The Jimquisition: An Episode About Steam Direct Being Better Or Worse Than Greenlight

Greenlight is finally dying after years of promises, to be replaced by… a thing.

Steam Direct is Valve’s latest attempt at finding a content-to-quality balance. What does your ol’ pal Jim think? Let’s find out!

  • 09philj

    If the fee is too high, indie devs are going to need to drum up even more cash for their budget, which is a bit of a bugger if you were just intending to make something simple and cheap. On the other hand, if it’s too low… fuck.

    • InfamousDS

      It really depends on how in-depth the screening is. A common joke on the official Amazon Seller forums, up until last year when bad PR started happening about counterfeits, is that all you needed was a pulse and the ability to fog a mirror; For the record, Amazon requires a valid credit card, a valid bank account, a business ID, and a username but no fee unless you pay for a benefits plan. Their system is fully automated as well, and seems to be the model Valve decided to borrow from.

      If that’s the case, we can expect some kind of “behind the scenes” monitoring involving metrics and consumer satisfaction to weed out the bad eggs long after they have stunk up the house.

    • MJC

      Let indie devs drum up more cash then. They can go on Kickstarter or something similar and if their game actually looks good, they’ll make the money easily. And since they only need to fund the Steam fee instead of the entire game development, the goal will be low and easy to reach.

      $5,000 is too low, honestly. Crank that shit up.

  • Jiryn

    Hopefully this goes a long way to help clean up Steam and some of the bad rep the PC gaming industry had garnered due to the Green Light. It honestly felt like the Atari days where anyone with even the most basic coding knowledge could get their game on the platform, flooding the market with bad to mediocre games.

    As for what Valve is doing…. Gabe Newell just announced they are hard are work at making 3 brand new games. These are complete, full featured and fully realized games and not just tech demos. The only catch.. they are HTC VIVE exclusive since he and Valve in general has major stakes in the VIVE company.. so there’s that..

    • LoveGarden x 5th LD Clone (:

      Does Vive have enough units sold to make exclusive 1st hand games for it viable?

      Given the poor sales of Oculus and the hundreds of demo stations shutting down, I thought the Vive would have been in a worse situation given it’s even more expensive and restrictive.

      Sucks to hold those games away from people without £1500 spare.

      • Jiryn

        I think they all had horrible adoption and support rates to be honest.

        • I’ve seen people say that the technology will cheapen as it gets more widespread and more people start looking to innovate for it, but I honestly don’t think this first generation is going to sell well enough to generate that sort of corporate interest.

          • Jiryn

            Personal opinion
            I feel VR is and always will be a niche gimmick, made for a very specific set of games or ideas. Unless the game is entirely first person, there really is no point.

            I’ve seen people try to make table top strategy games, and 3rd person platformers.. and they don’t work.

          • Agreed. I think the whole thing is overblown as well. It has a novelty appeal but it’s prohibitively expensive, and we’ve seen plenty of times in the past how quickly these things fade away once it’s apparent they have no real legs under them.

        • Time Magazine (recently) quoted Mark Zuckerberg’s (sp?) saying it would now be a decade or five years minimum until there’s any chance/conditions of seeing significant adoption/movement. In other words, he has no idea, but no time soon. He’s the principal money nozzle of it all. So he ought to know.

      • BAH!

        The Vive has been outselling the Oculus, last I heard. Regardless, I’m not sure exclusive titles are the way to go in selling VR hardware.

        Or course, there’s always the possibility of hacking the thing and unlocking it, just like they did with the Oculus.

      • diamond

        Not to mention the Rift will now likely be pulled from shelves as a result of the Zenimax lawsuit

  • LoveGarden x 5th LD Clone (:

    But what of the Namekians? Where are they going to go now that their home has been destroyed?

    (Valve is Freeza in this).

  • LoveGarden x 5th LD Clone (:

    Also, yay pink tie Jim is back!

  • SilentPony

    You’re gonna do a Top 5/Bottom 5 greenlight games or trailers, right Jim?

    “Good idea SilentPony! And I like the new haircut!”

    Oh thank you Jim. I’m just trying a new look.

    “Well you nailed it. Now I’m going to get started on that terrific idea of yours”

    And that’s literally how it happened.

  • LoveGarden x 5th LD Clone (:

    Question, should Jim where an all pink outfit in one episode?

    • SilentPony

      If he does, he has to wear a mask too. Like the Crow lady from Bloodborne mask. Hey Jim, got one of those?

      Or maybe like a phantom of the opera half face white mask? Phantom of the Pink, that kinda’ thing.

