OBJECTION(able) – Steam To Let You Report Games

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.


  1. DatonKallandor says:

    Worst Idea Valve ever had or simply worst Idea ever had? Click the Report Button to decide now.

    • Koozer says:

      NOTICE: User DatonKallandor has been banned by community vote. Reason(s) given:

      Legal Violation
      Adult Content
      Child Exploitation
      Hate Speech

    • staberas says:

      OH GOD prepare Phil Fish to get more hatefull troll attacks…

    • Vin_Howard says:

      Actually, it’s quite a good idea once you think about it. What I think Valve is doing here is releasing something purposely abusable/going to have problems, just so they see how people abusing it/what problems it gets.

      For example, see how many people understand the term “patently offensive.” And how sensitive people will be towards what they perceive as “child exploitation” or “hate speech.”

      If I’m correct, this will provide Valve with valuable data for creating a self-running Steam

      • sinister agent says:

        Indeed. Valve are in a rather unique position of being able to giveth and taketh away with impunity. They can throw anything out there just to see how it works. Just to satisfy idle curiosity, even, if they really wanted to. Doesn’t work? Fine, take it down again. No biggie. It’s steam. Some people would marry it if they could.

    • Baines says:

      Worst idea Valve has had this week, maybe. The way Valve implements most of its Steam ideas qualify as “worst idea,” and this is no different.

      I’m sure it will be a mess, abused and misused by many. Valve will avoid its most useful potential, such as reporting games that don’t work. They will later neutralize most other usefulness out of the feature, and people will generally start to ignore it, but it will still see abuse.

    • Jinoru says:

      They’re going to collect a crapton of data from this and then refine the system. This is what they do now, drop a huge block of marble on the community and as we scrutinize it they chip away to shape it to something that works for the users. Its never perfect and it gets worn out over time but its effective.

  2. SillyWizard says:

    Oh man I can’t wait to waste my time attempting to bring my complaints to volvo’s attention only to get no acknowledgement or action whatsoever.

    Still, there’s something to be said for consistency, I guess.

    • SuddenSight says:

      The problem might lie in complaining to a car company about a program for buying computer games.

      • SillyWizard says:

        Oh shit….

      • Horg says:

        You might think that, but just last year a few hundred DotA players complained directly to Volvo when the Diretide Halloween game mode wasn’t released on time. The result? Valve capitulated and released Diretide. The internet can be a silly place sometimes, but other times it just gets things done.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          The Internet works in mysterious ways, but it works (sometimes).

      • Fox89 says:

        It’s a pretty good idea actually. We don’t have much clout with Valve as we’re all going to hand over fisfuls of cash to them regardless of what they do. Volvo on the other hand are a completely unrelated but also relatively massive company. If we complain to them, they’ll go to Valve and say: “Will you please stop getting all this people complaining at us?” and Valve will fix it.

        This is a 100% full-proof plan.

        • pepperfez says:

          100% full-proof: It’s made entirely of pure grain alcohol.

  3. Servicemaster says:

    I was wondering how the market was going to adjust due to the incredible price difference between $60 AAA games and the thousands of free/super cheap mobile and even desktop games.

    Not that I’m taking your speculation as fact, but I couldn’t agree more. Steam represents what Gamestop and EA have been trying to do for the past decade but couldn’t because it’s always a risk to charge so much less for your products than anyone else.

    Either way, Steam has completely spoiled me. Now with the family share plan, Steam is the best parts of not just the TV and Movie industry thanks to some sweet cerebral yet fun games, it is cheaper and as accessible as some mobile phone contracts or lackthereof

    • Beernut says:

      …and with the considerable push into the living room with Steam Big Picture and especially Steam Music, I could see Valve even selling movies, music and e-books in the future. Of course this would make their regional blocking even worse…

    • TechnicalBen says:

      There have been free games on the internet for as long as there has been an internet.
      There have been free games on PCs for as long as there have been PCs.

      Free games in stores though, that may be different.

  4. Danda says:

    Oh, more power to the idiots again. Prepared to be flooded by trolling or just plain idiocy (“I bought Mortal Kombat and they ripped somebody in half!”)

  5. rikvanoostende says:

    So… games containing murder are still in, right?
    What happens to games that are reported in the Fraud category? Are they going to be Origin exclusives?

