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Steam Opening the Gates

A new post on the Steam Blog discusses "Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store" in light of recent questions about Valve's policies regarding games that include adult content and controversial topics. It's a lengthy discussion of the issues involved and the history of their policies. They then announce that their new policy going forward is to allow all content "except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling." Here's their conclusion:
So what does this mean? It means that the Steam Store is going to contain something that you hate, and don't think should exist. Unless you don't have any opinions, that's guaranteed to happen. But you're also going to see something on the Store that you believe should be there, and some other people will hate it and want it not to exist.

It also means that the games we allow onto the Store will not be a reflection of Valve’s values, beyond a simple belief that you all have the right to create & consume the content you choose. The two points above apply to all of us at Valve as well. If you see something on Steam that you think should not exist, it's almost certain that someone at Valve is right there with you.

To be explicit about that - if we allow your game onto the Store, it does not mean we approve or agree with anything you're trying to say with it. If you're a developer of offensive games, this isn't us siding with you against all the people you're offending. 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.

In the short term, we won't be making significant changes to what's arriving on Steam until we've finished some of the tools we've described in this post. As we've hopefully managed to convey, navigating these issues is messy and complicated. Countries and societies change their laws and cultural norms over time. We'll be working on this for the foreseeable future, both in terms of what products we're allowing, what guidelines we communicate, and the tools we're providing to developers and players.

57. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 11:44  Beamer 
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 11:22:
Watter wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 09:48:
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 08:09:
Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront.
That's the first argument against this move by steam that was persusasive and didn't make me roll my eyes.

I see two ways to look at it.

1) Steam is still the defacto marketplace for PC games. That's changing, thankfully, but it still owns the lion's share of the market. Any curation effort will be imperfect and games that some people might be interested in will be left out of that marketplace. I don't want anyone narrowing my choices. As long as there are filters, which is in Steams own best interest to provide, let it fly. I don't think anyone should be limiting other people's choices - and again, given steam's position as the defacto PC games marketplace, if it's not on Steam, it's almost not in the PC games market.

We all have a tendency to believe that the items we don't care about, nobody cares about. Example: Goat Simulator? What they hell?!? That almost certainly wouldn't have made it past my own personal curation process in its initial rough form, but some people enjoyed it and given time it became something that even more people picked up.

2) Do people really have trouble finding things they're interested in? I use steam a quite a bit, and I don't recall having to sift through crap to find interesting games. It isn't in Steam's best interest financially to make it hard for me to find games I'm interested in and purchase them; however if I do want to go on a hidden treasure hunt for something more obsucre, the option is there.

3) We live in a bigger (and smaller) world than ever before. It used to be that a niche interest might have too small a market to make sense to provide product for, but no more. A "niche" might be hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of people. Even if you believe in limiting options, which I don't, how do you curate when niches are so varied and large? .001% of the market these days is still large enough for some people to make product for.


I frequently see people buying products (crap, in my mind) that I literally cannot fathom ANYONE ever buying. I can either believe that these people are dumb and need someone smarter looking out for them OR I can accept that there might be some value in those things that I just don't see and that those people are different enough from me that they want something else that I can't understand. The "live and let live" side of me just shrugs and moves on. As long as I can find what I want, let those folks get their kicks where they want.

All of what you wrote is something I can either agree with or at the very least see the validity of. While an inconvenience, on a personal level having to skip past a dozen different iterations of "Achievement Hunter" or "Bitcoin Simulator" games slapped together in an hour on Steam's new release list admittedly isn't the end of the world. It also isn't my main focus as to why I argue in favor of curation on Steam. On a larger scale than personal convenience the saturation of garbage on Steam is detrimental to the independent and mid-tier developers to the point that it is actively hurting the industry overall. AAA games from big publishers always get a lot of exposure so it doesn't affect the Middle Earth's, the Civilization's, the Total War's, etc. But as someone who follows alot of content creators (largely on YouTube) with insider knowledge of the independent and mid tier developer scene the problems that Steam's lack of standards causes for them is obvious. Basically, devs have shared with such creators that an independent or mid tier game lives or dies based on how much exposure via purchase and word of mouth buzz generated in its first 5 to 7 days following release. This becomes a problem when Steam acknowledges that a game's sales drop off exponentially once it is relegated to the 2nd or 3rd page of the New Release section on its storefront, which given the amount of utter garbage that makes it onto that list by the hour can happen in less than a day. See the problem here? A game that a developer invested a huge portion of their available resources into can quickly become effectively invisible to the buying public once it is buried by the influx of crap. This can and reportedly has forced developers to give up on and leave the business. It has gotten to the point where only huge publishers and cynical cash-grabbing asset flipper developers find it financially viable to continue to release games on Steam because the former have huge coffers and the latter spends next to nothing doing what they do. This effectively eliminates a critical part (and I would argue the best part) of the games industry. That to me simply does not bode well for the long-term health of the PC market.

Steam has become like any mobile App store. It's a self-perpetuating cycle, where the top products keep selling, and everything else is shoveled to the bottom, unable to find an audience. As you mention, those spending no money on development see a return, since the cost is so low. And AAA devs with large marketing dollars get noticed because people already know about them and spearfish for them.

But something legitimately new, but without the marketing or PR power to build word of mouth, can't get traction.

