On June 6th 2018 Valve, the digital software distribution service announced that they plan to no longer police their service. Well at the very least not in the way they have done thus far. Valve claims they will implement tools to allow Steam to be a true open market. So does this mean Steam embraces all? No.
Allow me to explain…
You see according to Valve they, like their community are made up of many diverse opinions. Opinions carried by different, people, not just machines. The distributor stated that it is a miss conception that they allow algorithms to run their platform. Then expressing further that it is in fact people just like you and I who make the decision as to what gets on the platform.
They then went on to state the undeniable truth, that each country has their own laws, customs and norms. We each find different things acceptable and not. They even mention the differences in laws from different countries, culminating on the simple truth that they can’t please everyone, and so they’re not going to try to.
Now this doesn’t mean that they are going to leave their platform unchecked. It means that they are going to allow the community and developers to have more control over their personal experience with the platform.
Valve will no longer decide what’s appropriate for Steam unless it breaks the law, or is considered to be a clear troll attempt. They will allow both developers and users to select different options to tailor their individual experience. So this can mean that if I don’t want to see violent games or even a particular genre like FPS then I can completely hide them from my personal experience. This will also be good for parents who wish to prevent their kids from partaking in certain products.
Valve also made it quite clear that they that these changes do not mean Steam embraces all. It doesn’t mean they like or agree with the content in a particular release. It just means that they will facilitate an open service in which people can access a wide variety of products while avoiding those they do not want.
Spokesperson, Erik Johnson, stated: “There will be people throughout the Steam community who hate your games, and hope you fail to find an audience, and there will be people here at Valve who feel exactly the same way. However, offending someone shouldn’t take away your game’s voice. We believe you should be able to express yourself like everyone else, and to find others who want to play your game. But that’s it.”
None of these changes mentioned have been publicly implemented yet, but when they are, what will it mean for everyone involved?
Well it means that if done properly we’ll have some sort of a free market. No longer will the responsibility be on the service provider, but rather the developers, and consumers. And guess what? I prefer it that way. I think it will be a brilliant idea if executed properly.
Yes some games may be banned in certain regions Steam stores due to their respective laws, but that’s how it already is right now. So pretty much if your country has no problem with a game then you’ll have access to it. If a particular topic offends you like for example: politics, sexuality, racism, violence, etc then simple block it and move on with your life.
Live and let live
Will this mean we’ll begin to see tasteless violent games on steam? Will it mean pornography?
My honest answer is, I don’t know, but idealistically they’d all be allowed unless they break some law. I’ve always been open with my opinion that I prefer embracing sexuality in my media over violence, so if these changes facilitate that I’ll be happy. Uncensored Senran Kagura here I come?! Read the full announcement here: Link