February 14, 2017 - 10:10pm
Valve is changing the way independent game makers can get their creations onto its Steam service.
The existing system, called Greenlight, is to be replaced with a scheme called Steam Direct.
Greenlight lets Steam users pledge support for games that Valve then helps appear on the service.
Steam Direct will let developers get their games onto the service without first having to win over audiences to a title.
In a statement setting out how Steam Direct will work, Valve said developers would be able to publish directly after they completed a sign-up process.
The process will require developers to submit the same sort of information they would need to open a bank account, said Valve.
In addition, it added, developers will have to pay a publishing fee. Valve said it had not yet decided how much this would be, but after consulting developers it said it could range from $100 (£80) to $5000 per title.
Valve said the fee would "decrease the noise in the submission pipeline" which many people interpret to mean is an attempt to discourage unscrupulous developers from submitting bad games as they have done with Greenlight.
Many Steam regulars have complained that a lot of the games Greenlight shows off do not deserve publicity because they are poorly coded and derivative. Steam introduced a small fee of $100 for listing a game on Greenlight in a bid to discourage this practise.
Games that become popular via Steam Direct will be able to recoup some of the fee they paid.
"We want to make sure Steam is a welcoming environment for all developers who are serious about treating customers fairly and making quality gaming experiences," said Valve.
Developer Mike Gale said it was not clear that Steam Direct would stop bad games being published on the service.
Writing on his blog, Mr Gale said it would probably mean far more games reached Steam because "$100 - $5,000 is easier to come by than tens of thousands of votes required to pass the Greenlight system."
He said the top end of the suggested fee was "not unreasonable" and was likely to be far less than many developers paid when creating console games.