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Raw Fury offers to pay Steam Direct fee for indie developers who can't afford it

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Kingdom was developed by Noio and published by Raw Fury.

Last week Valve announced Steam Direct (opens in new tab), a replacement for Greenlight which will allow any developer to submit their game to Steam for a "recoupable application fee." Valve hasn't decided what the fee will be, but says it's considering values between $100 and $5,000.

For small or one-person indie developers, five grand could be well out of reach, locking them out of Steam unless they take out a loan or crowdfund. Publisher Raw Fury, known for games (opens in new tab) such as Kingdom and Gonner, has stepped in to offer help. If the fee winds up being on the expensive side, the publisher plans to cover the cost for developers who can't afford it.

Which games Raw Fury supports will come down to its discretion. "We'll have to curate a bit and, based on submissions, grant the funds to the projects we think could really be something," said Raw Fury's David Martinez in an email to PC Gamer.

"At the end of the day we'll also be running this on kind of an honor system," added CEO Jonas Antonsson. "We're pretty optimistic over here and tend to believe in people, so we'll probably be leaning on and communicating that belief and ask devs to remember that we can only support a limited amount of games, so they should only submit if they really need the help."

Developers who receive Raw Fury's help with the fee won't be required to make a publishing deal. "We wouldn’t ask for any stake in games we support in this way, we’d just pay the fee upfront and give the dev team a high five," reads the publisher's post (opens in new tab). Raw Fury would ask, however, that developers who take the grant and have success on Steam return the fee so it can be used to get another game on Steam.

Without knowing the size of the fee or the exact details of the Steam Direct process, specifics about the program are forthcoming. "We would love feedback on the whole thing," wrote Antonsson, "as someone out there might have an even better approach to this." On that note, Raw Fury can be contacted via email and Twitter (opens in new tab)

In an article last week, I argued that the Steam Direct fee should err low (opens in new tab) so as not to keep out smaller developers. I anticipated that a high fee would just outsource Greenlight to crowdfunding platforms. I didn't consider the kind of program Raw Fury proposes, however, which adds another wrinkle. If the fee is high, the curation of independent, low-budget Steam games could also happen via individual patrons.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.