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Games

Valve Will Stop Removing Controversial Games on Steam Unless They Are 'Illegal or Straight up Trolling' (geekwire.com) 368

Valve will no longer remove games from its Steam game marketplace unless they are "illegal, or straight up trolling," according to a statement from the Bellevue, Wash.-based gaming company posted today. From a report: The announcement comes a week after Valve removed a controversial game that simulated school shootings, following a nationwide outcry to ban the title. Last month it also issued warnings to developers about adult content in games. In its blog post, Valve executive Erik Johnson writes that "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," it reads. "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."

Valve Will Stop Removing Controversial Games on Steam Unless They Are 'Illegal or Straight up Trolling'

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  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2018 @10:34PM (#56740568)
    That's a welcome sudden breakout of common sense. Let's see how long it lasts!
    • Silly us, we thought this had already been settled decades ago with the moral panic over Mortal Kombat. Nintendo self-censored the SNES version and lost millions, while Sega raked in the cash. MK II would be released with blood and gore on both consoles, but with the new Mature rating. Parents could inform themselves and choose accordingly, while the choices of consenting adults weren’t to be fucked with.

      But nooo, we had new moral panics led by Jack Thompson and Anita Sarkeesion, with the gaming p
      • Nintendo self-censored the SNES version and lost millions, while Sega raked in the cash.

        On the other hand, Sega is no longer in the game console market, whereas Nintendo's brand as a kid-friendly platform has helped them maintain their position as one of the main players in that market.

        I far and away prefer the uncensored version of the game, but I can definitely see why a company would decide to exercise a degree of control over what they allow on their plaform.

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      Now hopefully there will be another outbreak of common sense and they'll actually do some quality control instead, so we don't have a situation where indie games are selling better on a Nintendo console of all things than on PC [oneangrygamer.net] because it's almost impossible to find good new games on Steam among the flood of terrible, low effort games slapped together with a few pre-made game assets.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It really depends if it hurts their bottom line or not. Since they are not funded by advertising it comes down to if developers and retailers (who sell Steam products like game cards) decide they don't want to be associated with this. Since Steam is so popular it will be hard for developers to move away from them even if they want to.

    • My guess is it won't even start, let alone last. "Or straight up trolling" is a loophole big enough to drive a Star Destroyer through.
  • by slacka ( 713188 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2018 @10:37PM (#56740578)

    As a liberal and libertarian, I'm fine with *ADULTS* having access to any kind of content they want. If they want to take the no censorship, high road they sure as hell need to clean up their age verification system. I play counter strike and BF4(non-steam) with my 15yo. niece and I've seen his game library, and I know damn well many of his games are supposed to be over 18.

    First hit of google on how to work around steams age restriction:

    https://steamcommunity.com/dis... [steamcommunity.com]

    > You can buy games on Steam no matter what age you are as long as you set your age to over 18 when a store-page asks for you DoB

    So it pains me to say this, but until they fix this gigantic loophole, they are in the wrong here.

    • by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2018 @10:40PM (#56740586)

      So it pains me to say this, but until they fix this gigantic loophole, they are in the wrong here.

      Maybe parents can check their kids ages on their accounts? I tend to be unsympathetic to the "you should be watching your kids 24/7" argument, but to verify their ages on their accounts?

      Also, what have you done about your niece's game collection.

      • Most of the games I played as a teen would these days have been rated 17+, the criteria has really dropped to the point of making ratings worthless. I will not let my 10 year old play (some of) them (ex. Witcher 3), but others I don't really care about. I do not rely on Steam or anything else to make that call, I tell him what he may and may not play. That's the only real solution, parents have to parent, the end. You cannot outsource that job.

        That said, the games I most often boycott are not rated MA at al

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2018 @10:57PM (#56740628)

      I play counter strike and BF4(non-steam) with my 15yo. niece and I've seen his game library, and I know damn well many of his games are supposed to be over 18.

      If your niece already has gender issues, this probably isn't going to help.

