Steam games store to 'allow everything'


V_R

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The Steam video game store has changed its content policy to "allow everything", unless it is illegal or "straight up trolling".

The shift comes after controversy surrounding games which many people considered were offensive.

A school shooting simulation game was removed from the store last month.

But now games publisher Valve, which owns Steam, said it was not up to the company to decide what should or should not be on sale.

The new policy paves the way for pornographic games to be made available on the platform, including in virtual reality. It would make the Steam store the first major VR platform to offer adult content.

The Steam store is fully-supported by HTC's Vive headset, and also works with Facebook's Oculus Rift - though in the latter case the user must proactively choose to accept content from "unknown sources".

HTC told the BBC it was not able to comment on the changes. "We are evaluating them like the rest of the market," a spokesperson said in an email.

Oculus said its policy on pornography, which is not permitted on its own VR store, was unchanged.

"We won't distribute pornographic material through the Oculus Store," a spokesman told the BBC.

"As is the case with many devices, people can access content for Rift through sources outside of our store, in which case that content may not follow our guidelines."
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44393415

"In a statement about Steam's new terms, Valve said: "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.""
Interesting approach.
 

Becky

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Hmmm I'm not sure what I think about this. On the one hand they are providing a service which allows people to buy the games they want to buy - so in theory the market should regulate itself. Offensive games should receive bad ratings, people are less likely to buy them. On the other hand, Steam takes a (big) cut from each game sold, so they would benefit financially from games that are offensive.

Also, they say that they will not permit games that are 'straight up trolling' - how on earth do they define that?!
 
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Becky

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Good article on this topic: Steam's content policy is both arrogant and cowardly

Yes, game creators have a right to free speech, to make games on any topic they like, as transgressive and offensive as the law allows. But they do not have a right to publish these games on Steam. For Valve to confuse these two things is a deluded fallacy, and for it to offer this delusion as an excuse for an abandonment of moral values and an abdication of social responsibility is rank cowardice.
Steam doesn't really do quality control, or customer support, or community management, or public relations. It responds to human problems with code, with graphs.

But you can't write code to make ethical choices for you and you can't describe your company's moral values in a graph. So the human beings at Valve - there must be some left, somewhere - have thrown up their hands at the impossibility of it all and backed away. They will watch the vast community they built devolve into toxicity and hate and their storefront get overrun with exploitative, bilious rubbish, and they won't intervene for fear of offending anyone or taking a position on anything. It is weak, it is immoral and it is unworthy of our industry and our art form.
Interesting read :nod:
 

Ian

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Considering that Steam/Valve take such a huge cut of the sales price - I'm really disappointed to hear that they're basically saying "anything goes", unless it's particularly egregious. I'm all for "light touch" control of things like this - but there is already an overwhelming amount of dross for sale on Steam, and this just sets the bar even lower. There are games available that are in pre-alpha, buggy, non-working states that are available for sale - and it means I'm much, much more selective and cautious about buying from Steam, given their poor after-sales care.

I'm less concerned about Steam selling offensive games, as if it's really that bad and game publishers/distributors can't be trusted to self-moderate, then it'll end up meaning they're regulated further up the chain (in the same way that films are). One way or another, things that are particularly bad won't get though... but the bar for quality is potentially going to be far lower and people will end up voting with their feet.
 
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This is sad because kids can buy these games on Steam without parents consent. All the kid has to do is enter a credit card and Steam assumes that they are paying adults.
 
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Becky

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Steam does have parental controls, but I suppose there is nothing to stop a kid from downloading it and signing up separately if they have access to a card.
 

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