In a move that will prove popular amongst gaming’s anti-political correctness brigade, digital distribution platform Steam has confirmed that they will not stop games from being listed on the store unless they are explicitly illegal (or specifically designed to troll the buyer). The move is motivated by controversy surrounding erotic video games, and the notable example of Active Shooter, a title that does its best to simulate a school shooting.
Valve states that they are reverting back to their own founding principles, going on to say:
“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.”
Reactions to the decision have been split down the middle, with some applauding the company for attempting to remain neutral in an increasingly divided and headstrong community, whilst others are concerned that this will only encourage what many deem to be offensive content. The other overriding concern for the policies detractors, is that this may manifest as Valve foregoing responsibility for the content contained on their application, leading to a lack of accountability.
What this means for games which are currently hosted on the platform is unclear, with many heavily censored versions of anime games on the platform, there is no word yet on whether they will be allowed to make an appearance in their unedited formats. It has also been confirmed that, in the wake of this decision, Valve will allow Steam users to override the algorithm to alter the recommendations, so if you don’t want to see moderately pornographic anime material, then you don’t have to!