So Steam Direct backfired again, can't say some of us didn't tell you so.

End of the year is coming and here’s a look back on Steam which has had even more submissions, more than ever before.

This is naturally the result of the 100 dollar entry fee, and lack of valves human intervention.

Many of us where claiming that the fee was much too low and will open the flood gates even more.

I think this was one of the fundamental reasons. It should’ve been at least 1000+ if you ask me. In all seriousness I wouldn’t mind asking it to be 4000+, and we are ‘poor’ indie devs here, but i’ll flip burgers if i have to.

The $100 fee seems to exist to stop scams and attempts of individuals completely flooding the market with crap games. It’s not meant to be quality control or a real barrier to entry. Steam is basically Newgrounds at this point, any developer can submit their game. Steam wants as many games as possible.

Steam use to be a filter, which meant if you made it on Steam, you made money. Sometimes filters help a developers game stand out by filtering out the clutter, sometimes filters catch good games so they never get a chance. Without Steam being a filter, now content creators, streamers, and gaming websites need to act as a filter, and ability to market as another filter that goes along with it.

The purely selfish answer to the question “are artificial filters or barriers are a good thing or bad thing?” boils down to are you a developer whose game would likely get past a filter like Steam was, or not.

The bigger question is are artificial filters or barriers a good thing as a whole? And generally the answer is no for consumers and independent developers. We’re getting more and better independent movies, music, and games, because of these artificial filters being removed. Things like game engines being affordable and available for anyone to use.

I honestly don’t think making the entry fee higher would be doing any good. Steam already made it 100$ PER submission, which can get pretty expensive, if you want to spam steam. You are also not accounting for people, who actually have talent, but not the financial background to get on steam and sell their game. YOU might be able to pay that amount, but others can’t. The only thing, which would need to change is human curation from valve. No automated system in the world will filter out all the garbage, so it absolutely NEED valve employees to look over the submissions.

Right at the start I didn’t think that steam direct would change anything.Valve needs to curate it with humans. The same applies for youtube too btw.

So my sentiment is not to change the entry fee or we will actively lock out a lot of potential interesting indie titles. Just FYI: You appear to be very pretentious.

The $100 boundary is far too low and it’s nothing to do with being pretentious; it needs to be at least an order of magnitude higher to prevent the torrent of absolute ***** pouring through the gates. At $100, a shovel-ware developer need only sell a small number of titles with a price of less than $3, and they can make considerable revenue from additionals like trading cards. If the only barrier to entry for Steam is financial, then it needs to be a hurdle sufficient enough to ensure quality. There are plenty of these low price asset flip games that serve no purpose other than to give people achievements and generate trading cards that have made around 1000 sales per piece - this suggests that the barrier to entry needs to be at least $2000 per title.

The “poor developers who can’t afford more than $100” is a trite one, and it’s also a fallacy. If someone has confidence that their product is worth selling, then the means to acquire the access fee is within their reach (investment, small business loans, publishers, crowdfunding, and more). If they don’t believe they can make their return on the entry fee, or they can’t find anyone to help them raise it then I would hazard to suggest that the game is not actually worth selling.

A higher fee would certainly reduce the number new games arriving and this may be viewed as a benefit because it would increase the visibility of the titles that do get submitted.

But perhaps false barriers to entry is not the best solution to increase visibility? It only increases the visibility of games that have more money to spend, not of games that are actually better.

The reality is that visibility in a crowded marketplace is a common marketing problem with no simple solution.

I wholeheartedly disagree ambershee. Asset flippers and such are people, who are actually very inventive. They will find a way around this barrier, if you like it or not. The only ones being punished for it are people, who actually can’t afford the fee. No human is born equal and have the same financial background like you. It is always easy to say that you just get to work, save your earnings and release the game. But real game development takes TIME and quite a lot of it, if you are not an asset flipper. If you don’t have a team, it is even worse. And to acquire a team, you mostly have to pay them aswell. It is a circle of investment. Get a loan? As if banks are giving a small indie developer just a loan… you are just delusional. Come on, I tried it. They want security, not promises.

And the greatest BS I’ve ever heard is tieing the financial situation to talent or even being a good developer is just stupid.

I agree to disagree. I honestly don’t think a higher entry fee would change anything. A **** valve steam employee could spot one of these asset flips pretty fast. Come on, Valve has enough money. Valve is just not interested in hiring people, because they have their lovely automated solutions, which are no solutions, but rather faux mechanics.

EDIT: Btw, I meant the way OP came across was “pretentious”.

Sorry I don’t think i’m being pretentious, I think that’s a false statement and one that may be considered a bit rude.

I absolutely don’t buy the starving artist on a 100 dollar argument either, I was and partly am in that boat myself and so are many others here.

So nagging about it gets nowhere and one that i consider as immature and devoid of any life experiences (Not implying you are, just general terminology, maybe someone who is a young arrogant student will say such things, those who haven’t been out in the wild yet but like to make judgements on life and how unfair **** is).

