Steam Greenlight adds $100 submission fee

Steam Greenlight was flooded with hundreds of games, including countless hoax and illicit entries, within hours of launching last Thursday, which apparently makes it quite difficult to fulfil its purpose of filtering Steam store submissions. To bring the volume down and ward off trolls, Valve has added a $100 fee for submitting a game and improved the selection users are shown. Though Valve donates the $100 to charity, it's rubbing some indies the wrong way.

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Steam Greenlight was flooded with hundreds of games, including countless hoax and illicit entries, within hours of launching last Thursday, which apparently makes it quite difficult to fulfil its purpose of filtering Steam store submissions. To bring the volume down and ward off trolls, Valve has added a $100 fee for submitting a game and improved the selection users are shown. Though Valve donates the $100 to charity, it's rubbing some indies the wrong way.

Trolls and fools flooded Steam Greenlight with submissions for everything from Battlefield 3 to Half-Life 3 and games they'd decided were 'abandonware.' Valve quickly started handing out one-week bans from Steam Community features for naughty behaviour, but clearly it wasn't enough of a deterrent.

Genuine developers, likewise, rushed to Greenlight, because being on Steam can make or break a game. Valve's move to cut down on these is more questionable. It was difficult to discover games on Greenlight, shown simply a massive list of the bajillion entries, but there are other solutions to this problem--one of which Valve has already taken.

Greenlight users are now being shown "a smaller, manageable list of games that you haven't rated," Valve's Alden Kroll explained in yesterday's announcement, "a mix of popular games and new games to Greenlight." This alone will make Greenlight more useful for many, but Valve feels the fee is warranted too.

"We have no interest in making money from this, but we do need to cut down the noise in the system," Kroll said. The fee is going straight to the children's gaming charity Child's Play, but $100 is not an inconsiderable amount for many, especially those hallowed 'bedroom coders' people are so keen on. It's worth mentioning that Child's Play is incredibly USA-centric, too.

Proteus creator Ed Key described the fee as "pretty gross to me" on Twitter, and ineffective at filtering games for quality. He opined that there are many more people "with $100 and a crap game" than there are "poor but awesome designers."

Many don't see it as such a big deal, though. Mike Bithell, whose Thomas Was Alone received $2,452 in crowd-funded support, said, "If you wouldn't bet $100 on your own game, you need to consider why any player should pay $10 for it."

Paying $100 is no guarantee that a game will be picked up by Steam, of course, merely that it'll have a shot. Many are still concerned that the sheer number of votes needed for a game to be Greenlit will inevitably favour those with very broad, face-shooty appeal. The very process of searching through Steam content will largely self-select a certain type of judge, after all. As The Path developer Tales of Tales commented, "We sort-of make games for the other half of the human spectrum. La resistance. The not-joiners. Let's hope Valve likes us."

Valve's method is to launch something in an basic state then improve, improve, improve, so Steam Greenlight will certainly be quite different in a year, but right now it's causing a little concern.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 5, 2012 6:00 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Steam Greenlight adds $100 submission fee.

    Steam Greenlight was flooded with hundreds of games, including countless hoax and illicit entries, within hours of launching last Thursday, which apparently makes it quite difficult to fulfil its purpose of filtering Steam store submissions. To bring the volume down and ward off trolls, Valve has added a $100 fee for submitting a game and improved the selection users are shown. Though Valve donates the $100 to charity, it's rubbing some indies the wrong way.

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      September 5, 2012 6:18 AM

      Seeing all the junk that gets through, I'm supporting that 100$ thing. It's not THAT much to invest in one's game, even for an indie.

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      September 5, 2012 6:37 AM

      Yeah, $100 is nothing in the scheme of things especially as a business expense. And what's it matter that Child's Play is mostly US centric?

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      September 5, 2012 6:50 AM

      Good. If you don't have 100$ to say "I believe in my work" than take it somewhere else.

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        September 5, 2012 7:25 AM

        It's not that exactly but the fact that they just might not have $100 to spare. Bills have to be paid man.

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          September 5, 2012 7:31 AM

          They wouldn't have $100 to spare on a project you have probably worked on for months? If that's the problem, they should have spent that whole time working at a grocery store, not wasting time developing a game.

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            September 5, 2012 7:40 AM

            Most of the time is a project done in your spare time, you know the time you are not working? It's not a factor of 'I don't believe in my work.' it's a 'I got to feed my family.' or 'I gotta make my ::insert payment here::'

            You guys should stop being so condescending and come down from that pedestal you seem to have up your asses.

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              September 5, 2012 7:51 AM

              Agreed, zehh didn't need to be a dickhead about it. For all you know the guy who can't swing the $100 is already working at a grocery store.

