Is Steam Direct – Hurting or Helping?
Recently my curator group started getting keys from all kinds of developers with various games, all less than 3 Mb, no real content, some of the games were old and some new. At first I started honestly playing each one, then curating the game, but soon I realized most of them were garbage, and they were just flooding them out to every curator group they could find, thus forcing the game up to a positive review overall.
I talked to a friend of mine, who is also a developer, and he informed this is really hurting both the developers and the gamers. What I found is titles over two to four years in development gamers couldn’t find, because of all the fake curator reviews, so I started just rejecting them.
His advice (and this may be just as bad) was start accepting all of them instead of rejecting the hundreds of keys I was getting, and play them, which I have, thus call them out for what they are (free key, steam direct).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Steam is working hard at trying to find better ways to get indie developers projects seen but is it working?
It appears for $100 US you can submit your game with any content and get it on steam. At first I thought this was a great idea but is it working? Here is what Steam is advertising.
Joining The Steamworks Distribution Program
Welcome to Steam Direct! This new submission path is designed to provide a streamlined, transparent, and affordable route for new game developers from anywhere in the world to bring games to Steam.
Below describes the steps necessary for becoming a part of the Steamworks Developer Program to distribute your game, VR experience, or video through Steam. For common questions about this process and more details about releasing on Steam, please see the Getting Started documentation.
What To Expect
There are a couple of steps along the path to getting your game up and ready for distribution via Steam. Here is a general overview.
Sign the digital paperwork. You’ll need the information as detailed below.
Pay the app deposit fee with any supported Steam payment method as detailed below.
Complete the paperwork with your bank and tax information as well as identity verification so that we know who we’ll be doing business with.
Now you have access to Steamworks and can begin preparing your title for release. You’ll need to build your store page, upload your builds, configure any Steamworks features, and enter your desired pricing. We’ve worked hard to streamline our tools and document all the features and functionality available to you. Check out the Steamworks documentation for more details.
Before your store page or game build can go live, there is a brief review process where we run your game, look at your store page, and check that it is configured correctly and running as expected and not doing anything harmful. This takes between 1-5 days.
There are a couple of additional timing requirements before you can release your first few titles on Steam:
A 30-day waiting period between when you paid the app fee and when you can release your game. This gives us time to review your information and confirm that we know who we’re doing business with.
You’ll need to prepare your store page and put up a publicly-visible ‘coming soon’ page for at least two weeks. This will help you start building your audience of interested customers that can wishlist your game or participate in discussions. This also gives you the opportunity to practice how you talk about your product so that you can have the best presentation when you hit the ‘release’ button.
Now you’re all set to release. The release controls are now in your hands and you can update whenever you want.
Information you should have handy:
We’ll need accurate bank information, such as routing number, bank account number, and bank address so we know where to send payments from sales of your application.
Note that the account holder name on your bank account must match the name of your legal identification described above. If you are signing up as a company and don’t yet have a bank account established for your business, you will need to open one before you can proceed.
You’ll be directed through a brief tax questionnaire to determine your tax status and withholding rate. The information you need in order to complete the questionnaire will depend on whether you are signing up as an individual or as a company, and where you or your company is located. US citizens and corporations will need information similar to that found on form W-9. Citizens and corporations in a country with US tax treaty status will need information similar to that found on form W-8BEN.
All required information is necessary to get you set up in Steamworks. Click here for more details on tax withholding.
Product Submission Fee
In order to get fully set up, you will need to pay a $100.00 fee for each product you wish to distribute on Steam. You can pay this fee with any payment method supported by Steam in your region.
This fee is not refundable, but will be recoupable in the payment made after your product has at least $1,000.00 Adjusted Gross Revenue for Steam Store and in-app purchases. Payment of revenue from sales and repayment of fee may be withheld if deposit payment is charged-back, refunded, or otherwise identified as fraudulent.
Rules and guidelines
We have a few guidelines about the content that can be distributed via Steam. Please keep these guidelines in mind when choosing whether to proceed with distribution.
What you shouldn’t publish on Steam:
Hate speech, i.e. speech that promotes hatred, violence or discrimination against groups of people based on ethnicity, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation
Adult content that isn’t appropriately labeled and age-gated
Libelous or defamatory statements
Content you don’t own or have adequate rights to
Content that violates the laws of any jurisdiction in which it will be available
Content that is patently offensive or intended to shock or disgust viewers
Content that exploits children in any way
Applications that modify customer’s computers in unexpected or harmful ways, such as malware or viruses
Applications that fraudulently attempts to gather sensitive information, such as Steam credentials or financial data (e.g. credit card information)
Accepted types of content
We are currently accepting the following types of content: Games and VR Experiences. Non-game software is not currently accepted through Steam Direct. If you have a non-game software that you wish to bring to Steam, please see Distributing Non-Game Software.
As Developers and gamers what do you think? I would love to hear feedback.