I’m also not disillusion that 100 + dollars is going to prevent some talent somewhere to do a nice game and publish, i think if they can buy their household items on an average day and make do with life then they sure can afford to pay much more than just 100 dollars to publish their game which one would assume they’ve worked hard on for many months or years. And if they haven’t worked hard on anything or are some hobbyists having fun with UE assets at their parents basements then sorry they have no place or excuse to complain about not being able to publish their game because of financial reasons.

If valve doesn’t want to have human intervention for whatever reason then raising the price tag was going to be the second best option. And anyone serious will work those extra days flipping burgers if they have to if they believe in their products and the substantial personal investments in them.

I’ve been there and done it, gone through both business loans, gone through private investment channels, and I’ve talked to small publishers. Those are all options on the table; a small business loan should be fairly easy to obtain if you can demonstrate why you believe you can succeed - they accept that you might not and this is a risk both you and the loaner accept. Private investment is available for those that can produce a reasonable business plan. Failing that, there are dedicated small publishers who exist solely to prop up these kinds of small indie developers and assist them getting their games to market. Crowdfunding is also always an option. FYI, when I received my loan, I was unemployed and owned no property to speak of, my financial status wasn’t exactly secure - I still got a fairly substantial loan based on my ability to demonstrate confidence in the product and ability to succeed.

None of those (except potentially the loan since it affects your ability to pay the loan back in a failure case) care at all about your current financial status, they care about your ability to succeed.

If you’re finding that none of these options are working for you, it is highly likely you do not have the ability to succeed. At this point in time, rather than looking to blame Valve for erecting an impossible barrier to entry, or other developers being ‘pretentious’ and unwilling to accept rivalry from supposedly more innovative, poorer developers, maybe you should evaluate why you don’t have the ability to succeed and why nobody is willing to invest in you and your business - because I can tell you for free that the answer is that there’s either a problem with your product or your business (or both).

From a related perspective, Steam isn’t a charity, it’s a business - it’s genuinely in Valve’s interest to stock titles that are actually going to sell. From a consumer perspective it helps nobody to have a storefront saturated in products nobody wants to buy.

To be fair, the average annual salary in some countries is as low as $1000; and for people in those territories $100 is a significant amount of money. Arguably though, the overwhelming majority of those people don’t also have access to development hardware (nor the ability to handle banking in a suitable manner). For those people, small publishers are likely a decent target for getting a product to market.

I agree Ambershee,

But tell you what I am very aware of that income because i was part of it for much less than that budget i can assure you, and I still know serious devs and artists working hard for under that budget in those countries and none of them complain because they understand the situation. The world is a tough and brutal place, they want to nag about a 100+$, they can do so all they want but fact is most (not all) of these people who do, don’t even try hard to half succeed or get anything half decent done in their lives always blaming the world and not really trying, that has been our experience at least. Which is why coming from such a background I may speak about the situation with a bit more liberty having been there and crawled my way up or out.

At the end Valve doesn’t care and it’s a business for them ( a bad model which is prone to failure at some point in the future) but what does get perplexing is the added layer of complaints regarding how even a few hundred extra is suddenly a big deal in the world, that sort of behavior can backfire on the hard work and at the expense of those giving in everything they’ve got to complete a ‘good’ product. That can turn very political and ugly in my book as it becomes a privilege position of sort argument.

Well… I have not the ability to succeed. The discussion is over here. I don’t need that in my life right now. I trained myself to be a good developer and not screw over the consumers. What I worked hard on was actually SUPPORTING my game after I release it. Frankly, A LOT of people don’t know to fix their stuff, AFTER they’ve released it. I wanted to have that ability, so I am able to fix it and not to screw my fans/my costumers over. Every year I worked really hard to learn. Learning by doing every day, even weekends.

I will press on and work hard. I never released anything, because I didn’t want to release something half baked. So excuse me for ensuring that I am up for the task of creating a good game.

I’m done.

Good on you man then there’s no problem here, more power to you. Honestly I wish you the best with your endevour.

My issue solely lies on the ‘devs can’t afford a few $$ barrier’ argument that’s it.

I respect you off this simple line. I get so tired of this fall back people are using “oh im too poor to afford this and that”.
Not to flip the thread off topic, but, man, ppl need to get a serious grip of investing in their selves and stop pretending to be a studio/company that can afford a game and then hold a hand out like some sort of homeless indie beggar.

Anyways …

I agree, i think $2500 would have hit the spot for Steam. I mean lets be serious, if a dude can spend $50 on an asset, then the $100 to steam and release the asset as a game …
Since the release of “the new way” i have seen more Marketplace items released as games then anything else.

My company is releasing to steam, but, we are reluctant to do so because its full of ■■■■ and players now have a distrust to the “indie” name. I wish that they had done a better job. If they cant “man hour” this they need to put a financial header on it that is out of reach for most.

Add an additional area for the free/$100 people that want to toss their stuff in the pool …

Maybe that’s a better idea, 2 scales, 3 sections.
1 for the “known high traffic” companies (lets say after 100k copies sold, you are in, or, whatever …)
1 for “high payers” that goes right into steam and sit just under the high rollers club
1 for the steam direct $100 people - where people assume its an asset flip and they know what to expect!

