In a recent post on the official Steam blog, Valve outlined some new changes the store and how it filters more mature content. Valve also gave some clarification on what they consider “straight-up trolling” when it comes to games the store won’t take.
Changes and clarification.
In their blog post, Steam explained some of the new features they added/changed on the store. Developers and Publishers now have homepages users can visit to see their other works or follow them to know when they release new content. Users now have more ability to block content they don’t wish to see. Where they could once only ignore by individual game or product type, they can now ignore developers, publishers, and curators.
Speaking of ignoring games, the search system has been changed to help users ignore games, but still find them if they’re looking for them. If a game that would appear is mature and content settings won’t show mature games, users are told how many games were blocked. Similarly, games from ignored for other reasons will show up in the search, but are grayed out. Games with violent/sexual content now describe what’s in their games. Developers now have to write up a blurb giving context to what appears in the game.
A definition on trolling
Finally, in a Q&A section at the end of the post, Steam gives some clarification. Back when they first announced their changes to how they would police content, they said anything is fair game unless it’s illegal or “straight-up trolling”. They explain that trolls come in many forms, but generally don’t come in good faith to make and sell games. Their assessment of “troll games” starts with the developer:
We investigate who this developer is, what they’ve done in the past, their behavior on Steam as a developer, as a customer, their banking information, developers they associate with, and more. All of this is done to answer the question “who are we partnering with and why do they want to sell this game?” We get as much context around the creation and creator of the game and then make an assessment. A trend we’re seeing is that we often ban these people from Steam altogether instead of cherry-picking through their individual game submissions. In the words of someone here in the office: “it really does seem like bad games are made by bad people.”
This helps offer some good clarification on how Valve investigates questionable games. Now hopefully some of those mature visual novels can get back on Steam soon.
The full blog post can be read here.