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  1. #1
    Network Hub Granath's Avatar
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    Sometimes I do not understand this site - Hatred Game

    RPS forbids discussion of many controversies yet publicly questions Valve for not publishing a game made by a group of racists and the content of the game would cause Valve huge PR headaches in the US if they did publish it? God pity anyone for questioning the ethics of reviewers or whether certain people manufacture controversies to further their own career, but this is ok?

    I don't get it. Steam is a business (isn't RPS?) and has no obligation to publish every piece of junk that comes down the pike even if a vocal minority of their customers want it. Would RPS blame KMart, Walmart and Sears for not carrying Custer's Revenge in the 1980s? If the GamerGate jerks published a rape simulator and used their numbers to try to force it on Greenlight, would RPS question Valve for that? I think not, so why the seemingly anti-Valve stance on this one?

    Come on guys, you're better than that.

  2. #2
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Postal comes to mind

    And I think this excerpt explains it all:
    This raises a whole slew of issues. Firstly, it leaves people wondering what exactly are Valve’s criteria for what they’ll publish. Right now, on Steam, you can buy a copy of Rockstar’s infamous murder simulator, Manhunt. And indeed civilian murder-fests Hotline Miamis 1 and 2, and Postals 1 and 2. Let alone the hyper-realistic killing that takes place in everything from COD: Advanced Warfare to Medal Of Honor. We’ve got in touch with Valve to ask them what their rules are for what’s accepted onto the Steam shelves.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granath View Post
    If the GamerGate jerks published a rape simulator and used their numbers to try to force it on Greenlight, would RPS question Valve for that?
    I'd imagine they would want to highlight the issue, as they did here, that Valve are approaching having a defacto monopoly on the market, at least to the point that a lot of devs don't see the point doing anything if Steam won't host it.

    But in that case they wouldn't run the story, because it'd attract awful people who would start defending rape. This game is more about violence, and because of that offers a safer context to have the discussion in. Note the article doesn't mention that the devs are racists (I only know that from your post but will take your word for it), but that's because it's somewhat besides the point. Valve didn't say "we're not publishing this because we don't like the devs". They said the problem was with the contents of the game itself. Which instantly frames the debate around the games, and where Valve's line is. Rather than who is making it.

  4. #4
    Network Hub Granath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    Postal comes to mind

    And I think this excerpt explains it all:
    No, it doesn't. False equivalences are still false.

    By the time Steam published all of the games mentioned, the controversy had long died out on all of these. Postal was made in the 90s, the other two were released in early 2000s. Steam didn't even put 3rd party games on their platform until 2005. Nor are they as blatantly as horrible as Hatred seems to want to be. At least the other games pretended they had a premise for the killing. This game is blatantly about a mass murderer who is on a crusade for genocide to kill both civilians and cops. There's a difference.

    Nor are they made by people who have publicly questionable fascist and racist ties.

    There's also a difference in timing. Given the protests and riots in the US regarding police killings of civilians plus more school shootings in the recent years, does anyone expect that the public reaction against this game might be stronger and more visceral than against Postal and it's ilk? Times change and Valve has to consider this. A decade is a long time (look at something like the change in the US regarding gay marriage).

    In short, the circumstances aren't nearly the same. So that excerpt explains nothing because the comparison doesn't fit. Here's the question that you should have asked yourself before publishing this article - why SHOULD Valve risk their reputation and market dominance of Steam (though it is NOT a monopoly) over this game? Can you think of any good reason? Even one?

    Again, would RPS blame KMart, Walmart and Sears for not carrying Custer's Revenge in the 1980s? That's the equivalency to this situation, not Steam carrying Postal over a decade after it was released.
    Last edited by Granath; 16-12-2014 at 04:05 PM.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    @Granath Hi Granath, can I call you Gran, No? Okay. Well, I just came here to commend you on your title. That title tells me exactly what to expect. I don't really care about this hatred game as it sound boring (I'm more of a strategy guy even when it comes to action games) but that's an excellently succinct thread title.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  6. #6
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    Reading the post, I got the impression that RPS probably agrees with valve, but were trying to remain "fair and balanced". Unnecessarily so imho, but maybe they were just anticipating all the shouts of "censorship!" etc..