    • Also, should Jim wear a bikini in one episode?

  • Dr.Awkward

    First off, thanks for calling out that technology and algorithms
    sometimes cannot simply do what human judgement and common sense can.
    Moderating content is a new career path and trying to deny its existence
    through such methods is a backwards attitude for an industry that wants
    to be forward-thinking.

    Secondly, on Steam Direct’s
    requirements, what about a video tour of the development studio being a
    requirement? Or a series of videos showing actual coding being done,
    assets being made, or most telling, a build being run through -gasp- QA?
    Maybe even require the videos visible to the public to see how the
    studio handle criticism or scrutiny of their work and its willingness to
    be transparent in development.

    Indies will have a hard time
    paying $5k, but they can afford making videos covering their development
    work, in fact many love it and even stream themselves doing so.

  • Peter Quint

    Lots of big companies could do lots of great things that would cost them money. They don’t because if they are not maximising profits they will be accused of being mismanaged and the people who made those decisions will be replaced.

    Small companies can do things for the love of it with profit a secondary concern. Once you get to the size of Valve and there are shareholders involved the company exists to make money and all activity is judged against that standard.

    If they have changed anything with regard to Greenlight it will be due to negative PR maybe causing future loss of profit.

    Great episode, anyway – a few laughs, some good points, glad you put these out on a Monday when life sucks.

    • Mickey ‘Pyrian’ Callahan

      Valve is privately owned – they have no shareholders to report to. What they DO have is an unusual “flat” employee hierarchy that they’re unwilling to break to hire a bunch of whomevers to grind endlessly through terrible game submissions.

      • Benj

        They wouldn’t have to change their company structure and ethos just to get some dull but important work done.

        There’s bound to be a bunch of admin crap like that already… at least this would be game related crap (and probably the closest thing to game development that anyone working at Valve has done for several years)

    • MJC

      Valve is privately owned, no shareholders to worry about. Which makes their behavior even worse!

      • Peter Quint

        Wow, no shareholders? I did not know that.

        Obviously they’re not into pissing money away but that does give them a little more leeway.

        Maybe they don’t want there to be a subjective aspect to the selection of what games are judged “good enough”.

        Maybe I’m just making up other points after it was proved I didn’t know what I was talking about with my main one.

  • Valve are devoted to laziness more than any other company I know. Once they started making so much money they no longer had to make games to stay afloat they’ve accomplished basically nothing.

    In the last six years they’ve put out all of two games, one of which is a re-release of something from 2004, and their total indifference to the state of Steam is almost impressive. They built up a great and functional marketplace but are perfectly happy to let it rot, because with no competition and no sort of antitrust laws in their industry the wretched state of it doesn’t affect them.

    • SilentPony

      Love the profile pic BTW

      • Thanks, yours is great too.

      • Chris

        Holy shit. I never noticed your profile picture is Zootopia. Maybe I should turn up the brightness to my laptop…

    • Benj

      I’ve been wondering for a while what people at Valve actually do all day.

      Because they don’t make games anymore or do any significant community management or curate and quality test products on theirvstore or make significant updates to existing games (not for awhile anyway) and they don’t promote and advertise products or have any of the logistics associated with physical retail.

      Are they all just professional Team Fortress 2 hat designers at this point?

      • Lies That Bind

        They said they’re making 3 vr games recently to everyone’s enthusiasm.

    • MJC

      Yeah I just try to buy from GOG wherever possible now.

  • Scott John Harrison

    I hope that the 100 to 5000 is a sliding scale based on how many games you want to publish – $100 for the first, $250, $500, $1000, etc.

    • Ushio

      No $100 is far too low. I honestly think even $1000 is too low.

      • qorl123

        Remember we do NOT also want to trip up the sincere indie devs with very small budgets

        • Daemoroth

          Then Valve need to pull their finger out of their ass, dip into 1% of their profits and hire some dedicated QC staff.

          This is a dodging solution typical of Valve, makes them more money, and lowers their accountability.

          As always, I could never get why people worship Valve/Gaben.

          • Kev’ Bryant

            Because Hlaf-Life was a good game and memes, I think.

        • MJC

          Sure we do. Let the sincere ones try crowdfunding to get their fee money. Anything to keep out the Digital Homicides.

        • Ushio

          A couple of grand is nothing if you believe your game is worth it but for the scammers it’s too much.

          • qorl123

            It’s not nothing. C’mon.

          • Ushio

            If you don’t think you can make back a couple of thousand dollars by having your game on steam then the game isn’t worth releasing at all.

