Valve is giving the community a bit of an update on its policing policies for Steam via a blog post. This post comes in the wake of controversy and public outcry focused on the video game that was removed from the Steam Store that lets gamers play the part of a school shooter. That game was removed from the Steam Store and the developer was banned for being abusive. The new post says that humans are the ones reviewing controversial games submitted to Steam and the process isn’t automated.
The process of making decisions on games to allow refuse is a difficult one according to the post, and has led to confusion among customers, developer partners, and employees. Valve has decided how to handle this sort of controversy and what games can be sold on its store and that answer is all of them. Valve wants to talk about how it came to the decision to allow “everything” onto the Steam Store.
Valve wrote, “The challenge is that this problem is not simply about whether or not the Steam Store should contain games with adult or violent content. Instead, it’s about whether the Store contains games within an entire range of controversial topics – politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on. In addition, there are controversial topics that are particular to games – like what even constitutes a “game”, or what level of quality is appropriate before something can be released.”
Valve concluded that there was no way it could make decisions on what sort of games should be allowed on Steam Store without making some people angry with any decision it makes. So, it simply won’t decide. Valve says that it shouldn’t be choosing what content developers can create and if you are a player it shouldn’t be choosing what you can and can’t buy. Those are choices that should be made by the developers and the gamers laying out their own money.
The only games that will be banned from the Steam Store are those that it decides are illegal or “straight up trolling.” The move will allow Valve to focus on building tools that allow gamers to hide games containing topics they aren’t interested in. Valve is also clear that games it allows onto the Steam Store aren’t a reflection of its values. Valve wrote, “To be explicit about that – if we allow your game onto the Store, it does not mean we approve or agree with anything you’re trying to say with it.” Valve is currently working on the tools to control what games shoppers see on Steam Store; there is no ETA on when the tools might arrive.