Steam Greenlight

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Steam Greenlight General

What is Steam Greenlight?

Steam Greenlight is a system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the new games to be released on Steam. Developers post information, screenshots, and video for their game and seek a critical mass of community support in order to get selected for distribution. Steam Greenlight also helps developers get feedback from potential customers and start creating an active community around their game during the development process.

Rate games! You know you want to.

Why hasn't it always worked this way?

Over the many years that Steam has been selling games, the release rate of games on Steam has continued to grow significantly. During that time, there's always been a reliance on a group of people to make tough choices on which games to release on Steam. While that group has attempted to pick the games they felt the community would most want to see on Steam, we knew there had to be a better way.

With the introduction of the Steam Workshop in October 2011, we established a flexible system within Steam that organizes content and lets customers rate and leave feedback. This opened up a new opportunity to enlist the community's help as we grow Steam and hopefully increase the volume and quality of creative submissions.

We are always trying to find ways to improve the process of Steam distribution, and this is a big step in that direction.

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.

I know of a game that should be on here? What do I do?

Go contact the game developer and suggest that they submit their game for consideration.

There's a game on Steam Greenlight that I really want to see succeed. What can I do?

Go tell your friends; just don't be annoying about it.

My favorite game just got Greenlit. How long before it launches on Steam?

Games are submitted to Steam Greenlight in various stages of completion. Once a game has been Greenlit, Valve will reach out to the developer to determine their timeline for finishing their game and launching on Steam.

How do I report a fake/fraudulent/malicious game in Steam Greenlight?

When you're looking at the page for a game in Steam Greenlight, there is a 'Report' right next to the rating buttons, below the screenshots. Please report the item and tell us why you’re doing so.

What about non-game Software?

You can submit your non-game software to Steam, as well. Greenlight is currently accepting new submissions for just the following categories of non-gaming software:

  • Animation & Modeling
  • Audio Production
  • Design & Illustration
  • Photo Editing
  • Video Production

Steam Greenlight For Developers

What do I need in order to submit my game?

You'll need to fill out the submission form, including some information about you and your game. There's also a one-time $100 submission fee per Steam account. The submission will require:

  • A square branding image (similar to a box cover) to represent your game in lists and search
  • At least 1 video showing actual gameplay; what it's like to play your game
  • At least 4 screenshots or images
  • A written description of the game along with the tentative system requirements.

What is the purpose of the Submission Fee?

In order to keep spam and joke submissions out of the system, there’s a one-time submission fee that will enable your Steam account to submit games to Steam Greenlight. Once you’ve paid the fee, you can submit as many games as you want. All proceeds from the submission fee are donated to Child’s Play, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children in over 70 hospitals worldwide.

What happens when I submit my game?

As soon as you set your game's visiblity to public, it will start showing up for the community to review. Come back often to respond to community feedback, answer questions or update your page with new developments or media.

Can I update my entry after I’ve submitted my game?

Please do! We encourage you to update your presence in Steam as often as you like to keep your fans and potential customers involved in your development process.

Are there any restrictions on what can be posted?

Your game must not contain offensive material or violate copyright or intellectual property rights.

Do I need to form a company, or can I post as an individual?

You do not need to form a company, but many developers have found it to be beneficial. It will depend on where you do business and what kind of laws are applicable there. Once your game has been Greenlit, you will need a single individual or entity that will be paid for sales of your product. We cannot split payments to multiple individuals or members of a partnership.

My game is a mod – can I still submit it to Steam Greenlight?

Yes, you can submit your mod to Steam Greenlight, but in order to be launched on Steam you will need to have a full engine license in place for your game. If you have a Source Engine mod, you can learn more here. For other engines you will need to work with them directly.

I have a free game – can I still submit it to Steam Greenlight?

Yes, you can submit your free game to Steam Greenlight. Note that once your game has been Greenlit and you are preparing for release, any in-game transactions or subscriptions available to Steam customers must be purchasable only by the Steam Wallet.

I have a game that runs in a web browser – can I submit it to Steam Greenlight?

Games distributed by Steam must be able to launch and run as stand-alone applications. If you have a browser-based game, you will need to create a version that can operate as a stand-alone executable and not require use of the customer's web browser.

What systems must my game run on?

To remain in Steam Greenlight and qualify for distribution via Steam, your game must at least run on a Windows PC. You can also be developing for any other platform you like, but we are only able to support PC, Mac and Linux releases at this time.

How are games ranked on Steam Greenlight? How do I know how well my game is doing?

Games are ranked by the number of up-votes from the community. Once your game is submitted, you will see data on how your game is performing relative to other games in Steam Greenlight.

How many votes does a game need to get selected?

The specific number of votes doesn't matter as much as relative interest in a game compared with other games in Steam Greenlight—we need customers to help us prioritize which games they want to see made available on Steam.

We're going to be reaching out to developers as we see their games getting traction regardless of whether they have achieved a specific number of votes or are sitting 1st or 2nd place at any given time. We are most interested in finding the games that people want, not requiring them to hit a specific number of votes.

How can I get more votes for my game?

We recommend reading through our tips for marketing on Steam Greenlight.

Can I give away copies of my game in exchange for votes?

We don't think that giving away copies of your game in exchange for votes accurately reflects genuine customer interest. That is something we continue to take into account when evaluating titles to be greenlit.

If my game is accepted through Steam Greenlight, can I give my previous customers keys for the Steam version?

Once your game is accepted for distribution on Steam, we will give you as many keys for your game as you want at no cost.

How often will Valve be selecting games from Steam Greenlight?

