Greenlight’s had something of a spam problem since it was launched last week. In a matter of hours the page was flooded with joke submissions, scam submissions, and things that looked like joke submissions but sadly weren’t. Projects with years of heart and dedication behind them were quickly drowned out by flash games, meme garbage and fifty 2D Slenderman games made in RPG Maker. Something had to be done to filter submissions a bit.
I proposed having a moderation team look through the submissions before they would be allowed to go up, manually checking for copyright infringement, obscenity and so on before approving each project. It turns out Valve had something a bit simpler and a lot less tedious in mind. In response to the rampant spam, they’ve instituted a one time fee of $100 to grant Greenlight submission privileges to your Steam account. All proceeds, minus taxes, will go directly to Child’s Play, a charity that donates toys and video games to hospitals.
I see nothing wrong with this. A $100 fee should eliminate almost all of the spam outright. Microsoft and Apple charge similar amounts (as a yearly license) to develop for their app stores, without the whole charity angle. There will be a lot fewer submissions now than if Greenlight was completely open, but those that remain will hopefully adhere to some level of quality if the developers were willing to throw down the entrance fee. No more projects that consist of nothing but concept art, no more student projects with Microsoft Paint graphics, no more submitting hentai games for the lulz.
Even if your project is completely legit but you find yourself unable to make the required donation, there are ways to make it happen. In the age of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the like, worthwhile projects have a much better chance to gain attention and financial support. What’s more, members of the indie community are already offering to help those with good projects but empty pockets. With this measure in place to weed out the spam, Steam Greenlight just might be worth paying attention to after all.
We’ve seen the worst, now get ready for the best. A top ten of the best projects currently up on Greenlight is coming up soon, and you can expect regular coverage of cool games that pop up on there as they’re posted.