    • HadToLogin says:

      No, they will have to change few lines of text and get back on Steam to give more money to GabeN, just like WarZ and That-Other-Game proved.

    • MykulJaxin says:

      What a bEAutiful insult.

  6. Viroso says:

    I’m worried about that legal violation thing. What if a bunch of peeps in my region for some random reason report a game for “containing content that violates the law in my jurisdiction” and then I can’t play that game anymore because of where I live.

    That’d suck.

    • Awesumo says:

      Yep. That would include banning any game with any Nazi connotations in Germany.

      • bills6693 says:

        except, I don’t know personally, but the general feeling I get is that often the strict censorship isn’t really supported by many gamers at all. I know Nazism and Germany/Austria is a bit of a different (understandable) matter, but things like the censorship in Australia? And if a game only very, very lightly touches on something nazi – a comment about them or something – are german/austrian gamers really going to report it?

        Overall the whole scheme probably has a lot of flaws but also maybe benefits, especially if they are opening the floodgates (which I have mixed feelings about anyway), but I hope this regional law stuff won’t be a major one.

        • Shuck says:

          “strict censorship isn’t really supported by many gamers at all.”
          Trolling, on the other hand…

        • The Random One says:

          But there are places where these restrictions are, in fact, supported by a fair part of that country’s populace. Granted, ValvE doesn’t officially operate in most of those countries, but it could happen.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Which is totally valid and fine because Steam already uses such regional restrictions (having regional version for such content).

        So no change as to normal, just instead of the actual Law going to Steam first with a fine, it’s consumers who may flag it.

  7. Psykus says:

    “This software modifies a customer’s comptuer in unexpected or harmful ways.”

    Will every SecuROM game get booted off of Steam now?

    • Sp4rkR4t says:

      Yes, or at least that the should be the mindless internet hoards first use of this.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Haha, if only it this would be used so appropriately.

      Honestly, the presence of a “harmful” category is a pretty terrible sign of how low they plan to set the bar. Not even going to check a submission isn’t a big ol’ bundle of browser toolbars.

      • Zekiel says:

        I agree – this is a very worrying sign. It is bad enough that I can buy a game on Steam and then find it won’t run and then have to run the gauntlet of trying to get my money back from Steam’s wonderful customer service. It’s another level of worrying that there might be games on there that could permanently harm my computer with (all SecuROM jokes aside) deliberate Malware.

        • HothMonster says:

          People keep begging them to open the floodgates and let everything on Steam. People forget that the bottom of the lake is full of sewage.

          • The Random One says:

            I know the bottom of the lake is full of sewage. I am completely capable of looking at a cup of brownish water with lots of swimming amoeba and decide I don’t want to drink it. If you are unable to do so unless Valve pours the water to you in their special glass, that’s your problem; don’t drag the people making perfectly drinkable water into it.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            @The Random One: You say that now, but have you ever tried to browse for decent games/apps on the Android store? You’re imagining a world where 2 or 3 out of every 10 games are obviously shit, but the reality is more likely to be 19 out of every 20. The decent stuff gets buried in waves upon waves of wretched shovelware until you give up browsing the store entirely and just try what friends/reviewers recommend, and that’s a shame.

      • pullthewires says:

        Not necessarily. No matter where they set the bar, people will try and get things past it – and will put serious effort in to doing so. After all, some well hidden malware in a freely offered game could reach a huge audience through Steam.

  8. thecommoncold says:

    As long as this remains a case of inform but don’t censor, I’m OK with this. Depends on where Valve takes this, obviously.

    • Shuck says:

      Since pornography, hate speech and malware are on the list, I’d say this is for exclusion, not simply tracking.

    • Dread Quixadhal says:

      Maybe they just really want to kick the South Park game off of Steam, since it will hit most of those categories.