    • by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2018 @11:00PM (#56740642)
      A libertarian would say parenting is the responsibility of parents, not the market. If Steam wants to offer parental controls, that's certainly their choice, but they should be under no such obligation. And perhaps your nieces parents, who I'd imagine know the girl much better than you, have determined that she is mature enough to play some or all 18+ titles? As a left social libertarian myself, I wouldn't want Steam to try to second guess parental discretion like that.
      • How far does parental discretion go? Too much parental discretion leads to deaths by Christian parenting and/or medicine denial, and "lesser" problems like obesity, malnutrition, alcoholism and drug addiction.
        • That's just the thing. Most people who categorise themselves will stick to that category right until they don't.

          I'm libertarian right until your unvacinated child plays with mine.
          Goverment regulation is socialism right until it is necessary to keep functioning.

          etc.

          I feel like writing a chrome plugin for Slashdot that replaces "I'm {$political_philosophy} and so ..." with "On this specific point of discussion I hold {$political_philosophy} views." Though I fear it may kill the Slashdot comments section as pe

          • We need *more* people to be independent thinks who don't strictly adhere to their political parties philosophy. To stand up and say 'hey, this is where we're wrong' and break from the party in pursuit of common sense and doing the morally correct thing. It would be a much better world. So it doesn't bother me one bit to disagree with other libertarians and say according to my interpretation of the philosophy, not requiring vaccinations fall under serious abuse, like beating and raping, that laws about are a
        • We have laws for that. I (and most libertarians) certainly don't support abolishing laws against seriously beating or neglecting your kids, ...or apparently giving them drugs and excessive alcohol (?); but we're not talking about illegal abusive conduct here, just video games.
      • by pots ( 5047349 )
        A true libertarian would say that parents shouldn't be infringing on the child's liberty, and that free market (the only entity which is allowed to make decisions) will decide what media is and is not suitable for children to consume.
    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      >> You can buy games on Steam no matter what age you are as long as you set your age to over 18 when a store-page asks for you DoB

      > So it pains me to say this, but until they fix this gigantic loophole, they are in the wrong here.

      The problem is that's one of those easier said than done things. How do you create a fool-proof age verification system?

      • by Rande ( 255599 )

        Have the system send nudes directly to the police.
        If they aren't over 18, they can be charged with creating child porn and no one wants to risk that.

        If they send someone elses nudes then they can be charged with revenge porn or copyright infringement and again, no one wants to risk that.

        Hey, if FB wants peoples nudes, why not join the club?!

    • People like you are the reason we can't have nice things.
      You expect the world to raise your kids for you because you are too lazy to check what they are doing or don't care enough to guide them.

      The government nor any company should be telling us how to live our lives and what we cannot look at. So, fuck you.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        Yet the drinking age in the US is one of the highest in the world. You are an adult at 18, but are not allowed to drink. So the government IS telling you how to live your life. That is not even about "save the children and the terrorists". It is telling that you are not allowed to drink as an adult.

        This is also not to protect you as in "Cocaine is illegal, because it is bad" ad you can buy alcohol legally without an issue at a certain age.

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @03:24AM (#56741194)
      Do you screen the games your kids play for deer crossing the road [youtube.com]? Would it surprise you to learn that deer are more dangerous than school shootings?

      So a student is more likely to be killed by a deer than from a school shooting. Where are all the walk-outs and protests advocating deer population control?

      For some perspective on the scope of the school shooting problem, look at the stats the CDC puts out. For 2015, the leading causes of death [cdc.gov] among the 15-19 year old demographic were:

      3,919 deaths - Accidents (mostly automobile accidents and drug overdoses). 282x more than school shootings.
      2.061 deaths - Suicide. 148x more.
      1,587 deaths - Homicide (mostly outside school, and gang related). 114x more.
      583 deaths - Malignant neoplasms (cancer). 42x more.
      306 deaths - Heart disease. 22x more.
      195 deaths - Birth defects. 14x more.
      72 deaths - Influenza (the flu). 5.2x more.
      63 deaths - Chronic lower respiratory diseases. 4.5x more.
      61 deaths - Cerebrovascular diseases. 4.4x more.
      52 deaths - Diabetes. 3.7x more.
      41 deaths - Complications from pregnancy and childbirth. 3x more.

