Valve wants Steam to move further from being a tightly curated store to a more direct distribution system for computer games. Thus it plans to remove a significant obstacle to new games arriving on Steam - Steam Greenlight. A more straightforward path to Steam publishing will be its replacement - Steam Direct.
100 or more Steam Greenlight titles have grossed over $1m in revenue each, says Valve. It is happy that many of these success stories might otherwise never have been published or come to the Steam Store. The history of Greenlight is said to show that Steam has a diverse audience and the curated model stifled developer creativity to some degree. Bringing developers and customers closer will improve things further, thinks Valve.
In its recent history Steam Discovery updates, user reviews, discovery queues, user tags, streamlined refunds, and Steam Curators have all helped developers and Steam users get closer. Valve says that since the first Discovery Update people are buying twice as many titles as previously. That's some measure of success - obviously more people are finding more games they (will) enjoy playing.
Steam Direct has minimum requirements for developers
Steam Direct requires developers to fill in a set of digital forms and go through various verifications. After that initial legal / accounting step each new title to enter the Steam Store will need to be accompanied by "a recoupable application fee". (I immediately thought of the deposit put up by UK parliamentary candidates.)
The application fee will "reduce noise" in the store, however in its talks with studios Valve has yet to decide the scale of the fee and it could be anywhere between $100 and $5,000. There are pros and cons to the scale of fees at either end of the suggested range. Finally, we don't know the mechanism for the fee to be recouped by the developer as yet, and this could also make a big difference to the level of submissions.