Game developers seem to be split in their opinions after Valve announced yesterday that it has no plans to police games that are published to its digital storefront Steam. Instead, the company choosing to focus on creating tools that will allow players to filter games they aren’t interested in from their own personalized feeds.
Many game developers have gone to Twitter to express their thoughts over Valve's statement, which also notes that even internally, there are debates over what games should and shouldn’t be allowed on Steam.
That post goes on to acknowledge that the people behind this decision knew firsthand that “there’s no way to avoid making a bunch of people mad when making decisions in this space.”
The sentiment seems to ring true, as Valve's hands-off approach over who is allowed to be published on its platform has developers disagreeing over its content policy.
As Valve pointed out, the problem isn’t so much if games with adult or violent content should be allowed on its platform, but rather, if the store should contain “games with an entire range of controversial topics - politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on.”
While some have expressed their support for digital marketplaces enforcing stricter policies around moderating content, others voice concerns over giving companies too much power over enforcing certain morals or censorship.
Among these developers is digital marketplace Itch.io founder Leaf Corcoran, who described Valve's new policy on Steam content as "ridiculous" and "out of touch", raising concerns that the shift will result in a variety of problematic content proliferating on Valve's store. Here's a small sample of the discussion happening among game devs.
As a game creator, I want access to the full range of the human experience when creating a game. I choose to leave stuff I consider hateful and horrible on the table. I don’t want Steam to make that decision for me.— Brenda Romero (@br) June 7, 2018
y’all my bad i THOUGHT i typed something to the effect of “companies should acknowledge that they bear some responsibility for the things they sell” but what i ACTUALLY typed was “censorship is awesome and everyone should do it” i will be more careful next time 🙏🏻— adam (@ADAMATOMIC) June 7, 2018
I feel worried when people demand that corporations become enforcers of moral principles. Once you give them that power, what guarantee do you have that their principles will align with yours? Better to always err on the side of giving them less power across all domains.— Bennett (@bfod) June 7, 2018
everyone: we need thoughtful leadership— Robert Yang (@radiatoryang) June 6, 2018
valve: let the market sort it out!! 😎
valve: anime lol
valve: btw you owe us 30% of your sales
Shit, Valve, if your *new* platform content policy is the policy even the toxic hellfires that social media are slowly backing away from after years of troubles, that doesn't bode very good for the content of your platform.— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) June 6, 2018
Valve's new policy is odd. On the one hand, they're saying they're simply providing a platform and can't be held accountable for the content on it. On the other, they've put themselves in the position to decide what's "straight up trolling."https://t.co/zraPy8KteY— Da Noodle Man (@Dan_Adelman) June 6, 2018
Basically Iam— Christine Love (@christinelove) June 6, 2018
a) extremely relieved that Valve doesnat want to set the medium back by threatening games with adult content
b) disappointed by its failure to act against hate speech
c) interested in the promise of better community management tools but will believe it when I see it
Steam's new content "policy" is gonna be such a trash fire.— Ted DiNola, Cyberwarrior (@esdin) June 6, 2018