          • qorl123

            If you have a tiny budget it’s still a couple grand you have to pay up front, let’s not carried away here. The point is for steam to avoid being a complete free-for-all, not become an exclusive club.

        • Why can’t a micro-budget game premiere on Itch before its Steam release?

    • Mickey ‘Pyrian’ Callahan

      I’m thinking more of a sliding scale based on how much you want to *charge* for the game. $5? Pay $100. $60? Pay $5000. Something like that.

      • Scott John Harrison

        I think a charge for the price of the game doesn’t work because of the the shovelware/card economy model which digital homicide used. How it would work in this system:

        1) You put all the games on steam at the highest price to get below the $100 mark.
        2) You put it on a 75-95% discount day 1.
        3) You then spam it to cheep games groups.
        4) make profit on the steam marketplace transactions.

        Just some numbers: $5 at a 98% discount you sell a game at $0.10 you with 5 cards minimum get $0.03 from the card sold. meaning even at this price you need less than 770 people to buy the game just to sell cards for it to be profitable.

  • Malidictus

    Wait, new backdrop? When did that happen?

    • Nobody’s Fanboy

      Look like the replacement from a few weeks back, but with the spots turned off (notice how much darker the podium is) to keep the glare down.

      • Simon

        That or he got an anti-glare/matte coating applied or just got it replaced. That might explain the delay while he was using the old one again.

        Looks good now!

  • I actually WOULD like to say Fuck Konami for Bombergirl for taking an old favorite and gender swapping the main character. Normally something like this would be a progressive change reflecting industry trends toward and customer demand for more representation.

    Instead (because Konami is Konami and Konami is the worst) we have GENERIC AS FUCK-looking lowest common denominator pandering trash so teens and creepy older guys can wank to anime schoolgirls with torn clothing.

    • Jiryn

      Let’s not forget that they also get their clothing tatted and torn off for losing the battle.

      • “Eroticizing beaten and humiliated young anime girls brings in that sweet, sweet yen and is the image we as a mainstream company are ok with.”
        -Konami, apparently

        • Chris Schwartz-Brown

          Have you never seen Japan before? Why is this remotely surprising?

    • RuRiK_87

      Bombergirl is most likely a Japan only arcade game and even if it came to the west it would affect you in what way exactly? also Super Bomberman R is coming to the Switch so what is your problem exactly?

      • Because it’s gross otaku pandering, which I dislike on principle.

        • Justin Graham

          OK…so it’s not for you, then.

        • RuRiK_87

          news flash, the world doesn’t revolve around you and not to mention there are quite a few women that like these type of characters and games as well.

          • I’m not sure why you think I think the world revolves around me, but okay, thanks for the reminder. I don’t particularly care how many or how little women are into it OR how small the market is. It doesn’t change the fact that the target audience is horny males, doesn’t make it any less dumb, and it damn sure doesn’t mean I need to tolerate it.

          • RuRiK_87

            if you don’t like it look away and pretend it doesn’t exist, it’s what i do with games that pander to the “characters need to be as realistic as possible by removing any distinct feature or attractiveness from them so that they look as plain as any regular NPC” crowd. there is no tolerating or not, the game isn’t targeted towards you…for example I find everything I have been seeing about ME Andromeda unappealing, it is clearly dumbed down to please a specific minority crowd am I going to insult them because they have different tastes than me? no, its in their right to enjoy the games they like as it is in mine to enjoy the ones I like.

          • I’m guessing you’re part of the crowd upset that you can’t masturbate to the new human woman in Andromeda. You do you. I enjoy voicing my negative opinions.

          • RuRiK_87

            if that is the best argument you can come up with then it goes miles speaking about your maturity

          • It really does.

    • Benj

      I really don’t see the point in gender-swapping a character if your just going to aim it at the character at the same audience (in fact a subset of that audience who don’t find hentai creepy and annoying) rather than aim it at a newer audience.

      …each to their own I guess… cos I fucking ain’t going near it.

      • Well, it being an arcade machine, the likelihood of you or I getting the chance to be near is pretty low 😜given the mostly faded popularity of arcades outside of Japan.

        • Benj

          I’m also now old enough that people would probably assume that I’m a paedophile if I was hanging around arcade machines… especially if it was near this one.

          • Ha! I actually think arcade machines only attract people old enough to remember them these days. Kids growing up now probably think having to go somewhere and pay money to keep playing a video game is dumb. Unless they’ve played too many freemium mobile games.

          • RuRiK_87

            in Japan arcade centers still drag in quite a number of kids and teenagers. its still somewhat popular. There is an arcade center near to were i live but the games arent that good, however surprisingly enough during the weekends there are a few kids hanging out around them but not to the point where you have to wait to get a machine, I think that the fact its right next to the cinema help with the store keeping the machines running. heck even the local game store put up an arcade machine recently.