  9. Eight Rooks says:

    Does anyone really, seriously think chaos won’t ensue? Honestly? I don’t want to pull a Canute – I’m not surprised and I do believe this was basically inevitable – but I’ll be astonished if the next year doesn’t see a regular trickle of articles bemoaning the fact Steam has turned into the App Store/Google Play. You cannot allow total freedom and not end up with a tidal wave of bull in return. It’s simply not possible. The vast majority of user reviews on every storefront going are close to worthless beyond “Does this product function the way it’s supposed to?” and the vast majority of indie product outside Steam’s walled garden is disposable rubbish that serves no purpose other than getting in the way of what you’re actually looking for – there’s a reason I pretty much never bother browsing Apple or Google’s charts and hardly ever go digging for stuff at random. The only way I can see to avoid Steam heading down the exact same path is heavily incentivising the idea of customers putting together their own storefronts, which is basically Valve ducking any responsibility for doing the same thing – fair enough if that’s the way Gaben wants to go, but it’s hardly a revolution.

    • draglikepull says:

      There are tens of thousands of albums released every year. We still manage to find good ones to listen to. We’ll still find good games on Steam too.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        I still find good apps on iOS or Android, and I adore both platforms, but both app stores are dreadful and choked up with more horrendous, pointless rubbish than I like to think about. I browse Bandcamp for free/very cheap music by indie artists I’ve never heard of, and I’ve found numerous albums that have blown me away, but I’ve heard a truckload of utter, utter crap along with them. Of course we’ll still find good games on PC. I’m just saying, it astonishes me anyone can say “Hmm, do you think this means Steam will become more like the App Store/Google Play?”. GEE, LET ME THINK. Yes. Yes it will, and despite all the good it’ll do it’ll be a frustrating, godawful mess, too. The idea anyone is surprised by this is just… baffling, and the idea we’ll get article after article saying “How did this happen?” is frustrating. It was inevitable. Make your peace with it now, because if you enjoyed Steam being a walled garden (and it never bothered me) I’m pretty much convinced that in one sense it’s all downhill from here.

        • The Random One says:

          The problem is that you think that, with the way Steam used to be, you were able to look at all the good games and none of the bad ones. That’s a fallacy. You were able to look at a very small subset of good games, and a likewise small subset of bad games. It used to be that most devs who created games sure to be of quality where already whitelisted on Steam, and most bad games they released were flukes; but as innovation and quality leaves the AAA games and flows to small new indie devs, Steam can’t rely on their other methods, nor pretend that its subset of quality games is wide enough that those that aren’t on Steam are exceptions or oversights.

          To use your metaphor: you say you’ve found a lot of good songs on Bandcamp, but also a lot of crap. I, conversely, have found a lot of good musicians through other channels, and when I desired to buy their songs, I realized most of them weren’t into the Apple store and only had Bandcamp pages. Likewise, I know Steam didn’t have all the good games, because I’d often find about an interesting game to learn that it wasn’t on Steam and could only be aquired through fishy personal websites (or the Humble Store if I was lucky). You’re angry that you can’t be sure that all the games on Steam are good, but I’m happy that all the games that are good are on Steam.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Check out the Windows Store Apps (Windows 8 Version) for something truly horror inducing.
          As long as they avoid that, then it’s ok.
          Besides, once the noise to signal ratio jumps ship, so do I and Google (or similar) becomes the only source of information to lead you to the correct product in the store. That’s how I currently use the Android store as the search is not idea. But the Windows Store is unusable on all fronts (IMO).

    • Shuck says:

      There’s no way this won’t result in complete and utter chaos. They’ve done a poor job with all their user-submitted content efforts so far, making mistakes that were completely avoidable with a little thought, and being slow and insufficient in their fixes. Even I could see the potential problems as they rolled out each feature, and I’ve done very little work with user-submitted content systems – I expected more from Valve. They also don’t have the infrastructure for it. It is hard enough to find things now – trying to browse a much larger body of games will be impossible. And this ties in with Valve justifying their cut of game sales – right now, as gatekeepers, there’s value for developers to put their games on Steam because they get substantially more sales, but if you have to find out about games through third-party websites anyways, and Steam no longer functions for discovery but is only the e-commerce mechanism, there’s not the same benefit to being on Steam. I don’t know that there’s much benefit to consumers, either – individuals would have to do the work to find trusted storefronts.

      • Baines says:

        I’ve reached the point where I think Valve just doesn’t give a **** anymore. They work in a fantasy world, where you can come up with an idea and having it running perfectly with minimal work. Valve just seems to ignore reality, how people act and react, how features can be abused and misused, and general consequences.

