Starting from last year’s policy change removing and blocking uncensored patches for adult games (Polygon Article) to the recent news of Steam removing games flagged as offensive (most notably Active Shooter, a first-person shooting game based on school shootings (CNN Article)) and re-evaluating games with reported sexual themes such as anime-styled visual novels (Polygon Article), Valve has announced their new approach to what games will be allowed on the steam store.
In a lengthy blog post released by Valve’s Erik Johnson, the company explains that in wake of recent events regarding different games being taken off the store, the company has given thought on where exactly they stand as a service provider.
The company has come to the conclusion to “allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling”. Steam users will also be able to and highly recommended to override their Steam Store recommendation algorithms to hide games that they will potentially find offensive. The company further explains “If you’re a player, we shouldn’t be choosing for you what content you can or can’t buy. If you’re a developer, we shouldn’t be choosing what content you’re allowed to create.”
To implement the new change in direction, Valve is working on something they call Steam Direct which will “open up the Store to many more developers”.
Through the blog post, the company expresses that the new change does not mean that the company will be “siding with you against all the people you’re offending”, they are simply giving developers and gamers the freedom to create and play what they choose to.
Finally, the company stresses that there won’t be significant changes to the Steam Store in the short term. The changes will only be implemented after the tools required are completed.
Adult games are back.
Setting aside the legal issues, intrinsically, Valve’s new direction is a first step to truly give freedom for both gamers and developers. With looser restrictions on developers, players can expect to see a wider variety of innovative ideas in new games that could shed new light on the saturated gaming scene.
Adult games are back.
Granted, this could also bring a new surge of controversial games that will test the communities bottom line like that of Active Shooter, which could lead to a lot of problems for the company.
Another worry to the new approach is the quality of games and whether or not developers will use this chance to ruin the community with cash-grab projects and asset flips.
Ultimately, the community is the deciding factor on whether this new approach with the Steam Store will become a booming success or a terrible loss. Whilst majority of the comments in the blog post have been positive, at the end of the day, the world is still filled with individuals who go out of their way to find something to offend them and complain about it endlessly. Even if gamers don’t complain, there will always be non-gamers seeking to complain about something that won’t really affect them normally unless they go out of their way to let it offend them.
In the end, Valve’s new direction sounds like a great idea that players and gamers can benefit from, but realistically, it is still a very far-fetched idea. Also, adult games are back.
Are you in support of Valve’s new approach? or do you think that this new move could be disastrous to the company? Let us know in the comments.