would not be a good idea and I truly hope that the price, or even a per-entry system requirement chart to rate for pricing, isn't placed too high and remains fair and plausible for the skilled and talented, yet low budget developers still have their chance to shine on the universally used platform.