        I’d say that Valve doesn’t care about Steam or Steam users anymore, but it is more than that. It isn’t that Valve doesn’t care about users, but rather that Valve doesn’t even see users anymore. (Maybe it is because they don’t listen to people anymore, what with sticking their fingers in their ears while singing “We are great at listening to people”.) Valve just has its fantasy world image of users.

  10. Pliqu3011 says:

    I predict a massive waterfall of “Fraud” reports when the next Call of Duty game releases.

    • Tei says:

      Yes. If the label system is any indication, a lot of people really really hate CoD.

  11. LunyAlex says:

    GabeN’s vision is becoming increasingly worrisome.

    As someone that one day would want to try developing an indie game, the idea of a free market Steam with no approval system sounds appealing.

    As a customer, it sounds like the main step in turning Steam into the Google Play store.

    Valve seem have this obsessive love for people whom I have no reason to trust.

    Between letting content creators populate their games (and soon their digital distribution platform) with their works to letting the community itself be the main quality filter I am left with a system that feels way more arbitrary than what I’d like to see from “THE KINGS OF TEH MASTUR RACE!”.

    I wish Valve would focus on hitting the customers with things said customers wouldn’t know they wanted until they had them, instead of building this self-sustaining community circle-jerk that shoots out money in a cycle…

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      As a starting Indie Developer, I’ll have to say that the idea of a “free market Steam with no approval system” (AKA app/play store) is terrifying!

      How will people EVER find my game among the truckloads of crap? How can I stand out at all?

      Right now, the biggest advantage of Steam is (besides being a 60 or so million customer store) that it’s, in a way, a seal of quality. Though this has been in decline for some time, it’s still true that everything on Steam is at least above average in quality (compared to the crap on mobile stores and flash portals).

      When they open the floodgates, it will be drowned in terrible, low quality clones.

      How am I, as a developer without a huge marketing budget, going to have my (good) game stand out from the rest?

      This basically means the old ecosystem of developers-need-publishers-or-never-get-anything-sold will be coming back…

      There are some solutions to this problem I can think of, but all would require Valve to implement them (Quickly!).

      • LunyAlex says:

        Yea, good point. I guess I fear the approval wall more than what would ensue otherwise, but that’s slightly irrational.

      • RobF says:

        “it’s still true that everything on Steam is at least above average in quality (compared to the crap on mobile stores and flash portals).”

        No, no. It’s not true. There’s fewer real horrors because there’s fewer games in general (I can’t be bothered checking but it was at about 3k titles since they opened the door last time I checked which makes it an incredibly small storefront for the PC compared to what’s out there) but Steam is full of a load of crap. What Steam is very good at, is sinking the rubbish.

        You see the games surfacing a bit in the weeklies or in the Steam sales but they’re always there. BUT they’re easy to ignore because of the way the store is set up.. Unfortunately, because no system is perfect it’s also good at sinking things that aren’t rubbish (or where YMMV on what constitutes rubbish) and whether they opened the floodgates or not, without these recent changes they’d only be delaying having to deal with this by a short while.

        But y’know, you can’t keep things the same forever. Valve know that if they don’t move to a more open store, they’re going to fall behind because I can tell you now that consoles won’t stay as selective as they have been for much longer. It’s time to move on and realise that now we’ve got more games being made that more people want to buy and Steam bottlenecks the process whilst also suffocating the ability for a lot of people to sell elsewhere. Not because Steam is super magic or anything but because people want what Steam provides but also, as Steam provides it, they don’t want another thing doing what Steam does so… dilemma, right?

        Rather than seeing the end of the world for Steam as a curated platform, I see this as a massive opportunity for more people to have their work discovered *and* for devs/customers to be able to take advantage of the things people increasingly use Steam for. A Storefront is increasingly secondary (as a user concern) to the autopatching/library and all that jazz. The “no Steam no sale” brigade still holds a very persuasive sway outside of niche titles.

        I can understand worrying about Steam changing but I’d be more concerned right now if they tried to carry on as they have been because that’s not healthy for anyone but a select few.

        • subedii says:

          Indeed. Personally I don’t “find” games on Steam simply by what the latest releases are.

          The vast majority of games I look to get on Steam are ones I’ve already heard about, either through gaming sites, forums, or friends (now adding in tags as well, because I’ve played the tar out of the Assault Android Cactus demo and suspect I’ll be picking it up on launch). Most of the well known stuff gets showcased on the front page regardless.

