Now, it appears that has finally happened as the submission program is ending.
The new system, Steam Direct, is outlined in the article linked above.
Steam and the independent video game creators who put their games on Steam have outgrown Greenlight. The voting system sometimes resulted in controversy, however, with Valve occasionally removing gratuitously violent or explicit games from the store despite their popularity on Greenlight. Accordingly, developers offer free game copies, upvoting each other's content, while the system gets buried in legions of trash. The problem with Greenlight was that Steam could never devote enough resources to it (or chose not to) to effectively manage the program.
The leading PC games platform, Steam has seen huge popularity among fans in the past few years. As Valve pointed out in today's post on their blog, over 100 Greenlighted games from the program have made over a million dollars, no small sum for any game company, and for indie titles, it is an enormous boost.
"Steam Direct represents just one more step in our ongoing process of making Steam better".
Sometimes the developers would encourage votes for their games by doing some nefarious activities. All I really want is for there to be lots of good games on it, and a lower fee helps ensure that good games aren't left out. Valve employee Alden Kroll says in that the fee will likely be returned to the developer "after the game hits some modest revenue target". Indie developers also aren't exactly thrilled about those new publishing fees. Instead, developers will be asked to be verified, complete paperwork, and tax documents.
In the end, we likely won't see the fee top out at $5,000, but we can expect it to be a fair amount more than the $100 developers now need to pay. The system - and indeed Steam as a whole - has been criticised for the number of low-effort, low-quality titles that have become available, although it's worth noting that not all these titles enter Steam through the Greenlight system. However, the money still has to be put up, with the potential of losing it if the game fails to sell.
"While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we're still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct". While some are keen to see Greenlight go, it seems using a submission fee as quality control isn't popular.
The move to Steam Direct is just the latest in a number of changes that Valve has made (like Discovery Updates) to make the content selection and purchasing experience more appealing to users. Steam has always been torn between encouraging indie development and maintaining a well-curated storefront for its users.