The recent introduction of Steam Greenlight has undergone a somewhat troubled launch.
Greenlight, for those not in the know, allows amateur devs to upload their games for the Steam userbase to vote on. Those that prove the most popular are then listed on Steam proper.
The headline grabber of the recent saga is obvious – Valve has decided to pull a fan-made sex game called Seduce Me from the service on the same day that it was posted.
"Steam has never been a leading destination for erotic material," Valve spokesperson Doug Lombardi told Kotaku. "Greenlight doesn't aim to change that."
Valve says the game contains offensive material. The devs argue that it’s no more offensive than adult material found in other media such as print and film.
However, the bigger Greenlight story emerged overnight when Valve announced that it will in future charge users $100 to register as a Greenlight contributor.
The idea is to whittle down the huge influx of titles, encouraging serious amateur devs and discouraging chancers. All money raised will be donated to charity.
The problem is, Greenlight sounded at the outset like a fantastic chance for bedroom programmers to get their idea to a wider audience – to encourage raw creativity from those unable to devote themselves full-time to development business.
Because, y’know, they also have a family to feed or something.
Yes, it could prove a viable business venture for some. But for many it was simply a chance to share their passion with others, and perhaps gain recognition for their accomplishments.
Introducing a charge on the face of it is sensible in some ways. Those willing to lay down some coin are demonstrating a level of commitment. But $100? That’s a lot of money.
$5? $10? OK, that’s fine. You’re still only going to pay out if you’re serious, right? But the $100 charge will result in the loss of genuine talent. Until last night anyone was free to invest the time needed to create a game and get it on Steam. But as of this morning many have been excluded.
Despite the argument to the contrary currently raging on Twitter, not everyone is able to simply conjure up $100. It’s a lot of money. Try telling your wife that new school shoes for the kids are off the agenda this month as you wanted your fantasy RPG project uploaded to Steam.