          I mean, I’d never notice that something like “Powerpuff girls: Defenders of Townsville was up on Steam under such a system, but I wouldn’t have noticed anyway.

          Well, OK, I did notice by chance, but only because I was scrolling through the offers today.

          Basically the issue of “finding” good games on Steam is one of marketing. I’m speaking personally here, but I suspect it extends well beyond me to say that for 95% of the games I look up (probably all of them really) , knowing or not knowing about a game happens well before hitting the Steam store page. What few others would be something I see scrolling past on the “featured” ticker that looks interesting from the name and cover art. And neither of those things are up for change as far as I can tell.

          The “App store” problem isn’t so much of there being “too many games to find anything good”. It’s that the vast majority have basically zero knowledge or discoverability outside the app store. Typically because they’re cheap crappy knock-offs and scamware that the main gaming sites won’t even bother to cover. And that’s before you get to the simple fact that searching the app store is in itself a terrible chore.

          I mean there are already a tonne, a TONNE of horribly bad indie games on Steam that I’ve never heard of or seen. But their existence doesn’t hold me back from picking up Frozen Endzone when I see it’s of interest to me.

          It’s never been the case that you can simply stick your game on Steam and it’ll be noticed. All of that has to happen around Steam, and in rare circumstances (presumably if you’ve got the money?), prime positioning on the store front page scrolling thing (which most indies seem to be able to get on launch). And if you’re REALLY loaded, a full page banner on launch day (which I’ve never seen for an indie title).

      • harley9699 says:

        If your game is good, people will find it. If it’s quality, they’ll get the people they know to buy and play it too. Where some devs are headed now though is trashing their own customer base in their own forums. It’s not only the trolls you have to watch out for now. You should read, at least the locked pages, of this egomaniacal tyrant’s take on treating people, that he’s trying to sell his game to, in his own, basically, place of business: link to steamcommunity.com
        If you’re going to develop and put your game on Steam, then do not follow this guy’s lead unless you want to be in the 80% sale in a short amount of time. Regardless of the game, if you treat people (potential or current consumers) badly, you will hurt your sales as much as producing a subpar game. There will always be trolls, it’s just how you handle them that separates the class from the trash. Of course, I’ve been reading it because it’s not only hilarious, but so pathetic it’s like watching a car crash in super slow motion. Good luck with your endeavor!

      • empty fortress says:

        It’s too late, Steam is already flooded by truckloads of crap, being on Steam is certainly not a badge of quality (and to be honest I’m not even sure it ever has been). As a starting indie developer you should be happy with the opening of the platform: no more having to jump through hoops to get noticed on greenlight, and your career being basically dead if you can’t get on Steam because of the stranglehold it has on PC digital distribution.

        My problem with the “report” form is that it has that dreaded “pornography” checkbox, which means even if the platform is opened for everyone to publish on, there is still a whole section of the human experience that is off-limits for game developers. I was not hoping for Steam to be at the forefront of this battle, but it’s a bit depressing to be reminded again that if you want to create a game about sex your only option is to distribute it yourself.

  12. subedii says:

    OK seriously, the Steam Tags thing?

    There was endless, and I mean endless whining and griping about how completely STUPID Valve were to do something so monumentally bone-headed (“PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS!” etc.). Not to mention an abject and complete refusal to even acknowledge that ‘beta’ means ‘subject to change’ and what rough edges there were would likely be addressed with time (which actually ended up being as long as… 48 hours? Less?). All this alongside some really bizarre allegations that tags made Steam like a porn site(???) or something.

    So I’m looking through the tags for the games in my library at the moment, and honestly? I genuinely can’t find any that aren’t warranted. Sure there are one or two comedic ones, but that’s about it. I’m sure there’s “deliberately mis-tagged for abuse and / or THE LULZ” ones out there, but I’m not seeing them at the moment. If they’re present (and yes, I’m sure they are), I’m having a significantly difficult time finding them.

    I was promised a downfall of epic proportions. And people STILL keep repeating that. So you know what? I’ll happily say right now I’ve found the tags really useful. They’ve even led me to a couple of games I’d never heard of and that I’m interested in picking up now. Which wouldn’t have really been possible for me before. Or at least a lot less likely than the much better system we had previously, whereby things like Twin Stick Shooters, SHMUPS, and Spectacle Fighters were all lumped under the generic “Action” category. I have a hard time saying the latter was more valuable to me than the former.

