If I didn’t know any better (and honestly, I don’t), I’d say Valve is really gearing up to finally open the floodgates to Steam, resulting in less direct regulation of every single solitary game that makes it onto the 800 lb gorilla of PC storefronts. That’s just speculation on my part, but it would certainly seem to justify an entire system that allows users to report offensive or otherwise objectionable games. Details below.
Steam DB came across the new beta feature, which allows users to file a report in any one of nine categories: Legal Violation, Offensive, Adult Content (that isn’t correctly labeled), Harmful (Malware, etc), Child Exploitation, Hate Speech, Pornography, Defamatory, or Fraud. You will also be able to provide additional details as you see fit.
At this stage, we still don’t know what will actually happen to reported games. Knowing Valve, I imagine it’ll choose to evaluate offenders on a case-by-case basis before throwing them in a pit to spend all eternity with Ashes Cricket and The War Z’s, er, name.
It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out when it actually launches, but even more illuminating will be the Steam community’s reaction to its newfound power. I imagine the early goings will see a giggling torrent of Steam-tag-like abuse, and then Valve will be forced to lock down the functionality a little better. It’s the Circle of Steam – or the Circle of the Internet, really.
But yes, between this, Steam tags, developers being able to manage their own sales, and Gabe Newell’s frequent declarations that Steam Greenlight will not pass go or collect $200 ever again, Valve seems pretty serious about taking its hands off the wheel here. And after that? Well, here’s hoping that a) Valve’s faith in its community isn’t entirely misplaced, b) chaos doesn’t ensue, and c) we don’t end up with an App Store pricing fiasco on our hands. There’s a lot of space for things to go south here, is what I’m saying. I really hope that Valve is prepared to contain the beast it’s about to unleash.