Steam Direct allows any developer to get a game up on the site, with the caveat that they pay a fee ranging from $100 to $5,000. The new program will soon replace Steam Greenlight, in which games are voted onto the platform by users. The fund will thus guarantee distribution for games, and what's left over can be used for marketing to give them some exposure, too. That way, "developers are free to dedicate more fan-raised money to making their games," writes Fig co-founder Justin Bailey.
Fig is following the lead of publisher Raw Fury, which offered to pay the Steam Direct fee and only demand repayment if the title is a success. However, since Fig is also a crowd-funding site, so it will have a built-in base of players who have backed the project.
The company is also aligned with developers and investors (via "Fig Shares"), so that users can also bankroll titles to a maximum of $10,000 and get a possible return. That system "increases the chances that titles ... come to market successfully and reach their intended audiences," Fig claims. Though there's a lot of inherent risk in such an investment, 11 of 14 games have hit their goals so far, raising nearly $10.9 million. That includes Psychonauts 2 (above) which raised over $3.8 million and is due next year.