I am smart!

Thanks for the encouraging words. I have to apologize to you atleast. Just the title with “…can’t say some of us didn’t tell you so” seemed a little pretentious or is just bad wording. I give you the benefit of the doubt. I have no beef with you. Like I said, I agree to disagree. I honestly don’t think it will matter, because shady people always find ways to exploit systems. Nothing is better than human oversight. I think we agree atleast in that point. Nobody is really interested in a second best solution, because there is the best solution, but Valve is reluctant to do it.

Haha actually that could have been an option. At least to categorize and manage expectations for consumers.

Unfortunately currently they are all in the same basket and if you don’t have good cash for strong marketing good luck making anything visible out there.
I like what GOG is doing and how they handpick stuff there. I hope Steam will start feeling the heat from other stores, but that’s wishful thinking.

Agree! But the problem is US corps have been addicted to culling headcount for 2 decades.
Everything is Algo-driven now. All hail the new gold: AI and Automation, who needs humans!
Look at the push-back from Facebook and Twitter, even after all the US election revelations…
Both reluctant to hire curators to halt the ‘Fake News’ problem, but they fear regulation more!

However beyond the $100 issue, the greediness of the stores themselves is a major barrier imho.
SteamSpy reckons the average game takes home about $20-30k USD but that’s only on average.
Average means half the time that’s wrong and its less… With a 30% cut, in many cities that’s brutal…

Even the likes of Tim Sweeney are calling out the big online stores about this, but will anything change…
Doubt it, unless Epic wants in: [USER=“35”]Tim Sweeney[/USER] … Help change this: Sell games on the Marketplace!
Competition is what they fear… If Epic don’t do it, its a safe bet Amzn will offer this to Lumberyard devs…

In Latam, the cost of living is about a third, with a corresponding drop in income but inflation is higher.
But what can sting is the $100 on top of already way higher costs such as gaming hardware / hosting.
A typical gaming rig actually costs double versus US prices after Currency, VAT, Duties are added on.

If you’re a student your college may have rigs, but its likely the spec falls more towards Unity / UDK.
Outside major cities, the income divide easily reaches 5:1 to 10:1, making these costs impossible.
So what do people do? Wait till friends are visiting the US then ask them to buy from retailers there.:stuck_out_tongue:

The $100 fee is clearly too low since there’s so many bad games making it through, the people making them are able to afford to pay $100 to get that stuff put through so it’s not stopping anything.

But–the solution isn’t to increase the entry fee, it’s to hire people to review each game submission. It’ll be cheaper than all of the development they’ve put in to try and cull games automatically and they could still charge a submission fee (whether it’s $100 or something else) to offset the cost of having to review the games.

Ok, remove the $100 fee … you are still looking at someone who can fork out “double” prices over the US prices … so $100 should be nothing. The point you are making gets lost when you say it costs soo much for them, then, complain how the fee would break the process. lol … really? hwo about the process is broken for “them” to start. Whats the steam fee gotta’ do with any of that? Sorry life costs money, and, so does working in an industry that costs a TON of money, no matter where you live.

== using the quote as the example ==

I dont own a F1 race car. I want to be a F1 driver. Should i show up with my civic and demand that the F1 cars should only go my top speed because “fair” ?
But i cant afford an F1 car. So?
But im a student … so?
But i have bills … so?
But the bank wont loan me money … and?

All sounds like YOU (general term, not you specifically) problems. If someone burns a couple G’s on a dev rig, and cant afford a 2k+ fee … because bills and other life things, maybe they need to take a second look at their life and make better choices. Maybe getting a job would help? Silly, i know. Maybe getting an intern at a current studio? I know, making someone actually work for something is just silly, but hear me out.

I have a international recognized LLC.
I started it all with my own $ (mind you, that means i worked my butt off)
I have 6 kids + 1 dog
I am married
I have bills
I own a $7k dev machine
I have others i pay working for me
I have another job that pays for it all (i work 40+ hours a week, and run a 24/7 week long on-call rotation as well)
The excuse is just that. An entitled excuse. i see this excuse all day on the marketplace for a $50 asset. “Oh this looks awesome, any chance the price will drop? im poor indie dev” or even seen some bold “can i have this free? and samples of your code for this? how about a guide so i can do it myself with a downloadable project so i dont have to”

All excuses that have been said again and again … yet … some how … they can afford all this time in a project, all this money spent on assets, but, crying over the fees. Make it way higher then $100 for steam and wave by to all these crying kids on here, and there, talking about how dev should be a free process where ppl do it all for them.

Pick yourself up, assess your current life situation, fix it, then try something out of your realm of burger flipping …

Again, this isnt direct at you @franktech - its a very general statement when using “you”.

I agree with this 100%
Sadly, until it happens, this is the only resolution, but, that wont happen either … so … at the end of the day, we have to wait for someone else to become the platform … that wont happen any time soon … so … . “it is what it is”


$100? We’re not talking about the right things or what really matters in my view!
I believe the 30% store cut is the real elephant in the room here, not $100 USD…