We will regularly be selecting games from Steam Greenlight, based on our bandwidth to ship games on Steam.

What happens after my game gets Greenlit?

Once your game is Greenlit, you will receive an e-mail at the address associated with the account that posted your submission. This e-mail will notify you of your product's Greenlighting and will invite you to begin filling out the digital paperwork. You can take as much time as you need to complete the paperwork and/or to work on your product before releasing. You can learn more about the digital paperwork and about launching on Steam here.

What if someone else has posted my game?

If your game has been posted by someone else and you wish for it to be taken down, please visit and follow the instructions under 'Claims of Copyright Infringement'.

What if my game never gets accepted?

Currently your game will remain on Steam Greenlight unless you decide to take it down.

What if I don’t want to announce my game early but I still want it to be on Steam?

Once a game is accepted through Steam Greenlight, it doesn’t take long to get it launched on Steam, so feel free to hold off on posting to Steam Greenlight until you’re ready to announce.

Are there resources to help me market my game?

There is a Steam Greenlight Widget-creator where you can make a widget to post on your website. We also have logos that you can use in conjunction with marketing about your game on Greenlight.

How early in development can I post my game?

There are two categories in Steam Greenlight: One for mostly-finished games seeking distribution via Steam and one for early builds and concepts that are simply seeking feedback from the community. You can choose the right category for your title when you post.

Can more than one steam account be associated with a greenlight submission?

Yes, once you have filled in the basic information for your Greenlight entry, you can add additional Contributors.

  1. If you are just creating your item and have entered basic information, click "View item" in the upper-right corner to go to your submission in Greenlight.
  2. Then, on your item’s page in Greenlight, under "Owner Controls" in the right-hand column, there is a link to "Add/remove Contributors"
  3. Click the link and select anyone from your Steam Friends list to add as contributors.
  4. The selected friend(s) will receive an e-mail notifying them of the action and asking them to accept the invitation to be a contributor.
  5. Once they accept, they will have the ability to edit links, post announcements, and delete comments.

Should I create a new Steam account to post with?

This will depend on your situation. If your Steam account is already associated with a Steamworks partner and your submission is for that partner, then you should continue to use that Steam account. If you are a member of an existing Steamworks partner but wish to post a submission that will not be part of that Steamworks partner, then please create a new Steam account before you post.

If you represent a team of individuals or a company, you may find it beneficial to create a new Steam account to represent your team or company rather than using your personal account to post.

I'm not submitting a game, I'm submitting Software. Is there anything special I should know?

Submitting software is exactly like submitting a game. The submission process is the same, and customers will be able to vote on it just like they do for games. The business terms are also the same.

What carries over from concept to regular submission?

Greenlight does not currently support switching between concept, game, and software categories. If you have an entry in one category and need it to be in a different category, you will need to create a new entry under the desired category.

Steam Business Terms

Who sets the price for my game on Steam?

Pricing is very title specific, and we’ve got a lot of data and experience to help you decide on what the best price is for your title. We’ll work with you to figure out pricing.

What is your revenue split?

We don’t discuss our revenue split publicly. Once your game goes through Steam Greenlight, we will get to those details.

Do the steam royalties apply before or after VAT/country specific taxes?

Taxes are removed before calculating royalties.

What is the common payment interval and can we group transactions to minimize banking fees?

We make monthly statements and payments.

What other fees come out of my revenue share?

There are some specific adjustments made depending on such things as fraud and returns and these are outlined more fully in our distribution agreement that we will send to you if your game is going on Steam. We do not make deductions for marketing or bandwidth.

Do you require exclusivity for titles you sell on Steam?

We think you should get your game in front of as many people as you can, therefore we do not require or recommend exclusivity on titles.

What are my marketing options on Steam?

We do not sell any of our marketing on Steam. We will work with you to determine the best marketing plan for your title.

Are Steamworks features required for distribution on Steam?

Many of our Steamworks features are popular with customers – like Steam Cloud support and Achievements. While we recommend that you include them in your games, they are not required.


How do I get access to Steamworks?

You can download the Steamworks SDK, view documentation, and compile with a test appID by visiting and accepting the SDK Access Agreement. Developers wishing to integrate the Steamworks SDK with their own games or applications still need to first be Greenlit and provided with an appID.

My game is in early development stages, don’t I need to plan for the SDK integration now?

The Steamworks SDK is easy to integrate, so you can wait until your game is further along in the development cycle before worrying about it. In the meantime, you can download the Steamworks SDK, view documentation, and compile with a test appID by visiting and accepting the SDK Access Agreement.

Do you take XNA, Java, Flash or Adobe Air games?

Yes, we accept all four types on Steam as well as any application that can run as a stand-alone executable. For example, Flash games need to be exported as exe or wrapped so that they launch from a stand-alone executable. Games exported from Gamemaker need to be exported as a stand-alone .exe.

What language is the Steamworks API available in?

The Steamworks API is written in C++. If your game or application is written in another language, it may be possible for you to create a wrapper that can interface between the Steamworks API and your product. For some languages, other game developers may have already written such wrappers and may be willing to share theirs.

Do you have wrappers for games developed in .NET, Java, or Actionscript?

We do not have any wrappers available as part of the SDK. However, other game developers may have already written such wrappers and may be willing to share theirs.

Do you have a DRM solution for Java, .NET, Flash and Adobe Air?

We currently do not have a way to DRM these titles.

What engines does Steamworks support?

Steamworks is written in C++ and can be integrated into any engine. Currently, no official wrappers are provided for languages other than C++, though you may be able to find wrappers available from other developers. There are no specific engine requirements for submitting your game to Steam or using Steamworks.