With Steam's Greenlight Replacement Raising Concerns, Indie Publisher Extends A Helping Hand

Valve may charge developers up to $5,000 upfront to sell games through Steam.

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Valve announced last week that it finally intends to do away with Steam Greenlight, replacing it with a more direct approval process aptly named Steam Direct. While it seemingly improves on Greenlight in some ways, its potential submission fee is a point of concern for some developers. That's where Raw Fury Games hopes to help.

Raw Fury, a small independent publisher behind well-received PC games like Kathy Rain, Kingdom, and Gonner, has announced that it will extend a helping hand on this front. Valve hasn't yet decided on an exact submission fee, but it has said that it could range from $100 to $5,000. It is recoupable, but putting up that much money simply isn't an option for some developers.

"The closer we get to the higher end of that spectrum, the bigger the danger becomes of players losing out on some real gems that would never come to surface," Raw Fury said today.

"In many ways, this cuts to one of the core reasons why Raw Fury even became a thing," it continued. "Most of us have been The Little Guy, most of us know the struggle that comes with it. We took similar risks starting our own outfit--it's tumultuous to say the least--and we care about making sure that talented developers get the chance of getting their game out there into the hands of as many players as possible."

If Valve does decide to implement a high-priced submission fee, High Fury will offer to pay it on behalf of certain developers. It won't ask for a cut of sales, and it apparently won't even force developers to guarantee that High Fury get its money back.

"If the game is successful enough we'd ask for the fee to be paid back, BUT ONLY BECAUSE we'd use those same funds to continue this effort for other devs and restart the dev cycle of life," it explained.

Raw Fury's Gonner
Raw Fury's Gonner

The details of exactly how this system will work haven't yet been decided on. Raw Fury said it will "curate and limit the number of games" it supports out of the gate before seeing how things go.

Valve's proposed fee would be on a per-game basis. That's different from the existing system, where developers pay $100 once to gain the ability to submit an unlimited number of games to Greenlight. Once it's on there, Steam users then vote for those they want to see released on Steam. The new Steam Direct system would remove that aspect of the process, allowing developers to publish games right onto the Steam store.

The reason for the per-game fee is to "decrease the noise in the submission pipeline," Valve explained. This is indeed a problem for Steam, although shutting out developers who can't afford this new fee obviously isn't ideal, either. Valve may still come up with some additional solution for this before Direct launches this spring, but at least Raw Fury has committed to mitigating problem if it does indeed surface.

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