      • InspectorNorse

        Well, you could do it to show the existing audience that they can relate with anyone, instead of just people that look like them.

  • Ushio

    I vote that Valve hires Jim to decide what goes on steam.

    • Nitrium

      You;re probably joking, but even then that sounds like a terrible idea, given Jim’s propensity to hate on many popular games. Unless you feel taking away other people’s personal enjoyment and choice is something that needs to happen? If so, why?

      • qorl123

        “given Jim’s propensity to hate on many popular games” What, this old chestnut again? You can’t be serious.

        • Nitrium

          What you suggest it isn’t so? I’m not saying he’s wrong on HIS personal opinions, merely that having him as a literal gatekeeper might not be a great “quality control” solution for EVERYONE.

          • qorl123

            Oh I think I interpreted it just fine. But if by “hate on” you mean “call mediocre” or “slightly criticise”, then yeah, I guess Jim does hate on many popular games /s. Unless senran kagura counts as “popular”. Which is to say, I think you’ve characterised his opinion on those games unfairly and I’m pretty sure in this fanciful scenario where Jim is a gatekeeper for all steam games he would merely reject the games that are scams, asset flips, broken, memefests or objectively zero-effort garbage.

      • Ushio

        Jim wouldn’t stop games going on steam just because he doesn’t like them but he would stop the broken and asset flipped crap. Have some faith in our lord and saviour.

  • John Smith

    I would make Valve employees draw a lottery and force the ‘winner’ to stand and the gate of the Steam store guarding the border for the next week. Everyday a long line of games want to get in and the guard would do the Papers Please thing. If an asset flip sneaks though the border then valve can shut of the heating or starve their family. Glory to Aristoska!

  • Benj

    I’m glad that Steam finally understands the need for some “Extreme Vetting”.

    From the start this should have been an Easy D.

  • Benj

    Admit it Jim, you’re talking about Metal Rear Solid because you want a free Brazzers premium account, aren’t you?

    • Kev’ Bryant

      He doesn’t already have one? Where are my Patreon bucks being spent?!

  • Riosine

    the fee should grow exponentially per game published in a year, ie 100^x with x≥1, x∈ℕ

    That way its fair to indies and will prevent spamminng

  • tom

    Plenty of gamers are to blame as well for other types of “curation” on the steam store.

    When I search for games on Syeam based on the thumbs up or thumbs down during a sale, The amount of trashy games that comes up the top of lists is shocking.

    Less so a bad example the still a bad one is the now removed Steam Curators that’s just as unreliable as many media reviews you can get online.

    Then there is Steam recommendations which is based more up on the genre then the quality which is just as ludicrous.

    The avenues for filtering quality is so badly missing overall it’s still in a sorry state.

    Which brings out the chronic and possibly the most dominant characteristic of the gaming community and that is hard-core bias.
    False; Rationales, justifications and omissions still make up a large part of gamer opinion which is a huge problem.

    Did I mention in over 800 games played I’ve never given a score above 8.7/ 10 !
    And I greatly criticise all games and especially those that I especially like.

    • That’s why people are calling for Valve to do the vetting for their own storefront, less beholden to a community that willfully trashes itself for throwaway memes.

    • MJC

      Curators aren’t gone, they are still where they always were and the system even got a recent update so that curators can say if their listing is a recommendation to buy, a recommendation not to buy, or merely informative. Just last Thursday (Feb 9th), both Cynical Brit Gaming and The Framerate Police were updated. Curators have NOT been removed, not sure where you got that idea from.

  • jedimastercosmin

    I know I’m being negative, but I can’t shake the feeling that all of this is happening because Valve just wanted to raise their submission fee and get more money.

    Oh well…
    You’re an idiot, Starscream.

    • Groucho

      I heard that last part in Megatron’s voice.

    • Mickey ‘Pyrian’ Callahan

      Yeah, I agree, although that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing. “We can’t stop people from paying others to get their games Greenlit, so why not just have them pay US instead?”

    • Caven

      Just so you’re aware, Valve didn’t keep the fee for submitting on Greenlight–it gets donated to charity. Plus, with the new system, supposedly the submission fee can be recouped, so they don’t seem to be setting themselves up to nickel-and-dime developers.

  • CaitSeith

    Well, eventually the most machiavellian developers will find a way to take advantage of the system a bring more shitty games to Steam again. The question is: how long will it take? Make your guess everybody!