It's one of two issues being discussed regarding whether or not Valve should curate. There's the content issue and the quality issue. Ultimately, I don't know how to break through on this one. Apple certainly hasn't figured it out. Google hasn't figured it out. I don't expect Valve to figure it out. It requires a lot more effort from gamers to find something cool and new, effort I'm not interested in putting in. When I used to shop at CompUSA, I could browse the entire games section in about 10 minutes, picking up tons of games. When I go to Steam, I avoid the Store page, and never, ever click on something I don't know about already, because there's a 5% chance of a good game and a 95% chance of garbage. It stops being worth your time to discover.

Music for the discerning:
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    Date Subject Author
  1. Jun 6, 17:20 No subject 007Bistromath
  2. Jun 6, 17:26 Re: Steam Opening the Gates ItBurn
  9. Jun 6, 17:57  Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Tipsy McStagger 
  10. Jun 6, 17:59   Re: Steam Opening the Gates NKD
  11. Jun 6, 18:08    Re: Steam Opening the Gates Overon
  16. Jun 6, 19:27     Re: Steam Opening the Gates NKD
  17. Jun 6, 19:32      Re: Steam Opening the Gates Squirmer
  19. Jun 6, 20:06       Re: Steam Opening the Gates ventry
  40. Jun 7, 01:26        Re: Steam Opening the Gates Squirmer
  41. Jun 7, 02:16         Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jerykk
  43. Jun 7, 02:20          Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July 007Bistromath
  45. Jun 7, 03:25           Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  Sepharo 
  47. Jun 7, 05:29          Re: Steam Opening the Gates  jdreyer 
  60. Jun 7, 14:03           Re: Steam Opening the Gates wrlwnd
  63. Jun 7, 20:52         Re: Steam Opening the Gates ventry
  3. Jun 6, 17:30 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Cutter 
  4. Jun 6, 17:34  Re: Steam Opening the Gates Wesp5
  22. Jun 6, 21:20   Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July 007Bistromath
  7. Jun 6, 17:42  Re: Steam Opening the Gates Riahderymnmaddog
  18. Jun 6, 19:40  Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Prez 
  20. Jun 6, 20:24   Re: Steam Opening the Gates EUTHANIZE
  5. Jun 6, 17:41 Re: Steam Opening the Gates Riahderymnmaddog
  6. Jun 6, 17:42 Re: Steam Opening the Gates Creston
  8. Jun 6, 17:45 Re: Steam Opening the Gates CJ_Parker
  30. Jun 6, 21:45  Re: Steam Opening the Gates MUGWUMP
  12. Jun 6, 18:09 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Jivaro 
  13. Jun 6, 18:11 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Kxmode 
  14. Jun 6, 18:20  Re: Steam Opening the Gates Osc8r
  15. Jun 6, 18:25 Re: Morning Tech Bits Mordecai Walfish
  39. Jun 7, 00:13  Re: For Honor Beta Concludes Today inveigle88
  21. Jun 6, 21:12 Re: Steam Opening the Gates Solemn-Philosopher
  23. Jun 6, 21:20  Re: Steam Opening the Gates DarkCntry
  24. Jun 6, 21:32   Re: Steam Opening the Gates CJ_Parker
  29. Jun 6, 21:44    Re: Steam Opening the Gates DarkCntry
  31. Jun 6, 22:02    Re: Steam Opening the Gates MUGWUMP
  34. Jun 6, 22:29     Re: Steam Opening the Gates CJ_Parker
  35. Jun 6, 23:30      Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jerykk
  44. Jun 7, 02:28       Re: Steam Opening the Gates  jdreyer 
  42. Jun 7, 02:19      Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July 007Bistromath
  46. Jun 7, 04:51       Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July CJ_Parker
  49. Jun 7, 08:09        Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  Prez 
  51. Jun 7, 09:48         Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  Watter 
  56. Jun 7, 11:22          Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  Prez 
>> 57. Jun 7, 11:44           Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  Beamer 
  52. Jun 7, 10:10         Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  Beamer 
  54. Jun 7, 10:52          Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July 007Bistromath
  55. Jun 7, 11:04           Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  Beamer 
  58. Jun 7, 12:33           Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July  jdreyer 
  28. Jun 6, 21:44   Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Cutter 
  37. Jun 6, 23:45   Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Kxmode 
  25. Jun 6, 21:35 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Jivaro 
  26. Jun 6, 21:42 Re: Steam Opening the Gates KataSteel
  38. Jun 6, 23:53  Re: Steam Opening the Gates Peter M. Smith
  48. Jun 7, 07:59  Re: Steam Opening the Gates HoSpanky
  27. Jun 6, 21:43 Re: Steam Opening the Gates ItBurn
  32. Jun 6, 22:16 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Sepharo 
  33. Jun 6, 22:27  Re: Steam Opening the Gates  RedEye9 
  50. Jun 7, 09:26  Re: Steam Opening the Gates necrosis
  36. Jun 6, 23:44 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  Sepharo 
  53. Jun 7, 10:49 Re: Steam Opening the Gates Zanderat1
  59. Jun 7, 13:01 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  jdreyer 
  61. Jun 7, 14:40  Re: Steam Opening the Gates MoreLuckThanSkill
  62. Jun 7, 19:31   Re: Steam Opening the Gates YourNick
  64. Jun 8, 06:29 Re: Steam Opening the Gates  theyarecomingforyou 
  65. Jun 13, 10:41  Re: Steam Opening the Gates Verno