    • RobF says:

      Yeah, it’s *much* better now. Only took them a few days to sink the worst offenders (and they did it quite nicely by letting them still have their fun and tag the things but just sinking the things) and letting people report the tags for removal.

      Who knows why that wasn’t in from the off but it was in, what? A day or so later.

      Thing is, with the tags I can understand why people would shit their pants over it from the off (I wasn’t happy with it myself). The report function? Seems pretty important for where Steam are heading to me and the spread of categories seems pretty well considered. All seems good so far.

    • Baines says:

      The tags that are left are fairly accurate.

      Of course the most useful tags were blocked. Pretty much anything that could be taken as remotely negative was removed. Anything controversial, even when used accurately, was removed.

      As of the last time I looked, Valve never added the cross-linking functionality that would make tags more robust and useful (where two or more terms would be linked to the same meaning, so something like “GFWL” would equal “Games For Windows Live”). Nor was there cross-linking across languages, with Steam instead segregating tags by language.

  13. imhotep says:

    I actually find it profoundly uninteresting to see how this turns out. I can’t really see how this reacts to any real problem. But sure, once someone calls something offensive, there is no going around treating it as potentially offensive, whether it requires the demanded reaction or not.

    • RobF says:

      The very real problem is really really simple. Either Valve put enough safe guards in place to catch content that could get them sued/shut down/arrested for facilitating or they don’t and they get sued/shut down/arrested for facilitating the distribution of really dodgy content.

      That’s the problem the report form is supposed to solve and it’s a very very real one.

  14. Henson says:

    So long as the response by Valve to reporting is measured and level-headed – I suppose this depends on how much we can trust them – most of these report categories seem okay. I’m mostly wondering if there are truly that many cases where these categories exist and were not previously caught by, say, ESRB.

    However, the ‘Offensive’ category is really making me scratch my head. Isn’t the point of much art to be deliberately offensive? And how to we standardize what is offensive when everyone has different opinions about it? How can this reporting category possibly have any value?

  15. pipman3000 says:

    so how long until reddit or 4chan try to get gone home removed by abusing the report system? i’m guessing five minutes after this goes live

    • Lemming says:

      None of this is done in a vacuum. It’s not a robot reacting to the reports.

    • Baines says:

      How long until a publisher tries to get a competing game taken down? Or maybe the question should be “Will a publisher get caught trying?”

  16. L3TUC3 says:

    This is pretty useful for reporting workshop content.

    In the case of Arma 3, it’s pretty common to see works being redistributed against the original creator’s wish. I see this on TW:R2 all the time too: (I didn’t make this mod! Enjoy :) :X :P ). It’s already gotten a lot better with users requiring to agree to TOS in which you state it is your sole work or have permission to upload. Many still disregard though.

    Steam as far as I can tell hasn’t really been able to act against it requiring intervention from the developers to block objectionable content. They aren’t really removed from workshop either, just blocked for subscription.

  17. Wulfram says:

    “Contains content that is patently offensive or intended to shock or disgust viewers”

    Is that a box quote for South Park?

  18. Mungrul says:

    Um, does this mean we’re going to see IP trolling like on YouTube where big companies shut down videos they don’t like by lodging falsified copyright claims against them?

    • The Random One says:

      As long as the system is not entirely automated, no.

  19. nrvsNRG says:

    This is completely pointless (steam forums already bring attention to anything that this would cover), is destined to be abused, cause chaos, and then fail.

  20. Ooops says:

    I find some reasons poorly worded. They should say “game that promote hatred” instead of “contains hate speech that promotes hatred”. Otherwise Bioshock Infinite wouldn’t last long.

  21. Montavious says:

    I think Id prefer a feature to report abusive devs and/or mods. They get away with murder and Steam doesnt touch them because they bring in money.

  22. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Does this mean they might branch out onto making games, now that they have this free time? I know it seems a little left field but I believe they once made a couple of good first person shooters about a chemistry teacher named Bennet Dyson or something. Had to rid the world of vertigo. And headlice. I think he did it with poultices and lots and lots of crates.