    • Jochem Sev

      1 week. Maybe even less.

  • Nitrium

    Well I guess there’s always the Sony PS4 store for these devs to dump their shovelware [ducks].

  • alextulu

    “We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account.”

    So, Greenlight doesn’t require any kind of paperwork? You just pay the fee and that’s it?

    “developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute”

    Why didn’t Greenlight work like this in the first place?

    • Mickey ‘Pyrian’ Callahan

      Getting ONTO Greenlight is pretty much just pay the fee, upload your media and descriptions, and publish away. Once you’re Greenlit and want to publish an actual game and maybe even get your cut of sales, there’s a “set of digital paperwork” that seems suspiciously similar to what they’re saying here. Basically, everyone can just skip Greenlight, but there’s a “recoupable” fee to publish a game.

      As to why Greenlight has a fee to sign up but no fee per game… I dunno. It was originally altogether free! I kind of think the fee should’ve been per-game all along, would’ve gone a small way towards punishing shovelware.

  • Austin_sj

    Maybe they could charge on a sliding scale based on the rrp set by the dev?
    £500 for a game at £5 or under.
    £1000 for £20 or under.
    £5000 for £60 or under.
    Dollar prices could be roughly identical. Dev could recoup 75% if they sold enough.
    This way a shitty 99p game would have to sell 625 copies to break even. Which is doable if a game is good.

    • Jarin

      The way they were reporting it initially, the whole cost gets recouped from Valve’s cut of sales. So a $1000 buy-in for a $50 game, means they only have to sell like, 60 copies. (valve taking a 30% cut). I suspect in the end it’ll be a longer process than that, though.

  • BiG_bEn523

    Greenlight HAD TO GO. While there are many great games that have come out of it, the Deep that is Greenlight was beginning to corrupt the joys of browsing the Steam storefront, much like the Deep was corrupting the Way of the White to the point we were forced to rummage through zombies and bright as day corruption in how those games were greenlighted in the first place. Yeah Dark Souls fan here.

    Also, does having an asthma attack while watching a strip show in a smokey bar in Broadway Blvd sort of count as an erotic asphyxiation moment? Don’t hurt to ask =)

  • Za_Docta

    By the gods, I thought I knew darkness…
    but the intro.

    • Nitrium

      Believe me, there is far, FAR darker out there.

      • Za_Docta

        Not the content itself, just the realizations.
        Like when you come home and find some other guy’s boxers in your room and realize your girlfriend was cheating on you. The boxers aren’t the scary part, the information they imply is.

  • Bashtarle

    Yeah initially the whole “No more Greenlight” sounded great but the more I thought about it….. the less great it sounded to me. For exactly the reasons touched so eloquently in this video. Valve couldn’t be bothered to curate Greenlight when they where essentially crowd sourcing the whole thing…. why would I ever think they would actively curate a metric crapton of games when they stop crowd sourcing.

    The only thing this really seems to change is it might shut up the developers who where bitching about it being “unfair” that their games where languishing on Greenlight. While other developers where essentially buying their way onto Steam by giving away games or votes. Since now they can just buy their way on to steam.

    Since Valves solution to the problem is erecting a sign that essentially reads
    “You must have this much money to ride this Digital Storefront”

    Guess time will tell if this is better, worse or just a lateral shift.

  • George

    Hope for the best I guess…

  • Aaron Cole

    To add on to it Valve is also revisiting paid mods again. So expect that particular bit of nastiness to come back into the spotlight.

    • Lies That Bind

      I hope it’s met with even more vitriol than before but I’m expecting it’ll be the opposite.

  • Gregory McIntyre

    what is the poop game at 9:25 I wanna suggest it for LRR watch and play.

  • La Chica Incognita

    I wholeheartedly disagree with having the financial barrier being as low as 500 dollars. I mean…that’s pretty much nothing when you consider it a business expense and 500 bucks wouldn’t be a daunting expense to five kids circle jerking each other like BMC games. 500 bucks would be a fraction of their weekly teenage paychecks if they shared the cost thus prove to be no real barrier. Hell nearly 500 bucks was raised by Digihom to try to fund their ludicrous lawsuit against you and if those absolute failures of human life could raise that much money I’m sure ANYONE can.

    I’d personally say no less then one thousand. If your game is good you should be able to recoup that no problem and if there’s a way to reimburse that 1k post launch if you prove your game is legit (or getting at least a modicum of popularity/sales) then there’s absolutely no reason for it to be lower. You need to make the pay-to-publish cost high enough to scare away the children and the creepy RPG Maker weirdos AND make it so trading card sales will not net them a profit.

