Steam Greenlight’s grand opening has been less than auspicious. Within hours of Valve opening its crowd-sourced independent game promoting service, it was flooded with fakes, copycats, and racist, sexist games looking to troll the Steam community of 54 million active users. When we reported on the service’s opening woes last Friday, we wondered how Valve would go about policing the service going forward since its users couldn’t be trusted to behave themselves on their own. On Tuesday, Valve revealed its solution, but the fix may limit Steam Greenlight from reaching its indie developer empowering goals.
Going forward, developers looking to get their games onto Steam through Greenlight will have to pay a $100 fee. The proceeds aren’t about generating profit through Greenlight, they’re just meant to keep the Internet’s less savory elements from ruining everyone else’s good time.
“Two things we’ve noticed so far,” reads a statement from Valve’s Alden Kroll, “First, there are a ton of legitimate submissions that people want to see. Second, there is unfortunately a significant amount of noise and clutter being submitted, either as a joke or by fans not fully understanding the purpose of Greenlight. So, with those things in mind, today we’ve made two updates to how Greenlight works.”
“The first update is a $100 fee for someone to post to Steam Greenlight. The proceeds will be donated to Child’s Play. We have no interest in making money from this, but we do need to cut down the noise in the system.”
The second fix is to offer Steam users a personalized selection of games seeking support through Greenlight based on interests.
The measure is bound to be effective. No one is going to drop $100 for a dumb Internet prank, let alone one as limited in its reach as a Steam Greenlight project. The fee could potentially block more than just trolls though. Struggling artists and students with limited funds looking to get their games in front of an audience may not have a spare $100 to promote their game, even if that money can be written off on their taxes as a charitable donation. Greenlight and other crowd-sourcing tools like Kickstarter are needed to raise awareness for cash-poor projects. That’s the whole point. If Valve finds that this fee is the only way to separate the Greenlight wheat from the chaff, then the service’s utility for independent game developers will be severely limited not even a full week after it opened.
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