In an interesting blog post written up today, Valve's Erik Johnson has said how Valve will be relaxing their rules for what will be acceptable on Steam.
You might have seen the discussion recently about how Valve sent word to a few developers, giving them notice that their games are going to be removed from Steam. Even we picked up on this, as it didn't really feel right.
There were people suggesting that payment processors were to blame, or outside groups like we had linked in our previous article's comments. Valve said this is not the case at all. It's also not an automated process, Johnson said they have "groups of people looking at the contents of every controversial title submitted to us".
Now, Valve will allow pretty much anything "except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling". The blog post read as a surprisingly personal insight into how Valve operate, something Valve has been starting to do a little more often lately (which is great to see).
This bit got me:
So what does this mean? It means that the Steam Store is going to contain something that you hate, and don't think should exist. Unless you don't have any opinions, that's guaranteed to happen. But you're also going to see something on the Store that you believe should be there, and some other people will hate it and want it not to exist.
Naturally, Johnson made it clear that being allowed on Steam doesn't mean Valve agree with the content themselves. However, it now means a human at Valve can no longer just send out warnings of a game being removed from Steam. The fact that they're making this step, this real progress towards being more open is a good thing for developers and for gamers.
They continue to be my favourite store and I'm personally happy they will so openly admit when they're wrong and they didn't have a good handle on the situation. Their previous rules seemed to be okay for some, not okay for others—just too vague. Let's just hope the words turn into a reality.
Additionally though, a valid complaint will be that with even less curation finding games you want to see could end up being a bigger problem, one they will need to solve. Obviously this is where the likes of us come in, to let you know about good games, but an improved way to filter the Steam store itself will help. No matter what though, someone won't be happy.
Post updated after publishing.