              That said, it's not like there's a filing deadline here. It shouldn't be too hard to pigeonhole $100 over a reasonable amount of time on any job (ramen noodles FTW).

              If anything right now is a horrible time to submit to Greenlight because you're going to be be buried under everyone else.

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              September 5, 2012 7:52 AM

              No. Quality comes at a price, can't afford it? You aren't quality. J/K chill out already.

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              September 5, 2012 8:08 AM

              It's not about being condescending, but being realistic. $100 is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things and definitely not as a business expense. It's the cost of doing business. If you can't afford the tiny $100 filing application fee for Steam, yeah, you've got bigger priorities you should be focusing on rather than making a videogame. Like getting another job, for one.

              Or if it's that important to you, do what most people starting a business would do: go without. Sacrifice. Don't buy that extra game, don't go to that concert, don't super size those fries, stuff like that. Bottom line, short of being destitute, there's ways of earning/saving $100 rather easily. And if that is such a huge dollar amount to you, then pickup a second (or third!) job and save until you do have the money. Then make as many videogames as you want and hopefully they'll be successful enough to super size all the fries you want.

              Or not. The world needs ditch diggers, too.

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              September 5, 2012 9:40 AM

              lol, oh please.

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              September 5, 2012 1:39 PM

              I don't see anyone here is being condescending. That's the reality. Even if you've done a game in your spare time, $100 is nothing unless you have an inordinate amount of games to publish.

              I stand by my original comment: if you don't have $100 to invest in a project, it's downright irresponsible to use your time building games.

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              September 5, 2012 2:50 PM

              Then get a Kickstarter going with a $100 goal. At some point you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself and make things happen. This isn't about being condescending or coming off a pedestal. It's how things get done.

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              September 5, 2012 2:52 PM

              If you can't afford $100, you do not take your game seriously enough to sell it on Steam. How are you going to handle support?

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              September 5, 2012 3:28 PM

              [deleted]

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            September 5, 2012 7:47 AM

            Agreed.

            Since when was it Valve's responsibility to market these games? It's the same way with XBLA, people get all self righteous about it, believing that some how MS or Valve have some obligation to give a fuck about what amounts to 1 out of a 1000 chance of being a good game.

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            September 5, 2012 7:49 AM

            I think the issue is, with all due respect to the charitable aspect, it's not that you're spending $100 to get your game on Steam, it's that you're spending $100 for the chance to get on Steam.

            History is filled with people who didn't have confidence in their own works who achieved great things. Margaret Mitchell worked on Gone with the Wind in her spare time for over a decade and never intended to show it to anyone. Only after a friend begged her to read it did it get discovered. If she had to spend $100 to get her friend to read it she never would have and the book would have never been published.

            Also, yes some people will be in the position that they've got this game that they could make a lot of money with and they just can't afford the $100 right now. Sort of like how there's people out there who would do great in college but they can't afford the application fees.

            I think Greenlight submissions might fall into three categories:

            1. People who are spamming. The $100 fee stops them cold as it should.
            2. People who are making a legitimate attempt at a game. These people can reasonably be expected to spend $100.
            3. People who don't have confidence in their game. Games are hard to do well so maybe it's for the best that most of these games never see the light of day. But I can't help but wonder what games this will turn away.

            I guess the real compromise is: if you don't have the $100 to spend to submit your game to Greenlight then try to get some interest some other way. Maybe self-publish or release a demo (and a fair amount of the Greenlight submissions already fall into this category). At worst, ask for PayPal contributions to get the $100 together (everyone who contributes is basically donating to charity anyway, not you).

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              September 5, 2012 7:54 AM

              There can be another group to help your group 3 ... people who activly want to help people and evaluate games.

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                September 5, 2012 7:57 AM

                Which was kinda the point of Greenlight to begin with, wasn't it?

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                  September 5, 2012 9:39 AM

                  no, it was an attempt to let games off Valve's radar to be added to steam because it had large fan support.

                  Without fan support just getting in (I'm thinking long term, maybe not when there are only a few things in it) is not enough.

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              September 5, 2012 8:08 AM

              if you don't have the $100 to spend to submit your game to Greenlight then try to get some interest some other way.
              I predict a gamut of $105 kickstarters in the future...

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              September 5, 2012 2:45 PM

              There is a small fee for filing for a chance to get a Trademark too

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      September 5, 2012 6:59 AM

      Makes sense to me, that's hardly anything for game development costs.

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      September 5, 2012 7:19 AM

      This is good. There was a ridiculous amount of nonsense going on there for a bit.

      And I'm not a game dev or anything (unless you count MUDs! :P), but it seems to me that 100$ would be worth it just for the views you'd get by simply being in the list. Even if you never make it onto Steam, there is the potential for a whole lot of people that might not ever see your game otherwise.

