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Valve shuts down Steam Greenlight, replacing it next week

Steam Direct is almost here

Steam logo art on blue background Valve/Polygon
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Valve has closed Steam Greenlight, the service on which Steam users would vote on indie games to determine which titles would be published on the platform’s marketplace. Its replacement, Steam Direct, will launch in a week on June 13, the company announced today.

As of today, Valve is no longer accepting Steam Greenlight submissions from developers or votes from Steam users. Over 3,400 titles are still pending on the service, and Valve is asking people to “please be patient” while it reviews those projects itself — the company will determine the final set of games to make it through the process. Developers can request a refund of their $100 Greenlight fee if they already paid it but didn’t get the chance to submit anything, or if Valve ends up deciding not to greenlight their games.

“Our goal is to Greenlight as many of the remaining games as we have confidence in,” said Valve’s Alden Kroll. “There are some titles that will not be Greenlit, due to insufficient voter data or concerns about the game reported by voters. Titles that are not ultimately Greenlit may still be brought to Steam via Steam Direct, provided they meet our basic criteria of legality and appropriateness.”

Valve announced in February that it would be replacing Steam Greenlight with a simpler system called Steam Direct. Indie developers will no longer have to persuade fans to vote for their games so Valve is more inclined to approve them. Valve said that game makers have complained about the opacity and uncertainty of the Greenlight process. The company also noted today that since the program’s debut in August 2012, it has received more than 90 million votes from nearly 10 million Steam users.

“We realized that a direct and predictable submission process will best serve the diverse interests of players moving forward,” said Kroll.

Under Steam Direct, developers will simply have to fill out some forms and pay a nominal fee — just $100 per game, which Valve will return as long as the title in question tops $1,000 in sales — before submitting a project. (Those who are new to Steam will have an additional hurdle: a 30-day waiting period after paying the fee, during which Valve will verify that the person or company in question is on the level.)

A team at Valve will review each submission, installing the software to make sure that it is what the developer says it is and that it contains no malware. In the meantime, Valve will require developers to put up a “coming soon” page for their game. After that process is done, the game will be ready to go live on Steam.