Valve finally followed through with updating their content policy following pressure from the media to address curation and censorship on the Steam platform. However, instead of cracking down on games that some people feel contains “offensive” content, they decided to go with a hands-off approach.
In the policy update that was published on June 6th, 2018, Valve’s Erik Johnson wrote…
“Contrary to many assumptions, this isn’t a space we’ve automated – humans at Valve are very involved, with groups of people looking at the contents of every controversial title submitted to us. Similarly, people have falsely assumed these decisions are heavily affected by our payment processors, or outside interest groups. Nope, it’s just us grappling with a really hard problem.
“[…] So we ended up going back to one of the principles in the forefront of our minds when we started Steam, and more recently as we worked on Steam Direct to open up the Store to many more developers: Valve shouldn’t be the ones deciding this. If you’re a player, we shouldn’t be choosing for you what content you can or can’t buy. If you’re a developer, we shouldn’t be choosing what content you’re allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make. Our role should be to provide systems and tools to support your efforts to make these choices for yourself, and to help you do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
“With that principle in mind, we’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.”
Valve will be providing more user tools to curate and cut out what gamers don’t want to see in their feeds or recommended area. Valve’s solution is to give gamers more tools to find what they want, not to restrict access to content.
This “hands off” approach by Valve for curating Steam actually angered activists working as journalists at many of the Left-of-center media outlets out there.
In fact, a string of articles from many members of the GameJournoPros – the same group that smeared the consumer revolt #GamerGate back in 2014 – have all come out in timely succession to castigate Valve over the decision.
Patrick Klepek from Vice’s Waypoint criticized Valve for “doing nothing”…
One of the biggest problems with Steam is how little Valve does to make it a better place, outside of generating more money. Their response to criticism of this policy: double down on doing nothing. https://t.co/llAG54jsLC
— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) June 6, 2018
…while Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson lamented Valve’s lack of ingratiating themselves to the demands of the Intersectional Inquisition.
another thought: valve dedicates so much of this post to talking about how allowing a game onto steam doesn’t constitute an expression of values or taking a “side.” but the knowing creation of an all-is-permitted libertarian paradise ABSOLUTELY constitutes an expression of values
— nathan grayson (@Vahn16) June 6, 2018
Grayson actually frames his tweet as if capitalist libertarianism isn’t a good thing; that allowing people to choose what best suits their gaming tastes is somehow bad.
Polygon’s Ben Kuchera continues the narrative that Valve should hire more people to curate… and obviously, curate to the tastes of Social Justice Warriors…
“This isn’t a free speech issue, because Valve isn’t a government entity. This isn’t an issue of lack of resources, because Valve makes enormous profits from Steam and could easily afford to put more robust vetting in place. It isn’t an issue of lack of people, because more people could be hired to work on the problem if it was something Valve actually cared about solving.”
A common thread among the journalists is that Valve shouldn’t allow offensive games on Steam, whether it be simulators, visual novels, dating games, or RPGs. According to the outrage peddlers, games like Active Shooter shouldn’t be allowed on Steam based on the principle of its content; games like Gay World shouldn’t be allowed on Steam because it’s offensive to a group of people.
Brendan Sinclair from GamesIndustry.biz railed against Valve for having a firmer stance on censorship… yes, censorship. Sinclair falls to the excuse that as a private corporation Valve should be curating content based on other people taking offense to said content, writing…
“Frankly, this is nonsense. Valve does not get to have its cake and eat it, too. This is absolutely a reflection of Valve’s values. Yes, the company values people having the right to create and consume content of their own choosing. It values that so much more than it values people who have survived a school shooting, or people who have lost their friends and family members to them. More than it values an entire continent of people being demonized on top of an epidemic on top of a history of exploitation. More than it values its position as a representative of the medium of video games. More than it values basic human decency.”
Obviously, this raises the question: should every game that some group gets offended by be removed from Steam?
Puritan parents who don’t like GTA V or The Witcher series… should they be removed as well?
If school shooting survivors or those who are anti-gun are offended by shooters, should Valve also ban its own Counter-Strike games from Steam as well?
There was a furor over Hatred several years ago due to its edgy presentation, should that be banned as well?
What about those feminists who hate visual novels that contain sexy content… should those be removed on behalf of their offense as well?
When any and everyone can get offended by any and everything, how then is it decided what gets to stay and go when curating based on someone’s offense?
Paste’s Garrett Martin tries to shame Valve for not being more moralistic in their judgment of content, writing…
“[…] if Valve’s allowing a game on Steam, and sharing in its revenue, it’s effectively endorsing that game’s values, no matter how much Valve wants to argue that it doesn’t reflect the beliefs of the company or its employees. This decision underscores that Valve is a company that cares only about making money, with no concern for any responsibility it might have as a retailer. Valve fails to understand that claiming to not have any kind of value system is in itself a value system, and one that doesn’t make the company look good.”
Another GameJournoPros member, Adam Rosenberg, also chimed in to take jabs at Valve, making it clear what he thinks of the new policy within the first two opening paragraphs of a piece for Mashable, writing…
“Apple’s “walled garden” approach to the App Store may not be perfect, but it does make life harder for racists, homophobes, and other purveyors of hate to peddle their goods.
“The same can’t be said for Steam, however. […]”
This all stems from Valve not being more adamant about curating its store content on Steam. Some journalists were filled with glee when Valve recently announced that they would be discussing its content policies following their attempted waifu holocaust and banning the developer of the first-person shooter, Active Shooter.
However, journalists have quickly turned against Valve because the company has decided not to enact widespread censorship on games that disagree with Leftist ideology.
(Main image courtesy of Make Diesel Cheap Again)
(Thanks for the news tip Lyle)