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      September 5, 2012 7:23 AM

      What a swift, simple, charitable solution. Go Valve.

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      September 5, 2012 7:29 AM

      I support this. People not wanting to spend $100 to submit their game have more problems with their project than they think.

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      September 5, 2012 7:42 AM

      This is why we can't have nice things.

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      September 5, 2012 7:44 AM

      Wouldn't $10 work just as well for fake or joke submissions from people with too much time on their hands?

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        September 5, 2012 7:52 AM

        no

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          September 5, 2012 8:10 AM

          A compelling argument. I am swayed.

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        September 5, 2012 7:52 AM

        It probably would for the bored script kiddies, but look at how much spam and garbage is on the Android Market (err, Google Play) and their fee is $25.

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          September 5, 2012 8:09 AM

          That's the phone market though, those mouthbreathers will buy anything. We're talking about the PC gaming master race here.

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            September 5, 2012 8:47 AM

            yes, but you pay that fee and your game gets submitted. Greenlight, you don't even get a gaurantee that your game will be picked up.

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              September 5, 2012 8:52 AM

              Another good point.

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              September 5, 2012 9:04 AM

              Conversely, a $99 iOS Dev Center license still doesn't guarantee your shit will ever hit the app store (although it doesn't have to go through some community voting process)

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        September 5, 2012 7:55 AM

        $100 is the new $10. : Gabe Newell

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          September 5, 2012 8:13 AM

          $10 is hat money $100 is money hats

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        September 5, 2012 8:11 AM

        No way. Look at all the trolls that keep paying for the privilege of posting on SomethingAwful even after being repeatedly banned.

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          September 5, 2012 8:41 AM

          I don't think the point should be to raise the bar so high as to eliminate all questionable submissions, just reduce them to a manageable level. Even $10 is going to have an enormous impact on cleaning things up while still keeping it extremely accessible for indies, which was the point of greenlight in the first place.

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          September 5, 2012 8:43 AM

          Do you read SA? There's barely any trolling outside of FYAD and the FYAD-lites. I can't remember the last time I saw anything go on for more than a post.

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            September 5, 2012 8:48 AM

            agreed. They are really good at stamping out fires before they start. I've been very imrpessed with the moderation at SA.

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              September 5, 2012 8:51 AM

              It's odd that that impressive moderation at SA hasn't translated to here, considering Deathlove has such a mod-boner for that place.

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            September 5, 2012 3:41 PM

            Don't you post in SAS? The Rhabuf hunts are fun

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      September 5, 2012 7:52 AM

      here is what could happen,

      Have a subreddit ... or another site where people are willing to donate the $100 to good causes. It'll still have some hoops to jump through, but if the $100 is really the issue then good ..

      Another way, is to ask the fans. For a game to be at a point that it would probably get votes in Steam Greenlight, my bet is that they could simply send out an email to their list & ask for money. Heck, could be a quick indigogo ... or even run a full on Kickstarter campgain, with one element being getting the money for Steam.

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      September 5, 2012 7:54 AM

      Seriously, if a dev complains about a $100 fee, as if they can't or do not want to pay for it, they can just do a kick starter to offset the greenlight fees. But as was said in the article, if a dev isn't willing to put $100 down on their own game's success, then they must have a pretty crappy product.

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        September 5, 2012 1:57 PM

        I would love to see a $100 kickstarter to pay for greenlight fees

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          September 5, 2012 2:10 PM

          Seriously considering this for kicks and giggles should I ever end up making my game.

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      September 5, 2012 7:55 AM

      This is an entirely reasonable thing. That's no barrier to anyone with a serious product.

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      September 5, 2012 7:56 AM

      I completely support a $100 bullshit gate.

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      September 5, 2012 7:56 AM

      They should ask more to be honest. Even up to $1000 wouldn't be unrealistic.

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        September 5, 2012 8:07 AM

        I think you'd price out a lot of good independent developers at a 1000 bucks though. I think the max you could go without people claiming widespread irrelevance of greenlight is 150-200.

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        September 5, 2012 8:12 AM

        Now you've crossed a line!

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      September 5, 2012 1:56 PM

      Excellent idea. Just enough for it to be cost prohibitive to create troll posts, but still a drop in the bucket for anyone that actually expects their game to be sold on Steam

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        September 5, 2012 3:08 PM

        Agreed. Valve handled this excellently.

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      September 5, 2012 3:33 PM

      I tip my many hats to valve. I don't actually have any hats that I know of.

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      September 7, 2012 8:43 PM

      Solution to problem: give the $100 back on successful submission to Steam with Greenlight.
      So if you feel like your game deserves a shot and are fairly confident it will work, the incentive is there.

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