Valve are phasing out the Steam Greenlight system, which by ‘Spring 2017’ will be replaced by an alternative submission process called Steam Direct. The prior method of public voting will be no more, and developers will instead have to submit some basic paperwork, and pay a (recoverable) fee.
In their announcement, Valve refer to Greenlight as a “useful stepping stone” towards a more direct method of distribution, citing “over 100” Greenlight titles that have earned $1 million USD apiece in revenue. The system was regularly criticised as being both an obtuse popularity contest and lacking in any quality control, and Valve concede that Greenlight “exposed” the need for “improving the entire pipeline”.
The new system, Steam Direct, is outlined in the article linked above. Valve summarise it as follows: “We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.”
That fee hasn’t been settled on yet, but Valve say through discussions with developers figures between $100 and $5,000 have been suggested. They indicate that there are “pros and cons at either end of the spectrum”, and will be taking more feedback before settling on a final decision.