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Valve are easing up on what content is allowed on Steam

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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.

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100 comments
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chriskringel84 8 June 2018 at 3:59 pm UTC
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The Store Preferences work really well for me. I once made an account for my dad, and he likes some games here and there (mostly during the winter time only though) but he doesn't like gore, violence or anime. So I checked the box to not show violence/gore and plus you have a setting there additionally to filter out up to 5 or so tags (e.g., "anime", "mature", "dating sim", and so on) and then we hit the Discovery Queue of the store and clicked a few times "Not Interested" for games and genres we didn't want to see that much -- and it works really well.

So I'm glad that Steam's default setting what is allowed in the Store are this customizable and in default I really like them being less strict than strict. So happy this whole situation about Valve somewhat "threatening" a few developers - and it look so randomly to me - is now solved with I guess a good ending. I'm all in for an open and customizable platform with as less restrictions as possible. Of course quality vs. quantity wise regardless of the content the 100% curated days of Steam also had their charm, but I guess with the flood of new titles these days certainly are over.
monnef 8 June 2018 at 4:08 pm UTC
rkfg
monnefI don't agree with censorship and my opinion is, that only a game (or any other medium) literally exciting violence in concrete context (e.g. "kill the man A today around 12" ) should be illegal and censored/removed from distribution platform like Steam. That's the sane definition of hate speech
Ever played Hitman?
Oh yes, I did play some older ones. What I mean is doing a game where is used real person's name, place, date and time when they are going to be there and organizing a group IRL to attempt to kill him/her. IMO that should be illegal, since it's essentially planning a murder.

Honestly, it always seemed silly to me trying to censor "adult" games (those affected anime games on Steam don't even show anything, so label "adult" isn't probably right), but at a same time we have in so many games/movies brutality, murder, gore, litres of blood. It just feels arbitrary, to try to censor nudity/sex while violence is on every corner. In this case even more ridiculous, since it is all drawn, it is not even showing real people. I guess it is a work of "progressive" neo-puritans. If the trend continues (e.g. cancelling swimsuit part in some US miss show, firing grid girls and booth girls) US could live to see a law forbidding women to wear to indecent clothes. Such people should not be called liberals.

The corny argument "think of the children" is invalid in my opinion. It is responsibility of parents to shield children from such content, they have enough tools to do so (ratings, recommended age stickers, game descriptions, trailers, videos of gameplay). Nothing should be banned for adults/teens because of children.
Seegras 9 June 2018 at 8:07 am UTC
chriskringel84The Store Preferences work really well for me.

Me too. I've basically allowed everything for Linux in the first place, and then I put "soccer" into the blacklist.
slaapliedje 9 June 2018 at 3:03 pm UTC
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monnef
rkfg
monnefI don't agree with censorship and my opinion is, that only a game (or any other medium) literally exciting violence in concrete context (e.g. "kill the man A today around 12" ) should be illegal and censored/removed from distribution platform like Steam. That's the sane definition of hate speech
Ever played Hitman?
Oh yes, I did play some older ones. What I mean is doing a game where is used real person's name, place, date and time when they are going to be there and organizing a group IRL to attempt to kill him/her. IMO that should be illegal, since it's essentially planning a murder.

Honestly, it always seemed silly to me trying to censor "adult" games (those affected anime games on Steam don't even show anything, so label "adult" isn't probably right), but at a same time we have in so many games/movies brutality, murder, gore, litres of blood. It just feels arbitrary, to try to censor nudity/sex while violence is on every corner. In this case even more ridiculous, since it is all drawn, it is not even showing real people. I guess it is a work of "progressive" neo-puritans. If the trend continues (e.g. cancelling swimsuit part in some US miss show, firing grid girls and booth girls) US could live to see a law forbidding women to wear to indecent clothes. Such people should not be called liberals.

The corny argument "think of the children" is invalid in my opinion. It is responsibility of parents to shield children from such content, they have enough tools to do so (ratings, recommended age stickers, game descriptions, trailers, videos of gameplay). Nothing should be banned for adults/teens because of children.

This is a retarded cultural thing. I mean we all have nipples, yet it's acceptable to see man nipples, but not woman nipples?
Seegras 11 June 2018 at 11:24 am UTC
Seegras[
https://store.steampowered.com/app/772060/Harvester_of_Dreams__Episode_1/
/
They've answered, and put a Linux binary online. Yay!
Nanobang 13 June 2018 at 12:43 pm UTC
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Kels
NanobangGood. I'm glad Steam has grown up and grown some huevos.

...by taking the most spineless position possible that avoids actually having to actually do anything.

I hear you, but I'm an adult and fine with taking responsibility for my own buying decisions.
Eike 13 June 2018 at 2:04 pm UTC
Nanobang
Kels
NanobangGood. I'm glad Steam has grown up and grown some huevos.

...by taking the most spineless position possible that avoids actually having to actually do anything.

I hear you, but I'm an adult and fine with taking responsibility for my own buying decisions.

He wasn't talking about your responsibilities, but about theirs.
Mal 13 June 2018 at 6:15 pm UTC
Kels
NanobangGood. I'm glad Steam has grown up and grown some huevos.

...by taking the most spineless position possible that avoids actually having to actually do anything.

I'd say it's rather the opposite. It has always been easier for companies to censor and discriminate to appeal powerful religious/political organizations and stay out of their radar as much as possible.
Trouble-makers are always looking for a company to target with a holy crusade to enforce their own personal values on the masses. I bet it won't be long until some of these assholes start a @boycottvalve campaign using some insignificant game that nobody is forced to buy or play as a pretext. Yet Valve resolved to endure this for your and my freedom as well. And I praise them for that.

When the shitstorm will happen I will support them with my wallet as I do for linux gaming.
rkfg 13 June 2018 at 6:30 pm UTC
Exactly! There's no power in following trends, agendas and religions. Allowing all of them at the same time is what the true strength is.
Kels 13 June 2018 at 8:16 pm UTC
Mal
Kels
NanobangGood. I'm glad Steam has grown up and grown some huevos.

...by taking the most spineless position possible that avoids actually having to actually do anything.

I'd say it's rather the opposite. It has always been easier for companies to censor and discriminate to appeal powerful religious/political organizations and stay out of their radar as much as possible.
Trouble-makers are always looking for a company to target with a holy crusade to enforce their own personal values on the masses. I bet it won't be long until some of these assholes start a @boycottvalve campaign using some insignificant game that nobody is forced to buy or play as a pretext. Yet Valve resolved to endure this for your and my freedom as well. And I praise them for that.

When the shitstorm will happen I will support them with my wallet as I do for linux gaming.

LOL! This isn't Valve taking a stand for freedom. This is Valve cowering in the corner and saying "Stop criticising us! Look! You can have your anime tiddy games!"

As other people have noted, they left themselves a "trolling" loophole to allow staff to kick out stuff like Active Shooter, although they're sure to only do so if there's a lot of negative media attention first.
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