Valve has made a statement today regarding the recent conversation surrounding what content is allowed on the Steam Store and how it is filtered, in a post titled “Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?”
The post goes into a great deal of detail regarding how many elements related to public opinion went into their reexamination of the state of the Steam Store, and the ultimate conclusion that they came to. The Steam Store in recent years has been abused by developers who have uploaded a variety of controversial content, from asset flips and re-uploaded clones, to homophobic or racist games, to games that barely work at all. It seems that Valve has come to what appears to be a final decision on the matter for now, and issued this statement in their blog post:
“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. 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. We already have some tools, but they’re too hidden and not nearly comprehensive enough. We are going to enable you to override our recommendation algorithms and hide games containing the topics you’re not interested in. So if you don’t want to see anime games on your Store, you’ll be able to make that choice. If you want more options to control exactly what kinds of games your kids see when they browse the Store, you’ll be able to do that. And it’s not just players that need better tools either – developers who build controversial content shouldn’t have to deal with harassment because their game exists, and we’ll be building tools and options to support them too.”
The post then goes on to clarify that just because it allows games that are contentious or controversial onto the Steam Store, that doesn’t mean that Valve is siding with these games or supporting their morals. Valve simply seems to think that pruning out all of the content on Steam that is controversial is too great or too vague a task considering the size of their user base, and will now be leaving most of it up to the customers themselves. In short, it seems as though Valve will be making an effort to remove some of the worst or least valuable content from Steam, but that they will mainly be leaving it up to customers to decide for themselves what they do not want to be exposed to.
Valve clarifies that these new changes won’t be going into effect any time soon, as they still need to tweak the tools they described in the post. The post then ends with the statement “We’ll be working on this for the foreseeable future, both in terms of what products we’re allowing, what guidelines we communicate, and the tools we’re providing to developers and players.”