    Edit: New backdrop looks amazing

    • George

      I agree, I personally don’t think 1000 is too much when one considers the amount of time and energy it takes to make a decently crafted game. Especially, if we are talking about a legit business attempting to sell a product; however, the caveat I would place is that such a fee is indeed reimbursed and adjusted for local currency.
      1000 American would be difficult for a dev in Brazil or even Canada to pull together.

    • qorl123

      The rpgmaker stuff is fine. Rpgmaker games weren’t the problem.

      • Exactly. RPGM is just a licensed engine. It can be abused like any other. In fairness, the ease of using the basic engine and the purchasable assets *do* make it easier for people to push out complete drek. But that’s also true of Gamemaker, Unity, and even UE to a degree. The quality of the game comes down to how much effort the dev is willing to put into actually making something decent.

        There’re plenty of excellent indie games made with one version of RPG Maker or another. Off the top of my head there’s Romancing Saga, Alter AILA, Final Fantasy Crystal Nova (probably the only good thing to come out of the fangame boom of the early-mid 00’s), Yume Nikki, Corpse Party, Always Sometimes Monsters, Logomancer, To The Moon, The Witch’s House, Cherry Tree High School Comedy Club…

        • Romancing SaGa is a SquareSoft game.

        • Mandrake42

          Skyborn by Dancing Dragon is quite good. A lot of custom assets and a solid story.

          • I’ve definitely got to get around to finishing that game at some point. I loved the soundtrack and narrative – it was just hard to give a damn about most of the characters.

      • La Chica Incognita

        I was referring to the devs being creepy fucks using RPG Maker to make games rather than the engine itself being bad. Jim did a video on a few of them but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg due to RPG Maker being accessible enough that it takes practically no coding skill to use.

        Though to be honest I don’t really particularly feel a lot of RPG Maker games deserve to be on Steam. Out of all the RPG maker games I’ve seen advertised on Steam (the storefront, not greenlight) maybe 10% of them are actually worth being on a big time store front.

        • When you explain your point that way, then… Yeah. They really don’t. And I say that as somebody who’s been in the engine’s community when Don Miguel was a name revered.

          I think part of the issue is people making their first or even second ever game in the engine, and then releasing it to the world, genuinely proud of their accomplishment instead of taking what they learned and putting that to work on something more refined. I’m still not sure myself if that’s a shortcoming of the Greenlight community, or the RPG Maker culture.

          At least you can be thankful you weren’t around in the days when -pretty much every RPG Maker game was a ripoff fan game with blatantly stolen Final Fantasy and Dragonball assets. Unless you were around for that. In which case, my sympathies :p

          • La Chica Incognita

            As a little kid I had one of the early version of RPG maker and would cobble together random assets (mostly recolors/edits from SNES games) and I hate to say most of what I see floating around looks like just super polished versions of that. They very well might be good and something the dev should be proud of but still not Steam material…or at least not what I personally would envision the Steam storefront should be.

            I don’t want to sound all down on RPG Maker games, though, as there are plenty of deserving RPG Maker games out there. Always Sometimes Monsters was fantastic, LISA the painful RPG I felt was brilliant and even though I think I put in less then an hour into playing The Deed I thought the gameplay gimmick of having to plot and cover up a murder was clever enough to deserve a seat on the big table. All the throngs of Final Fantasy wannabes? No.

          • Mandrake42

            Let’s not forget To The Moon as well. Also the guy who did The Deed did a series of games in the RPG Maker engine called Space Pilgrim that were actually graphic adventures. It was an interesting use of the engine.

  • Daemoroth

    Sadly, this isn’t the solution, this is just Valve seeing an opportunity to increase their earnings and lower their accountability.

    What they *should* do, is take 1% of their profits (Last reported estimate pegged it at $730 million profit, not revenue) and hire a dedicated QC team, they can hire ten people paid in advance for TEN years with 1% of that profit.

    PS – That $730m profit was on $1.5b revenue. A newer estimate from 2015 has estimated revenue at $3.5b. Unfortunately no profit estimate for that one, but if the ratio remained intact even a little? Yeah, they have no excuse, they can bloody well afford it.

    • Mandrake42

      Well, the money paid is supposed to be fully refundable. That said, Valve has given no idea as to how that is to happen. I’m guessing that its if the game isn’t dreck? They would have to do QA to do that. Also, that doesn’t seem fair, look at all the dreck released by non indie devs that is sold freely on the Steam storefront.

  • RifleAvenger Sashiro

    Sony must have known this was going to happen. That’s why they’re moving to fill in the void!

