Steam’s ‘Greenlight’ system has a bit of an image problem. The original intent behind the system appeared to be a way to get popular games that had been rejected by Steam’s traditional submission method another shot at getting on the digital platform. In other words, a back-up submission process for games that are already released and already have a decent fanbase.
After launch, however, this no longer seemed to be the case. Greenlight replaced the direct-submission webform that new developers used to use and became the only way to get your title to Valve’s attention. Anything could be added to Greenlight; from amusing demands for Half-Life 3, to half-formed ideas about games and actual, complete titles. They all appeared alongside one another in an utterly egalitarian (and massively confusing) interface in Steam.
In an attempt to dissuade some of the less serious entries, Valve has introduced a $100 USD Greenlight submission fee. None of this money goes to Valve, it’s all donated to the Child’s Play charity. As a method of excluding spam submissions, it’ll probably work (but does run the risk of excluding a few genuine entries as well).
Whether it will actually help to clarify what Greenlight’s new purpose is, or tidy up the interface, is another matter.