Close

  • Valve Making Great Strides to Combat Steam's Content Problem

    Valve just updated their blog today with some information that I honestly wasn't expecting to see. A few months ago Valve's Erik Johnson put up a blog post that more or less said that they were going to be working on making things better in the Steam store and would work on removing games and developers that were being obvious trolls or those with illegal content in their games.

    It sounded, at least to me, like they were again going to be super hands off and let the market curate itself. Well I'm eating a bit of crow this evening because Valve updated with some information about the changes they've been working on both forward facing to the Steam consumer and behind the scenes. This is one of those few times where I am happy that I was wrong because a lot of what Valve said today sounds great.

    The first set of our changes focused on improving how you can find new games. We've added Developer & Publisher homepages so you can easily get from a game you love to others made by the same creators, or follow them if you want to be notified whenever they say or make something. We significantly reworked how our Upcoming Games Lists functioned, so they're much better at showing you upcoming games that you might be interested in, or upcoming extra content for a game you've been playing a bunch.

    Valve also mentions that they have improved upon tag filters that users can make use of. They have also improved on filtering out mature content. In addition to filtering out violence/gore or nudity/sexual content they have added in the ability to filter more generally by "mature content." There is also now an "adults only" filter that allows you to filter out games that feature "explicit sexual content." I don't know that there are too many of those games on Steam, but I assume that with Valve's revised stance, this may come into play more often.

    The biggest announcement today came from the reveal that Valve has continued to remove "bad actors" from the Steam Store. These are the devs that fell under that umbrella of releasing games that were just straight up trolling.

    There's actually a surprisingly small number of individuals behind almost all of these games, and their bans have been a straightforward series of decisions, thus far. You can read more about the shorthand of "straight up trolling," and the process of making those decisions in the Q&A below.

    Speaking of the Q&A, Valve notes that they are urging developers to update their games and descriptions to more accurately fit the new filters. They also address what they mean by saying that they won't include games "that are 'outright trolling'."

    What do you mean, in practice, when you say you won't ship games that are "outright trolling?" That seems vague.

    A:
    It is vague and we'll tell you why. You're a denizen of the internet so you know that trolls come in all forms. On Steam, some are simply trying to rile people up with something we call "a game shaped object" (ie: a crudely made piece of software that technically and just barely passes our bar as a functioning video game but isn't what 99.9% of folks would say is "good"). Some trolls are trying to scam folks out of their Steam inventory items, others are looking for a way to generate a small amount of money off Steam through a series of schemes that revolve around how we let developers use Steam keys. Others are just trying to incite and sow discord. Trolls are figuring out new ways to be loathsome as we write this. But the thing these folks have in common is that they aren't actually interested in good faith efforts to make and sell games to you or anyone. When a developer's motives aren't that, they're probably a troll.

    Our review of something that may be "a troll game" is a deep assessment that actually begins with the developer. We investigate who this developer is, what they've done in the past, their behavior on Steam as a developer, as a customer, their banking information, developers they associate with, and more. All of this is done to answer the question "who are we partnering with and why do they want to sell this game?" We get as much context around the creation and creator of the game and then make an assessment. A trend we're seeing is that we often ban these people from Steam altogether instead of cherry-picking through their individual game submissions. In the words of someone here in the office: "it really does seem like bad games are made by bad people."

    This doesn't mean there aren't some crude or lower quality games on Steam, but it does mean we believe the developers behind them aren't out to do anything more than sell a game they hope some folks will want to play.

    One last thing that I found amusing. Valve let us all know what the deal is with constantly asking to verify our age all the time.

    Why do you KEEP asking my damn age throughout the store?

    A:
    We're with you on this. Unfortunately, many rating agencies have rules that stipulate that we cannot save your age for longer than a single browsing session. It's frustrating, but know we're filling out those age gates too.

    Hah. There is a lot more included in the actual blog post that you should check out. Most notably, they go into a bit more detail about how mature games are handled now. In short: Mature games are fine, they're just making better filters for those that want to make use of them for whatever reason.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. K-16's Avatar
      K-16 -
      Thank you for abridging the Steam update news. I was not interested in reading that wall of text, despite being a hypocritical person who types walls of text.
  • Latest TGN Opinions

    Shawn Zipay

    Quick TGN E3 2018 Wrap Up

    E3 was last week and I do believe the dust has finally settled. I decided, for my own sanity really, to try to take things a bit slower this year with getting news up from the event. This was...

    Shawn Zipay 06-18-2018 06:40 PM
  • Ad

  • Connect with TGN

  • Ad