    My memory is hazy on the details, I'm afraid, but with regards to your example, there was (is?) an issue in the past where several big US retailers (walmart, i think) refused to stock particular types of movies (and games?). Their commercial influence was large enough that the larger studios cut back on those types of movies in favor of ones that they could sell in those stores and maximise their profits on.
    So I do understand the concern that it's effectively possible for big business to create a situation of censorship, but without it being as obvious and accountable as one created by the government. If the government had banned those works, then there would probably have been outrage and protests, but if stores just won't sell them then they just mostly disappear.

    I don't claim this applies in this case (maybe because I agree with valve in this case, but I didn't agree with walmart(?) back then), but I understand the worry.

  7. #7
    Moderator Anthile's Avatar
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    Same reason South Park used to have an episode showing the prophet Mohammed and nobody cared but later they couldn't do that anymore. After Postal, school shootings became a thing and 9/11 made people afraid of terrorism, legitimately or not. It is doubtful such a game would be made in this day and age.
    Hatred seems to be made with exactly that in mind, cynically hoping for outrage to boost interest. The difference between something like this and, say, Hotline Miami is that one can't help but feel the developers would perhaps condone it if somebody acted like this in the real world.
    On the other hand it's always problematic when stores boycott to sell products because of ideological reasons as it puts a lot of power in the hands of the store owners. Luckily Steam is far from a monopoly and even if no other digital distributor should pick it up they can still sell it from their own homepage.

    That said, we only really banned discussion on all things Gamersgate and that only because these threads tend to go bad in minutes and they attract brigades. It is not something I enjoy to enforce but it is a necessary evil.
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  8. #8
    For one, I don't think RPS "questioned" Valve about their decision in the aggressive sense you mean in the OP. They want to know if there is some kind of well-defined policy or not, and that's all.

    I'm going to say something similar to what I said in the "Nobody is trying to take your games away" post.
    One store not carrying a game is not censorship. In fact, I'd love it if more stores differentiated their catalogs based on ethical positions, like GoG does, welcoming and rejecting different games based on each store's ideas of what is good/acceptable, just like shops that only sell fair-trade products.

    However, Steam having the near-monopoly on PC gaming is an issue, because Steam not carrying a game means they can almost certainly, singlehandedly render the game invisible, effectively making it disappear (which is even worse than traditional censorship, in many ways), like when Google hides certain pages from the search results.

    Having the near-monopoly, Steam finds itself in a position of responsibility in regards to distribution of cultural products that a private arguably shouldn't have. And that discrimination in and among stores that would be ideal competition in a healthy environment becomes silencing when there's only one player on the market.

    I don't think there's an easy yes/no answer to the question of "Is Steam wrong?". It's complicated, and it's complicated because Steam finds itself in a position that it shouldn't have.

  9. #9
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    So what you are saying is you are upset that RPS banned this or that thread/comment thread and (THANK GOD) disallowed gamergate discussion and thus you believe RPS cannot criticize Valve for removing Hatred?

    RPS can ban whatever.
    Valve can ban whatever.
    RPS and others can criticize Valve for whatever.

    I see no conflicts.

  10. #10
    Network Hub Granath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mouton View Post
    So what you are saying is you are upset that RPS banned this or that thread/comment thread and (THANK GOD) disallowed gamergate discussion and thus you believe RPS cannot criticize Valve for removing Hatred?

    RPS can ban whatever.
    Valve can ban whatever.
    RPS and others can criticize Valve for whatever.

    I see no conflicts.
    And I can criticize RPS for being both hypocritical and trying to manufacture controversy.

    Your point is?

  11. #11
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granath View Post
    And I can criticize RPS for being both hypocritical and trying to manufacture controversy.

    Your point is?
    dat dont mean youre not fighting windmills.

    also, anthile, I assume you meant gamergate, not gamersgate? ;D
    - Tom De Roeck.

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    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  12. #12
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    That you seem to imply these things somehow clash and reflect poorly on the RPS. That because RPS disallowed some discussions, they are now bound to be silent on anything that even remotely resembles "banning". I think you are wrong. You seem to invoke some universal rights that just aren't there. Like demanding free speech rights on an internet forum after a moderator issues a ban.

