Valve plans to shut the doors on its community-driven Steam Greenlight publishing tool in favour of a more direct, and traditional, Steam Direct model. For those that use the service regularly, Steam Greenlight was a section on Steam that smaller developers could put their games on display where the community would then act as a sort of gateway in order to determine what ended up on the Steam service proper. Naturally, it didn't always work like that.
And so, enter Steam Direct. Which as per the description from Valve below, sounds very much like a traditional model for content publication.
The next step is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. 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, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.
While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we’re still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct. We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.
One of the main criticisms with the Steam Greenlight program was the over abundance of poorly developed shovelware. So it remains to be seen whether this new system will be an improvement.