Since the release of Greenlight last week, over 700 titles have been submitted to the service. Although a significant amount were true quality titles, a number of troll titles (including a 9/11 simulator) have made the process of finding potentially great titles harder than necessary to approve. In an update to Greenlight on Steam, Valve has announced a solution to this problem in the form of a $100 fee for the submission to be accepted and presented to the community on Greenlight. Valve was quick to add that all the proceeds will be donated to Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity.
Titles that have been already posted have no need to worry as fees will not be applied retroactively. Valve is also looking into ways into improving the recommendation engine in Greenlight in the hope of providing a more manageable list of games to browse through for players.
In the announcement, Valve UI designer Alder Kroll stated the following:
We have no interest in making money from this, but we do need to cut down the noise in the system.
In the end, we’re very interested in maintaining an environment that is fair and beneficial to everyone involved, and one that [is] fun and rewarding to join.
And, of course, we’re going to keep iterating on this system and updating as we learn more about how the community and developers want to utilize it.
Analysis: Let me start by saying kudos to Valve for attending to an issue caused purely by Internet trolls in a timely manner, a problem that can surprise all of us. However, response to the news of the $100 submission fee have been mixed, to say the least. Developers are detesting the decision, claiming it inhibits original projects from developers that may not be able to afford it. Others have praised Valve for taking steps in keeping away the trolls.
I most definitely fall into the latter group. All it takes is a quick gander over at the Xbox Live Indie Games channel to see what Steam Greenlight could’ve turned into with no entry fee. However, this is the same Valve that has traditionally been great towards indie developers, and I find the whole Greenlight initiative to be a great idea. Instead of being criticised for rejecting games, they have given the power to the community itself to make their own choices. Of course, getting onto Greenlight doesn’t necessarily mean your title will end up on the Steam store, but having to sift through a lot of junk and clutter would just be another obstacle for hopeful titles.
I should add that I would be a bit more understanding of the hate towards the admission fee if the money were going directly to Valve. The fact that the money is going to charity is, in my opinion, a class act and a perfectly decent requirement to have your title up for admission.
Now, this understandably sucks for those who can’t afford the $100 submission fee to only have their title potentially reach the Steam store if it passes community judgements. However, there are some parties like Dejobaan Games who are willing to loan out the $100 fee to one lucky indie developer and encourage others to do so.