  • OctopussGrift

    I wonder what will happen with early access after Steam Direct comes through.

    • Mandrake42

      Well plenty of games that don’t run the Greenlight gauntlet come out as early access, so I can’t imagine it will make a difference. It’s not like early access was something exclusive to Greenlight.

  • MJC

    Unrelated to Greenlight but still shitty from Valve, Steam is already DRM. Why do they let games include more DRM?! If you buy Watch Dogs 2 on Steam you get to deal with Steamworks PLUS UPlay PLUS Denuvo. Not even two forms of DRM was enough, it gets up to three!! Valve should restrict that shit, and companies can either play ball and lay off the added bullshit or they can try to forge their own marketplace and good luck to them with that if they get a bad reputation for filling their games with garbage DRM.

    • Wolfie

      But if they don’t have as much DRM as possible, they’ll lose BILLIONS to pirates!

      BILLIONS I TELL YOU! Cause when you pirate a game, you rape America. You monster.

      • Artemiy

        MILLIONS of people pirate games and cost our beloved America BILLIONS of dollars! And Jim FakeNews Sterling is silent about it! And the incident in Sweden yesterday! SAD!

    • qorl123

      Yeah man. Fuck uplay and fuck denuvo. Ubi can just do whatever they please I guess.

    • Bilateralrope

      If Valve tries to stop those games with additional DRM, publishers will just go to another digital distribution platform. One that allows the DRM.

  • LMN76

    I think a ~$1000 fee is workable if the recuperation is structured properly. If, for example, Steam credited back their 30% cut minus a transaction fee until it’s paid back, it would not be that odious for indies. The key would be having the transaction fee that have a small fixed component (like Paypal’s $0.30+2.9%) where $0.99 games won’t be able to recoup any of the fee, meaning the developer has to be selling a game that can either actually demand $5+, or able to sell enough at $1-$2 that the fee is insignificant.

  • Drake Warnock

    You know I’ve been looking forward to some news that was supposed to come out around now. This news revolves around some tribulations that a particular person who has certainly made my life a bit brighter has been going through. These tribulations are to be over right around now and I’ve been anxiously awaiting news on this.

    After watching this video, I can definitely say that I’m a bit less anxious, and that I see what you did there.

    You…made a video about Steam Greenlight, of course.

  • Hmm, I might have played some of those XXX “reviews” if the first one wasn’t just a blurred screen all the way through to the end. Well, no, I probably won’t. I have to draw the line somewhere. It’s fun to work some clips into the regular videos though … and what the hell was that opening? No don’t tell me. I need mystery in “the universe.”

    (I don’t know what is so fucking interesting about Steam. I’ve never used it, and I wouldn’t want a game I made on it. But I don’t use smartphones or anything like that, so I guess I’m just out of touch with this world. Which I guess if you look at the world right now, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.)

    • MM

      I’d even go as far as suggesting it is a good thing. Maybe even a *very* good thing. : )
      Although I could do away with the allusion to the pr0n industry, however ‘thematic’ it may be. The ‘mystery’ is fine tho.

  • Otherhand

    Well, if nobody else is going to say it…



  • Allan Weallans

    Sales from the recommendation queue going up is unsurprising, but doesn’t mean that feature is a success. I use that feature not because it’s good, but because trying to browse titles any other way has become like wading through effluent three feet deep. It’s a liferaft, not a flagship.

    • Watchmedance

      It was basically useless anyway until Steam updated it to allow users to exclude games using certain tags anyway. I don’t play dating sims or visual novels, and for a while that queue presented me with countless numbers of those until I just stopped using it altogether.

      The update at least got me using it again, but it still bombards with every new release that comes out.

  • Anton

    Jesus christ, that intro…

    • jedimastercosmin

      Notice how the YouTube comment section mentions it continuously and yet over here it’s like “yeah… nothing out of the ordinary” 😛

      • Nitrium

        Well there are TWENTY times as many comments on YouTube for this video as there are here. If you take that into account does it still hold (given that so far one in 60 have mentioned it here)?

  • Toozin

    If Valve is so afraid of paying some QA testers, why don’t they outsource the job to some YouTube Let’s Players? Give them some game codes for submitted games and let them play for 15 – 30 minutes, and then let their reactions and the viewers reactions speak for themselves. They’d probably happily do it for next to nothing for the most part and just rake in the ad revenue and exposure. It’s not a perfect solution by any stretch, but at least it’s better than doing nothing and assuming money = quality.

