How can a developer add their game on Steam? | Law&Trust International

How to Publish a Game on Steam?

Steam is the world's most popular gaming distribution platform. Millions of downloads occur here daily, and copyright holders earn huge money. An important plus of Steam is that not only a company can upload a game to the library but also an ordinary user who realized his idea independently. Therefore, even if you don’t work in Gamesoft or Valve but are an indie developer, you can also upload your own game and make money.

However, before publishing a game on Steam, you need to know the important nuances. Uploading third-party applications is carried out according to strict rules, so it is necessary to fulfill all the requirements of the site. Law&Trust will tell you how to add a game to Steam Direct, and what legal features this procedure has.

Steam. The publication of the game with legal assistance.
Steam. The publication of the game with legal assistance.

Publishing games on Steam Direct and Greenlight

Steam Direct (Greenlight) - legal advice.
Steam Direct (Greenlight) - legal advice.

Previously, Steam games were published using the Greenlight service. To use it, the developer had to pay $100 in a one-time payment, after which he could upload as many indie games or versions to his account as possible. No more payments were required. At the same time, the publisher could upload various videos, screenshots. If the community approved the game, it could be uploaded to the server and earn money for the copyright holder.

However, now, the situation is different. Greenlight has been redesigned and turned into Steam Direct. The main changes affected the cost of uploading games to the game store. With Greenlight, you had to pay $100 once and upload billions of games and their versions. Uploading games via Direct requires a payment of $100 for one (!) game.

The publication process itself has become somewhat easier. It no longer requires the approval of players and other community members. Consider the instructions on how to upload games and applications to the platform.

How to upload a game on Steam

In order to upload your content to Steam, you need to go through five main steps. Consider them below.


  • Add information about the publisher. It includes filling out documents about the company that publishes the game;
  • Pay the fee. It is $ 100 per game. You can deposit funds in any way supported by the platform;
  • Submit additional information. You must provide banking and tax information about the organization that develops the game;
  • Prepare your game for publication. If all information about the publisher is verified and confirmed, access to Steamworks opens, where you can create a page for the game, configure the functionality, and indicate the cost;
  • Wait until the final check of the game is finished. Steam experts will make sure that the game works, meets the stated requirements, and doesn’t have malicious software;
Pay attention to an important rule of Steam: the publication of the game is possible only after 30 days from the date of the fee payment. Valve takes the rest of its time to check the game. You should announce the game no later than 14 days before the release so that players can add it to their favorites. If all the requirements are met, you can release the game.

Legal assistance in publishing games on Steam and other platforms

Publishing a game is not enough to monetize it. Intellectual property copyright protection is important. Otherwise, you risk that someone else monetizes your work. Copyright protects authors from illegal use of products of intellectual work. If your company protects its rights, other developers will not be able to use your game without your permission.

If you want to prevent possible theft and illegal use of intellectual property, you need to apply for a video game patent. A patent is a document that certifies copyright. The holder of this document receives exclusive rights to its development, and if it is used without permission, it can be banned in a court case. In particular, the copyright holder may demand compensation for material damage suffered from unlawful actions.

In addition to patenting the technology, it is also important to retain the brand. For this, trademark registration is required. In this case, it is necessary to protect not only the name of the game itself but also the name of the company that developed and released it. If your game gains popularity but the name is patented by someone else, you will have to change it. Registering an IT company or game brand will protect you from appropriation. If any company uses someone else’s name, it can be contested judicially.

How to protect your brand abroad?

By registering a trademark in Ukraine, you protect yourself from using it illegally only in Ukraine. In order to prevent illegal actions from foreign companies, the trademark must be registered abroad. In this case, there are three options:


  • Registration in each country separately;
  • Registration with the Office of the European Union (in this case, copyright will apply throughout the EU);
  • Registration under the Madrid Agreement (it has been ratified in 120 countries and allows applying in a simplified manner in any jurisdiction included in the Protocol).
The most popular is the third option. However, it is important to know that registration under the Madrid Agreement does not imply that your copyright applies to all participating countries. Its essence lies precisely in the ability to apply in a simplified manner. If your applications are approved, for example, by 10 countries, your copyright will be applicable to the territory of these 10 countries.

How to publish a game in several game stores

Steam is a large game platform, but there are others besides it. You can’t just publish a game simultaneously on several services because the store declares its rights to distribute this game, as it receives its traffic and profit for each purchase. But how to expand the audience of the game if it can’t be distributed on a huge number of sites? A publisher will help you with this. The publisher is a company that specializes in bringing the traffic. A variety of methods can be used for this, for example, offering your game to fans of a similar genre.

However, for cooperation with the publisher, it is necessary to conclude an agreement. It is necessary to specify the number of features in this document, from payment schemes to the final result and the methods that the publisher will use. Therefore, it is also better to entrust the matter to a lawyer. Law&Trust offers legal services for developers. Our lawyers will help you protect the copyright of the game or any other development. We will tell you how to apply for a patent in a particular country, help you choose the jurisdiction for patenting and registration of a trademark. Also, Law&Trust will help you to develop and conclude an agreement with a publisher who will distribute your game.

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