Steam has a reputation for being the most prominent online video game distributor. It has allowed users to purchase games that range from triple A titles to much more obscure independent titles. To encourage independent development, Greenlight was introduced as a means for smaller developers to showcase their talent and offer their products. Valve now seeks to replace this platform in favor of something new and improved.
Greenlight acts as an avenue for small developers to get visibility in the video game market and assist the truly talented to escape the shadow of corporate giants that have far more resources. Greenlight provided opportunity that would otherwise not be available or only secured through much greater hardship To its credit, The Verge reports that many games offered on Steam went on to sell in excess of $1 million.
Unfortunately, Greenlight suffered from significant short comings. Since its launch in 2012, the program aiming to help independent developers has been mired by low quality offerings as a result of exploiting the voting system responsible for deciding what shows up in the online store.
According to Fortune, one of the most significant problems with Steam’s Greenlight system is that some developers resorted to seedy tactics in order to push their games. Essentially, these developers would attempt to garner the votes required to make their titles available by bribing users for their support. As a result of systemic exploitation, a high concentration of poor quality poisoned the well of opportunity for developers attempting to prove themselves.
In order to dissuade developers from the practices of buying support and turning out undesirable products, Valve is introducing Steam Direct. The program designed to replace Greenlight is slotted to take effect in the spring of 2017. The most distinguishing change is that the new program is going to institute a fee in place of votes. Kotaku states that, the fee has not yet been determined due to the need for Valve to gather more information on the potential impact a fee would have. At present, the consideration for the fee appears to range from $100 to $5,000.
PC Gamer offers criticism that a fee too low would not actually solve the problem of a continued influx of poor quality offerings. Conversely, a fee that was too high would likely shut out or seriously hamper the efforts of smaller developers that would have a hard time fronting an amount that approached the higher end of the fee consideration.
Let us know what you think. Is the introduction of a fee likely to keep out undesirable developers that push low quality or is it going to simply set up the barrier that Greenlight was introduced to over come?
By Chris Hansen
Photo Courtesy Steam