Valve has apparently sent out word to developers to start to update their store page listings on Steam to remove concept art, cinematic stills or images of the game that are not actually representative of the in-game play.
DSO Gaming spotted the news from a forum thread on Facepunch Studios where they snapped an image of developer Steam group update that Valve sent out indicating that the change is to take place effectively immediately, and they used Dota 2 as an example of how not to advertise your game on the Steam store. Valve promptly switched out the images on the store page of Dota 2.
You can see an example of how the store page looked on October 23rd, 2016 where all the screenshots for Dota 2 were concept art and promotional art and you can see how it looks as of November 1st, 2016, following the announcement.
According to the post that they link to in the Face Punch thread, Valve states…
“We ask that any images you upload to the ‘screenshot’ section of your stoe page should be screenshots that show your game. This means avoiding using concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, or images that contain awards, marketing copy, or written product descriptions. Please show customers what your game is actually like to play.”
Valve also wants devs to properly mark all gore, sexual content, nudity and other potentially adult material with a check that indicates it may/may not be appropriate for everyone.
Valve keeps it stern and right down the middle, letting developers know that they cater to a global audience and not everyone in every region is the same, or has the same values. They note that some people may be okay with big titties and dangling schlongs but other people may not, just the same as some people may be okay with intestines hanging out of flayed flesh and eyeballs popping out of a skull like Glenn on The Walking Dead, but other people may not. Valve calls for devs to use the checkbox so that they know what images from the game to show on the front page and which ones to avoid.
In the post, Valve states…
“This action is crucial if your game has a 17+ age-gate applied, or is marked as containing mature content. If your game doesn’t meet that criteria, this action is not required. But setting this option will tell Steam to prefer showing those selected screenshots in some places.”
Ultimately, these are some good changes that works with Valve’s new “discovery” update for Steam. I also wonder if this is Valve’s way of side-stepping the Advertising Standards Agency’s investigation into No Man’s Sky Steam page, where they were looking into how the promotional images were displayed on the page and if they properly reflected what the game was like? I suppose we’ll have to wait for the ASA to finish their investigation to find out.
In the meantime, the new discovery update and the new rule for the in-game screenshots arrives just in time for Steam’s upcoming holiday sales event(s).