Valve had previously stated their intention to close down Steam Greenlight, a system where games and software had to reach a certain threshold of community votes before they would initiate contact with the developer and work on getting software distributed on their platform. Quite a few successful games had made it through this platform, but it wasn't without its problems - for example, some titles struggled to meet the necessary thresholds to get published. Some developers went as far as exchanging game keys for votes, a practice that Valve wasn't all that happy about.
Enter Steam Direct. Voting is no longer a factor in getting your game published on Steam; simply follow the stated guidelines (and, for non-game software, note that there are extra guidelines in the developer website), pony up the application fee, and get things moving. The application fee for Steam Direct is $100 and is recoupable after $1,000 in sales of your title. Developers who have never published through Steam will have to wait a bit longer than a dev who has worked with Valve before in order to ensure that all financial information is correct.
In addition to the launch of Steam Direct, the documentation surrounding publishing games on Steam has been completely revamped. The Getting Started guide and document portals contain all sorts of useful information about publishing your software on the digital distribution platform.
For the moment, Valve expects that there will be an initial surge of submissions with the launch of Steam Direct. Their analysts aren't quite sure if it will remain strong or taper off with time. However, one of their items of concern is that they believe that many Greenlight titles were being pushed solely to take advantage of the trading card system and profit off of this secondary feature rather than the software itself. Valve is currently working on changes to this and other systems including Curators and their recommendation engine to enhance their platform overall; more updates will be coming from the company on these endeavors in future blog posts.
What do you think of Steam Direct? Do you think the terms set by Valve are clear and fair for developers and publishers alike? Do you think it will do a better job of bringing games to the digital distribution platform than Steam Greenlight had previously done? Let us know in the comments below!