Valve didn’t have it easy regarding the approved and restricted content in their beloved digital marketplace Steam. They got into bit of a mess after Valve removed various erotic games, but allowed some other hyper-sexual, violent and offensive games entry.
Valve has just announced that it will open up Steam store to all developers. The company will no longer police its content, meaning that it will welcome all sorts of games to its library, with the exception being illegal or trolling games.
A lengthy blog post by Valve executive Erik Johnson, titled “Who gets to be on the Steam store?,” saw the company talk in depth about their struggles with content moderation and sees them reache a new conclusion.
“We’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling,” Johnson wrote. “Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see.”
Valve also claimed that developers who create controversial games will need better tools. As such, the team will be integrating special tools into Steam so that players can filter what types of games they do and do not want to see, and parents can add filters for kids. It will require developers to disclose controversial content within games so they can be categorized for players.
“As we mentioned earlier, laws vary around the world, so we’re going to need to handle this on a case-by-case basis. As a result, we will almost certainly continue to struggle with this one for a while. Our current thinking is that we’re going to push developers to further disclose any potentially problematic content in their games during the submission process, and cease doing business with any of them that refuse to do so honestly. We’ll still continue to perform technical evaluations of submissions, rejecting games that don’t pass until their issues have been resolved.”
This is a major change for Steam and Valve themselves. Tension is already rising within communities and forums as they think such a daring decision will only result in more inappropriate or offensive games to be released in Steam. Steam is full of impressionable young minds and this ‘everything goes’ attitude might be the fuel some very hot flames in the near future.