      A protest over excessive rates of teen pregnancy could potentially save 3x more lives than a protest over school shootings. Likewise, teaching kids not to each too many sweets, to exercise, not to smoke, get the flu shot, use sunscreen, not to join gangs, to buckle their seat belt, not to use drugs, and offering them counseling for depression, would all be much more productive uses of our time and effort than worrying about or debating school shootings. For that matter, controlling deer populations to reduce the number of fatalities from striking deer could potentially save 1.35x as many students' lives as lost to school shootings.

      If you want to tackle a life-threatening issue that students face, probably the best choice is suicide. It results in more than a hundred times as many student deaths as school shootings. But when's the last time you saw the media run a story about teen suicide? The only reason school shootings are even on the radar is because of the media using them to play the "think of the children!" card against guns.

      • by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @08:52AM (#56742036)

        a student's odds of being killed in a school shooting in any given year are (51 million) / (13.9 per year) = 1 in 3.67 million. About 120 Americans are killed every year by deer [vox.com]. (325.7 million Americans) / (120 per year) = 1 in 2.71 million.

        You must be a poor scientist, because you shouldn't compare the number of school children killed by one type of fatality with the number of ALL Americans killed by another type of fatality.

        If 120 Americans are killed every year by dear, how many of those Americans are school children?

      • we let hunters cull herds and put fences up to keep them away from busy roads. We also take steps to address automobile accidents, drug overdose, suicide, Homicide, cancer and well, all the examples you cite.

        But when it comes to ending gun violence we do next to nothing. We ban convicted felons from owning guns but we leave glaring loopholes in the system that let them obtain them with ease. We allow ownership of weapons intentionally designed to kill people (the AR-15's caliber and bullet velocity are d
    • People used to go to war when then were 8-9-10-11-12 years of age. In fact even younger children in the modern world participate in all sorts of conflicts around the world. The western world isn't slightly inconvenienced by that last time I checked.

      The fact that we arbitrarily raise the entry age of adulthood doesn't mean nature follows. It also doesn't mean that younger children don't know the concept of death and they shouldn't be taught to value life above everything else in this world. So, maybe, just

    • Nonsense! Their age verification system is bulletproof. That's why they keep making me confirm I was born on January 1 1900.

  • The left wants them to ban anything vaguely alt-right-ish, the right wants them to ban anything with breasts and/or penes. Neither side being happy seems like a decent compromise.

    • I need to make a video game about two anthropomorphize male-identify assault rifles that fall in love.

      Spoiler 1: the climax is they shoot up an abortion clinic, and save many God fearing babies.
      Spoiler 2: In the sequel the duo solve global warming, and reduce our dependence on oil through an innovative carbon tax system.

    • Re: Good (Score:3, Informative)

      by bursch-X ( 458146 )
      No, no, no. The left also wants to ban sexuality for the large part because itâ(TM)s objectifying the wahmens. Humiliation of male sexuality, cheap puns and physical assault on male genitalia is fine, though.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Odd, the left is generally associated with wanting more sexual activity, e.g. through promotion of contraception and the normalization of sex. Feminists in particular regard the sexual revolution, when women were liberated to engage in and enjoy sex thanks to the contraceptive pill and changes in attitudes, as a very good thing.

        Even porn has adopted some feminist ideas in recent years, with the popularity of movies that focus more on the mutual pleasure the actors are experiencing and less on the "hammering

    • There is no outright ban in question here. Valve can absolutely choose whether or not to do business with other companies, and do so with impunity. They are not forced to eschew all sense of morality, they are choosing to. My company buys products from other companies and sells them to consumers. Any notion that Valve MUST allow access to all game devs, regardless of content, is like telling me I need to buy from every supplier out there that wants to sell through my consumer conduit, which is ludicrous. I
    • I think you should add "far" to the groups you're describing there because I don't think the mainstream left or the right wants to censor games quite like that.

      Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of people who want to censor games for plain dumb reasons, but those people tend to belong to either the religious right (who are incidentally the reason why the App Store doesn't allow anything remotely sexual in nature) or their equivalent social justice obsessives on the left.
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      I'm very left wing, but I'm also very for free-speech and against censorship. I'm all for terrible games being published, but I'm also for campaigns against buying them and pressuring them to not publish through market forces
  • As it should be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2018 @11:40PM (#56740744) Homepage

    Steam should not be a place to express a viewpoint. It's a platform to hook game devs and game players up. Nothing more.

    No one is forcing you to buy a game you find objectionable.

    • Steam should not be a place to express a viewpoint. It's a platform to hook game devs and game players up. Nothing more.

      No one is forcing you to buy a game you find objectionable.

      They have every right to express a viewpoint, just as every game dev has a right (and the ability - Steam isn't a monopoly) to sell their games elsewhere. I'm as liberal as they come, so please pardon me, but by your logic every store that sell magazines should be forced to provide shelf space for porn mags, gun mags, and those with extreme viewpoints. Companies like Valve shouldn't be able to push their viewpoints on their industry, but they have the right (though not a responsibility) to form their own de

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Games are a form of art, and all art is both expressive and inherently political. You can't separate the two, and nor should you.

      Valve should just own it. Yes, they are happy to make money selling games about shooting up schools. No need to distance themselves from it, any more than PornHub needs to distance itself from making money out of legal pornography.

  • Steam will be removed from apple as they do censorship in there app store.

  • I agree with Valve that if you want to make a game about school shootings, great! Free expression FTW.
    My issue is Steam is so bloody crowded full of absolute shit, I can't find anything good to play and its turning me off the platform. Its been a year since I have purchased anything on Steam directly, more through places like Humble Bundle.
    Its a crowded mess full of asset fips and one man super buggy shit that are borderline playable.
  • Make sure you have a game website thats yours.
    Update that site with news, media, events related to the game.
    Make sure all social media and any "game" site has links back to your own site.
    Ensure you have your own trusted payment system in place and in use if needed.
    Have other methods of payment beyond a US CC company.
    Have a set of networks and the ability to quickly change from all 3rd party services to your own networks.
  • Assume that someone takes an existing open source FPS platform and mods it to make gameplay occur at Valve HQ. All you have to do is change the name to Vasevalve (Vaseline + Valve) or some such and get some game developer nerd models as targets. Name the targets after the board of directors and all the current and former c-suite office holders. The most points for a kill are assigned to the two targets Eric and Johnson. No relation to any person living or dead. Honestly.

    Do you think they would happily hos

  • Oh boy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @04:07AM (#56741274)
    They're really going to reap what they sow with this policy.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I expect there will be a lot of hastily made crapware designed to test Valve's limits.

      Remember the outrage over Wolfenstein having the player kill Nazis and depicting them as evil? I'm expecting a badly made FPS where you play Nazis repelling an SJW invasion and purifying the fatherland to appear soon.

  • Does that mean that Bunker Blaster [youtube.com] will also not be published on Steam? Nor any of the other titles shown there?

  • Refusal to make a judgement on such things is a convenient avoidance of responsibility and approaches business psychopathy. Imagine living in Nazi Germany while knowing what is going on and making no judgement. Just because you are in business doesn't relieve you of the obligation to be a human being who is part of his social environment. I believe the major cause of school shootings is 50 years of movies pushing the theme of "just revenge," not video games, which are active displacements of the rage and an
  • Although this is a good first step, the "trolling" clause really bothers me - really great art is stuff that provokes, just as trolling does - its something that makes people perhaps think In a different way than they did before...

    Furthermore it's easy to see why people troll on Twitter and other platforms - it gets a quick response and is easy just to fling some verbal poo to see what sticks. But someone bothering to write a whole game about something? I find it hard to believe someone would put so much

  • It was up to me what to stock; never seemed a problem. Maybe multinational companies just don't have the staff or something.

  • the shooter enters the Valve office and kills all the employees?

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