Valve posted a blog titled “Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?” The short answer appears to be: everyone. Steam has decided to opt-out of making decisions about whether or not a specific game should be removed from the Steam Store – except for things they “decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.”
In the blog post, Valve says: “The challenge is that this problem is not simply about whether or not the Steam Store should contain games with adult or violent content.” Instead, Valve says it’s about “whether or not the Store contains games with an entire range of controversial topics.” Those topics include: politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on.”
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.
Valve has provided reasons why they made this decision. They point out that Valve is not a small company, and that it isn’t homogeneous. The people at Valve don’t all agree on what deserves to be in the Store. Valve says that what is considered acceptable varies around the world, both socially and legally.
In short, Valve has decided that the way to solve this dilemma is to …do almost nothing at all. Valve feels it should not be deciding what belongs on the Steam Store. They feel they shouldn’t be choosing for players what content they can or cannot buy. Valve also doesn’t feel it should be choosing what kind of content a game developer is allowed to create.
Valve has concluded that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, “except for things we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.” At the same time, they want players to understand that the games Valve allows on the Steam Store “will not be a reflection of Valve’s values”.
In addition, Valve is going to provide players with tools that will allow them to override Valve’s game recommendation algorithms and hide games containing topics that the player is not interested in. The options will also allow parents to control what kinds of games their kids see.