I've been working on a little game, (which is nowhere near completion) and wanted to know, that when I'm finished, if I would be able to release it onto Steam without having to get it Greenlit.

The reason why this is, is that I already payed for tools and editors for making my game, and don't want to have to pay another $100 in order to release my game.

Is this possible?

  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a Steam Support article on this subject: support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=1657-WHKN-6841 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 6:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, there's an article explaining how Greenlight works. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 6:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Uploading your game to itch.io is free and a good way to distribute your game. If your game gets a lot of interest, you can still think about going steam greenlight. \$\endgroup\$
    – bummzack
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 8:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't use Steam. They control, price and basically own your game and you are paying for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lucien
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lolums That seems like a pretty strong statement considering it's the #1 video game distribution service. Simply avoiding it altogether is a great way to miss out on the majority of your potential sales. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:19

1 Answer 1



Quoting Steam's description of the Greenlight process:

Who should submit their games to Steam Greenlight? Is there another way to submit my game to Steam?

Steam Greenlight has replaced our previous submission process. Any developer or publisher who is new to Steam and interested in submitting their game to the platform should submit their game through Steam Greenlight.

The idea behind Greenlight is to do an effort to prevent very low quality games into Steam, and let in only games that users are genuinely interested in (whether or not it succeeds at it is another discussion).

In my experience, getting a game through Greenlight is hard. There are so many games with so many interesting concepts, and so many games with much larger teams and budgets, that it is very difficult to gain enough traction to get released.

In addition, making a game is very hard. Just like anything in life, making good games takes practice, and I would say it would take at minimum 4 or 5 completed games to actually start making games that people like, and therefore get voted on greenlight.

Don't despair though, Steam is not the only way to get your game known. Focus on making your game, focus on finishing the game, show it to other people, make a blog about it, sell it (or give it away) on your site, and before you know it, you will have a few games under your belt, hundreds of loyal followers, and enough traction so the next game you make will actually make it on steam.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The idea behind the $100 is to make sure you are a serious developer. In principle, a serious developer with a real budget should have no problem pulling $100 for a registration fee. Their point is: if you have trouble paying $100, then you should probably become a bit bigger before you waste your time getting rejected on Greenlight. I'm not stating agreement or disagreement with this statement, I'm just explaining what I understand their point is. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 7:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Considering a tiny game, made by three people in 6 months, paying say, $1000 per person per month, makes $18000. Plus tools and other stuff, you can consider an extreme minimum budget of $20000. A registration fee of $100 is 0.5% of that budget, and paying it should be no problem at all. The idea is that if $100 is a lot of money for you, then you don't even qualify as a tiny developer, and should get a bit bigger before entering greenlight and start competing against projects with much larger budgets. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 7:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Finn When Valve first started Greenlight it was free, but a lot of people were putting up games they wanted on Steam, but they weren't the developers or publishers for. Valve couldn't remove these bogus submissions fast enough so they started charging a $100 fee. Which like Panda Pajama says, should be an insignificant amount for anyone serious about releasing a game on Steam. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 7:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Their point is: if paying $100 is an issue to you, then you pretty much have no chances at getting your game past Greenlight. By that logic, the very existence of your post means that you are still way too small for Greenlight. But that by no means means that you are too small to -make- games! Just make your game, publish it yourself, or via other outlets (have you heard about Desura?), and when you get big enough that paying $100 is not a problem, -then- join Greenlight! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 7:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ In my experience, even if you get your game past Greenlight, getting the actual store page set up, getting the necessary documents to register as a partner, and getting your game actually on Steam consumes a lot of time. if budgeting $100 is a problem to you, then budgeting the time and effort to actually selling your game on Steam will be an even greater problem. In my opinion, you should save your time, money and effort to avoid a huge frustration, and publish by other means. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 7:45

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