    Also, about the neo-nazi aspect - I do not know the devs, but from what I read one of them liked some anti-muslim fanpage on facebook. Now, if that makes peopel neo-nazi then probably much of Europe is lost to the Reich now.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granath View Post
    And I can criticize RPS for being both hypocritical and trying to manufacture controversy.
    Koala bears aren't even really bears.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  14. #14
    Moderator Anthile's Avatar
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    I don't understand what kind of controversy RPS is supposed to have manufactured here. The Hatred developers and Valve did that all by themselves. Are you implying RPS misrepresented either party? I would find that hard to believe.
    It's reasonable to criticize Valve's arbitrary stance on curation, as they hold enormous power in the industry with little oversight. Being featured on Steam can make or break a game.
    It's reasonable to criticize RPS' approach to censorship as it is ultimately just as arbitrary. The consequence is pro-Gamersgate opinions effectively being banned.
    Are you trying to draw a parallel between those two issues? Because that would be trying really hard.
    Old hat! A Steam curator page focusing on Immersive Sims WIP
    Antique! The Fall of Infinite Games 2014 - A handy release schedule for the dark season.
    Recently updated! Thrust Issues: A Marvelous Guide to Fencing in Dark Souls 2

    to wound the autumnal city.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthile View Post
    The consequence is pro-Gamersgate opinions effectively being banned.
    In all fairness the antigg pov was banned too on account of the 'shut the eff uping' being impartial.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    In all fairness the antigg pov was banned too on account of the 'shut the eff uping' being impartial.
    As in, it was not even a question of opinion, but of sheer noise and drama? Yeah, I can subscribe to that.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Not all opinions are born equal but had the arguments been respectful and less looping, nested and mired in polarity it would have all washed over in a tenth of the time.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Koala bears aren't even really bears.
    This is true.


  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granath View Post
    In short, the circumstances aren't nearly the same. So that excerpt explains nothing because the comparison doesn't fit. Here's the question that you should have asked yourself before publishing this article - why SHOULD Valve risk their reputation and market dominance of Steam (though it is NOT a monopoly) over this game? Can you think of any good reason? Even one?
    Sure - they'd make money off it. As an aside, Depression Quest is still on Steam. That's free, so they make no money off it. Would it have been okay for them just to remove it to avoid being bothered by GamerGate folk?

    It's easy to accept it as a decision when it's something as horrible as this game. But can you be sure Valve's morals will always align with your own?

    To get an idea of the problems this can create... Valve don't allow explicit adult/sexual content on Steam. That's fine, you think, how many good games are there that feature that stuff anyway? Aren't they nearly all porn games with few redeeming features beyond that? Sure. But then, ask, why is that? Why are there not tonnes of indie games exploring sex, it's a huge part of most people's lives, it's a fascinating topic, but we only see it on the very fringes of game-jam, high concept indie. Few people have actually spend real time making a game about sex that's genuinely good. And surely part of that is down to the fact that, in making one, you automatically cut yourself off from the "number one by orders of magnitude" distribution platform for PC indie games.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    I think Steam as a platform and business, and being the curators for that business, it is within their right to deny the sale of the game on their service based on a conscientious objection.

    The objection seems to be a conscientious one based on the content of the game, though as others have brought up there are similar games (Postal series) as well as similarly violent games but with some context/purpose greater than what is shown with this game (Hotline Miami and possibly Manhunt).

    But I think this comes down to Steam's own decisions on what to allow for sale on *their* service, much like Target and Kmart in Australia have decided not to allow the sale of Grand Theft Auto V based on the protests and complaints (rightly or wrongly) of a subset of potential customers (not necessarily whom all of are part of the sex trade).

    Similarly I expect none of Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Square-Enix, Activision-Blizzard, or Microsoft to allow this game to be sold through their sales portals either. I would expect none of these companies to begin selling games such as Rapelay or games with similar context.

    I think context is a key differentiating feature with this game personally, and I don't find Steam necessarily wrong to choose to single out this game more than others.

    If anything I think if controversies similar to this come up again in the future, each should be evaluated on a case by case basis, and Valve can develop some guidelines to help them make decisions in these cases for the future as well. Not necessarily to be followed strictly, but simply to guide decision-making and try to treat each potential case in the future fairly too.

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