When Valve first announced Steam Greenlight back in July, the company said it hoped introducing the new section would "increase the volume and quality of creative submissions" to the service. Users would vote for which developer-submitted games they want to see distributed on Steam. But the hundreds of game projects that streamed in for consideration in the first few days after the section's launch last week included plenty of entries that clearly didn't meet that quality bar. There were obvious fakes ("Half-Life 3"), obvious offensive trolling ("Best WTC plane simulator"), obvious jokes (one "game" project consisted solely of a photo of an unnamed teenager), and obviously unlicensed versions of copyrighted games (ranging from Command and Conquer to Mass Effect 3). These submissions were threatening to crowd out the legitimate games developers put up on Greenlight.
So to help "cut down the noise in the system," Valve announced late Tuesday that it was immediately instituting a one-time-per-developer fee of $100 to gain access to the Steam Greenlight submission system, with all proceeds going to Penny Arcade's Child's Play charity (so Valve doesn't make any money directly from the new rule). "It was obvious after the first weekend that we needed to make some changes to eliminate pranksters while giving folks in the community the ability to focus on 'their kind' of games," Valve UI designer Alden Kroll told Ars.
The new $100 fee is similar to the $99 fee Apple charges to get yearly access to its iOS developer program, the $99 fee Microsoft charges for yearly access to the XNA development environment (used by Xbox Live Indie Games), and the $95 fee the Independent Games Festival charges for game submissions. Nonetheless, many indie developers immediately took to the Internet to express their disappointment with the charge. Proteus developer Ed Key tweeted that the decision "seems pretty gross to me" and suggested that a two-step crowd-filtering system might have been a better fix. Dys4ia developer Anna Anthropy tweeted that the $100 fee just wasn't feasible for developers like her and her partner, who "have to survive on $2000 right now."
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Article by Kyle Orland (c) Ars Technica - Read full story here.