Valve recently published a blog post outlining a vague Steam policy, in the wake of multiple controversies revolving around the digital distribution platform. With many having criticized Steam for its poor lack of moderation in the past, Valve’s response was to hand over complete control to the players. Now filters will take place the place of strict moderation, with users able to filter out games they dislike in favor of seeing more games that they do like.
While Valve argued for the creative freedom of developers, that isn’t the issue that critics have with Steam. The problem many have with the Steam Store is that hateful content such as AIDs Simulator, which was still available to purchase at the time of Valve’s statement though has since been removed, makes its way to the platform despite its policies ostensibly not allowing for it. Even though Valve tends to remove such content after it has been spotlighted by the community or the media, that these games can make their way to the Steam in the first place has been cause for concern.
In a statement released to VentureBeat, Valve addressed the controversy surrounding the policy. Using Active Shooter, a game which allowed players to assume the role of a school shooter, as an example, communications boss Doug Lombardi said: “We rejected Active Shooter because it was a troll, designed to do nothing but generate outrage and cause conflict through its existence.
“In addition, the developer had been involved in numerous misrepresentations, copyright violations, and customer abuses,” he continued. “There are no second chances for Active Shooter or its developers. And to be explicit, while the developer behind it was also a troll, we’d reject Active Shooter if it had been submitted by any other developer.”
This statement appears to suggest that Valve is going to monitor and remove games that feature hateful content. However, considering that it has taken a hands-off approach to moderation thus far, its pledge to decrease its level of say in what gets published to Steam seems destined to present further problems in the future. It remains to be seen if Steam’s policy change will prove to be beneficial or detrimental to the platform, though Valve could certainly do with clearing up the question marks that continue to linger over its moderation.