Valve sets Steam Direct publishing fee

June 5, 2017 // 11:42 a.m.

Tags: #alden-kroll #developer #digital-distribution #greenlight #publisher #publishing #steam #steam-direct #steam-greenlight #valve

Valve has officially announced the fee for listing software via the new Steam Direct service, and it's good news for publishers: The fee is being set at $100, matching the fee for the soon-to-be-retired Steam Greenlight platform.

Steam Direct was announced back in February as a replacement for Steam Greenlight: Rather than allowing developers to list games for possible inclusion in the Steam storefront and have potential customers vote on which titles should make the cut, Valve confirmed it was shifting to a more traditional platform where developers would be asked to 'complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account' then pay a 'recoupable application fee' for direct listing.

At the time, though, Valve admitted it hadn't settled on exactly what that fee would be - and warned that the spectrum it was considering ranged 'from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000' - the latter a considerable bump above the $100 fee for listing on Steam Greenlight, though the latter coming without the guaranteed store entry of Steam Direct.

Now, Valve has finally settled on a fee - and it's matching the $100 Steam Greenlight charge. 'Back when we announced Steam Direct in February, we hadn't decided how much developers would need to pay to publish their games. We knew that we wanted it to be as small as possible to ensure it wasn't a barrier to beginning game developers, while also not being so small as to invite easy abuse by people looking to exploit our systems,' explains Valve product designer Alden Kroll in a blog post. 'We thought it would be great if the game community at large had a conversation about it, including both players and developers, which was why we chose not to highlight a specific amount in that original post.

'Since then, we've seen a bunch of great conversations discussing the various pros and cons of whether there should be an amount, what that amount should be, ways that recouping could work, which developers would be helped or hurt, predictions for how the store would be affected, and many other facets to the decision. There were rational & convincing arguments made for both ends of the $100-$5000 spectrum we mentioned. Our internal thinking beforehand had us hovering around the $500 mark, but the community conversation really challenged us to justify why the fee wasn't as low as possible, and to think about what we could do to make a low fee work. 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.'

According to Kroll, Valve's original plan of hiking the fee above the $100 of Steam Greenlight as a means of reducing the amount of cruft in the publishing queue has now morphed into keeping the fee low but looking for 'specific places where human eyes can be injected into the Store algorithm, to ensure that it is working as intended, and to ensure it doesn't miss something interesting' as a means of ensuring only relevant and quality content is front-and-centre when consumers open Steam.

Valve has not yet issued a schedule for the launch of Steam Direct nor the sunsetting of Steam Greenlight.
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