  23. Jeroen D Stout says:

    I would like to report all games not having enough mature content.

  24. Artificial says:

    The steam store is already a horrible mess full of rubbish. The ability to report things for these things sounds like it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse.

  25. gruevy says:

    I’m really not sure I like this. Exploits children? So I’m guessing ‘no killable children’ is an official rule of gaming now. Also, no Japanese junior high dating sims (not that I play them, but still). No hate speech? So no truly controversial characters ever again? I understand the need to be able to report stuff but I’m not so sure about these categories.

  26. Strangerator says:

    Oh good, now we can be rescued from all those games that offend us! Because of course, not buying them isn’t an option…

    I’m worried about upstream consequences of this nonsense. If these labels start being plastered on games in the Steam store, then wouldn’t that potentially influence game designers? Would they not try to sanitize what they create to try to avoid having these labels affixed? This is a horrendously stupid idea, that will cause games to become even more politically correct and safe.

    Many of these labels have a wide-range of potential meanings, and lord knows that virtually any game could be claimed to offend one person or another. They had better post some pretty clear cut guidelines for these, as well as implement some system to slam people who make false claims.

    • The Random One says:

      These complaints seem to be more “I don’t want to buy this game because X!” but rather “I bought this game and it unexpectedly had X, which I feel goes against what Steam would like to have on their store.”

  27. olemars says:

    It’s going to be difficult to figure out which one to choose for Barbie Dreamhouse Party.

  28. kevinspell says:

    Regarding the speculation of “opening the floodgates” in the future, from what I remember, one of the things someone from Valve once mentioned as a possible future feature is the possibility for users to curate their own storefronts inside Steam.

    So if that was possible there would be nothing stopping e.g. RPS to create their own curated storefront that would direct their readers towards “the good stuff”. And if enough people used that storefront, I’m guessing RPS would probably get a cut of the action.

  29. Saiko Kila says:

    It seems like a beginning of a new era of censorship. Apple-style. Or maybe American-style, based on an obvious omission on the list: Violence (or Too Much Violence, to be more realistic, or Gun Violence etc.). Unless there will be such an option – they could use geolocation for determining the options to give.

  30. soldant says:

    Hey guys, let’s take the concept of the community tagging system, and turn it into a reporting system with possible repercussions! This’ll be awesome, right?

    Granted we don’t know what’s going to happen once things are reported, but the collective Steam community have proven time and time again that people whinge at the drop of a hat (“Oh what this game has DLC? Developers are terrible, remove from Steam!”). Why anyone thought this was a good idea boggles the mind, it just makes it far easier for people to start reporting. The only upside is that instead of a hundred angry emails, Valve will have it aggregated into a number that might reflect nothing of value.

  31. Memphis-Ahn says:

    So can I finally report walking simulators for being on the game section of Steam instead of the software one?

  32. quijote3000 says:

    Saya no Uta (The song of Saya) is one of the most beatiful visual novel I have ever read. But… it has child explotation, rape, pedophilia, pornography, brutal violence, adult content, etc, etc.

    Again, I loved that visual novel, I recommend it to all the people that know how to appreciate. And I don’t want a bunch of censors to stop me from enjoying it. It was bad enough when Valve censored that pornography game, not because it was a good, or even decent game, but because the message it sent to all developers. Now I’m afraid of the collective of Internet, because whatever you do, there will always be people complaining.

    So, I feel it’s a bad idea.

  33. weary ghoul says:

    Oh, well that’s just fucking great. We’ll have to rely on community flagging from now on to know whether a Steam game is really a virus or not. Thanks Gabe.

    • Baines says:

      We already relied on the community for such stuff.

      Want to know if a game will overheat your PC? Better check the Steam forums, because Valve isn’t going to check stuff like that. Valve doesn’t even check to see if games run properly, or run as advertised, much less whether or not they run improperly. (Maybe they at least run everything through an antivirus scan. But there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that they actually test anything.)

      Valve only seems to respond after a story blows up, and then as reluctantly as possible. (The closest thing to an exception I can think of is Darkspore, and wasn’t the game already in an unplayable state for new users for months before Valve pulled it? Valve looked diligent largely because EA continued to sell the game on Origin even after Valve pulled it from Steam, and EA was in a position to know that it wouldn’t be fixing the game, which was an EA published title.)

