Indie-centric game publisher Raw Fury Games (Kingdom: New Lands [pictured], Kathy Rain) published a blog post today outlining its intent to try and help devs afford the fees involved with getting games onto Steam if/when Valve institutes a fee-based submission system.
This is notable because what Raw Fury is describing is less of a traditional publishing deal and more of a fund that replenishes itself when successful participants pay back the money they receive from Raw Fury.
It's a nice gesture, though still very much up in the air and dependent on what sort of fees are involved with the Steam Direct gating system Valve recently revealed it aims to institute later this year in place of Steam Greenlight.
"We’ve decided to try to financially support some developers that are doing amazing things but might struggle with Steam Direct if the fee ends up being on the expensive side like $1000 or above by paying the fee for them," reads the Raw Fury blog post.
"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. If the game is successful enough we’d ask for the fee to be paid back BUT ONLY BECAUSE we’d use those same funds to continue this effort for other devs and restart the dev cycle of life. So, to begin this initiative, we’ll curate and limit the number of games we’ll support and see how this plays out."
To be clear, Valve has remained similarly vague about when/how it plans to implement Steam Direct, and what kind of fees it will charge, noting in a blog post last week that "we talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number."
In the days since, the game industry has provided buckets of feedback and devs around the world have shared their thoughts on what Steam Direct means to them and their work.