Four months ago when we last discussed Steam Direct, we had a look at how the replacement for Steam Greenlight would affect indie game companies. Important to note in that article is that there was an indication that game developers would be paying an application fee. And just yesterday, Valve has confirmed in the Steam Community that the price has been set.
So in the end, we've decided we're going to aim for the lowest barrier to developers as possible, with a $100 recoupable publishing fee per game, while at the same time work on features designed to help the Store algorithm become better at helping you sift through games.
So instead of the once-off fee of $100 that allowed developers to publish as many titles as they want, the fee is $100 per title. However, Valve explains that the money is refundable should the revenue received for their title exceed the application amount. This means that only games that are healthy to Valve's income will be kept in stock, ensuring that Steam players obtain only the most popular games.
It's worth keeping in mind that there has been a subtle, but important shift in the way the Steam Store is designed. In the past, the challenge was to figure out what products should be on the Store. Now, we think the challenge is to figure out what products a specific player wants to see. There are many different kinds of players, with many different interests, so flexibility in how they view the Store seems like a requirement.
Valve must still announce when Steam Direct will replace Steam Greenlight. We wait with bated breath to see whether this will be a steaming success or an utter disaster.