  • Imperial soul

    I do disagree I think critics do not have the right to tell a company what they can and cannot sell .
    If someone is stupid enough to buy shove ware without at least googleing it they deserve everything they get .
    If a shop wants to sell crap it can sell crap just don’t buy it for Pete sake common sense people .

    Jim has spent years moaning about this stuff and has it helped no it’s just got worse.
    And why Because most anti consumer thing in video games is the consumer.

  • Hiroshi_Mishima

    I’ve seen a number of developers and such (like Steam Spy) talking about this whole situation. The most common comment (groan) is that Greenlight wasn’t actually as bad as Jim makes it out to be, even though I personally only ever found a couple of good games out of it before realizing it was just a cavalcade of mediocrity.

    The other frequent mention is that the amount of garbage getting released isn’t actually hurting real developers all that much. I’m not sure how much I agree with that. It’s true that, if you explore your Queue, you can find some really great stuff you would never have seen before. It’s also, however, true (for me anyways) that I’ve made about 3% of my purchases based on the Storefront itself. Which is to say I never really see anything worthwhile or that grabs my attention in a positive way.

    One developer stated that, while they didn’t LIKE games such as Bloody Boobs they also acknowledged that it garnered enough Greenlight votes to actually made it to Steam and therefore it deserved its place on the marketplace, even if were it up to them it wouldn’t. Now, that’s a both a sentiment I can get behind and applaud (golf clap), but it doesn’t give me any personal warmth or sense of curation.

    I think the idea of a $5000 per-game fee is outrageous. I don’t have a penny to my name that isn’t in the form of Food Stamps or Disability, though, so even a paltry $500 feels rather steep for someone like myself. Not that I would consider myself a dev in even the loosest sense, but I have dabbled in the past.

    I guess my general feelings boil down to “it needed to go” and “what horrors await us?”

    • Nitrium

      But you do have enough disposable income to both have an internet connection AND purchase video games on Steam?!

      • Hiroshi_Mishima

        Well, we’re quite presumptuous, aren’t we?

        I live with family, part of the problem with being disabled is that.. you know, you can’t actually go out and find work. I can’t afford to pay what California charges for homes or even rent. Low Rent Housing is often a several years long waiting list, incidentally.

        Also, internet is something the entire household can use, and it’s relatively cheap. Speaking of cheap, games on Steam are often under $10 when I purchase them.

        You make it sound like the average gamer has disposable income.

        • I feel you. Granted, the UK is slightly different; but if it weren’t for the fact that my girlfriend can pick up the slack, I’d have a hard time renting anywhere. Long-term disability means I can’t even get out of the house most days without assistance, let alone hold down a job. What little I have comes from squirrelling away what I can of my disability payments. It’s taken me a year to get the parts together for a new gaming PC.

          The little luxuries are what stop me from going crazy cooped up in the house most of the time.

          • Don’t stop enjoying the little luxuries as they make life worth sticking around for.

            If it were up to some people anyone who needs to claim benefits would be banned from any and all form of entertainment regardless of the personal benefit they get from it. Enjoy fiscal exclusion as well as social exclusion, don’t worry about those walls closing in around you it’s all in your head which would be the final place for entertainment but is now a barren wasteland due to lack of stimuli.

        • Nitrium

          Not presumptuous at all, which is why I framed it as a question rather than a statement of fact. The only reason I queried was because here in New Zealand I just don’t see how you’d mange it, given how pathetically meagre the disability benefit is, and I know it’s even lower in other countries. Living with others certainly makes it all far easier to cope in those sort of situations.

          • Hiroshi_Mishima

            Ah, I see. That makes more sense with the added context. Sorry for getting defensive about it. I don’t know about other states, but California has a high cost of living compared to many in the US. I probably save quite a bit considering I don’t own a car or pay for the insurance, so that leaves room for video games.

      • Because living on Disability means that you are only allowed the barest minimum required to survive, and anything above that means you have terrible priorities?

        The sheer gall of those sick people. Thinking they’re allowed trivial luxuries like they’re people?

    • Sell the game on Itch until you’ve earned enough for the Steam Direct deposit.

  • LMN76

    Thinking about it, this is likely more about getting rid of the YOLO Army marketing types, then it is about quality control. Sure you’ll get rid of a handful of destitute children, but I’m not sure that a fixed financial barrier of any level is going to be that much more likely to get rid of shovelware factories than indies. If we’re lucky, not disproportionately rewarding bad marketing behavior might let a few more mediocre games through improving the the average quality from bloody diarrhea to firm turds.

  • Marcus Cohen

    Can I somehow unsee those tomato things please? Thank you.

    • InfamousDS

      No, but you can see more on Jim’s YouTube Channel!