  34. Sacarathe says:

    This is the first time in 10 years that valve have done something I dont approve of. After reading all the comments here, the overriding proviso is that interesting characters will not longer be possible, and mature content could be forever ruled out of computer games – being that getting your game on steam is the best way to make cash nowadays.

    There are lots of questions, like pornography. Does that mean porn that was not created by the game devs, or does it mean real porn inside the game, or just hardcore porn – penetration and moneyshots?

    How am I going to know if the game studio exploited children in order to keep the studio affloat, will now all companies have to have their studios inspected in searches akin to how clothing chains inspect their factories?

    Offensive? Don’t make me laugh. People like to be offended – if it is age appropriate.

    Harmful – the points raised above are very strong on this, I would point to the trusted icon used on the pirate bay, will steam now have to receive this feature? What if a game contains a sleeper virus that installs when the game is run, but does not get included in the un-installation.

    Hate speech – Has anyone heard of freedom of expression – WHERE WILL COMPUTER GAMES FIND BAD GUYS WITH THIS? Or will it be like under 18 movies where its ok as long as the bad guys get their just deserts? (if you actually finish the game…)

    What a load of rubbish, I may have to stop playing games for the story and go back to books.

    I hope developers can get whitelisted from this somehow.

    • RobF says:

      As I said above, it’s so Valve have a way of flagging content that might get them sued/arrested or otherwise screwed over for hosting and distributing.

      It’s not about censorship and I’m not sure why people are seizing on that. It’s a basic level safeguard so that they can continue to sell you videogames. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • Sacarathe says:

        Aye, but we’ve all seen how the vehicles for maintaining copywrite have blurred with censorship.

        I am not so bothered about censorship post creation – it is, to quote the copyright debate, the “stifling of innovation” at the development and inception stages that is of worry.

        • RobF says:

          But you would be really bothered if Steam had to close down tomorrow, right? That’s precisely what’s at stake here. Valve have laws they have to comply to. I don’t like resorting to the kiddy porn argument because that’s what slippery slopes are usually made of but in this case, this is exactly the sort of thing they have to protect themselves against.

          It’s not about you. It’s not for you. It’s not to oppress or censor creators. It’s to keep Valve within the law and the report form is to hand over some of the detection work to the community to take some of that work away because they’ll be faster than Valve could be at spotting these things.

          Valve haven’t suddenly decided they’re clamping down on offensive content all of a sudden or trying to be your mum and tell you you can’t play this or that videogame, they’re exercising THE EXACT SAME STUFF they already do right now but they know that when the floodgates open, it’s unmaintainable for them to do it alone.

          So yeah, you can be worried about the stifling of innovation at the creation stage but it’s aiming at the wrong target in this case. This is to enable people to be able to continue to sell their works through Steam and to enable you to still be able to play the videogames you’ve bought on Steam. It’s to keep business as usual.

          • Sacarathe says:

            None of the things people are normally offended by are offensive to me. I don’t actually understand racism or genetics based hatred. (I get religious hatred, but tbh, no one makes those people believe insane things).

            Though I can be offended by things such as this, I do not really care about the “stifling of innovation” – What I do care about is the idea I get to miss out on something because someone else’s sensibilities got in the way of it’s creation.

      • fish99 says:

        Couldn’t they just employ a few people to actually look at the games they’re publishing? They do have nearly limitless funds, 30% of everything sold on steam.

        Also that’s just your interpretation of what’s this is intended for, but like all tools it may get abused.

        • RobF says:

          They could employ a team of people to do this but they won’t be anywhere near as effective as a potential millions of people all keeping an eye out for abusive content. You’re about to see a seriously enormous rise in the amount of games that pass through Steam. At the moment they’re letting less than 100 in a week, when the doors open that figure will inflate massively and a report form will be a necessary, and let’s be honest here not exactly unique to Valve, method of spotting the dodgy content.

          The community will spot dodgy stuff sooner so giving them a quick and efficient means to draw attention to problematic content is the most fucking sensible thing any company could do. But for some reason we’re on the internet and people seem to assume that they’re being oppressed rather than simply pragmatic and sensible solutions being applied and folks would sooner jump to all manner of absurd conclusions rather than the completely fucking obvious one.

          So yes, it’s my interpretation based on knowing that if the floodgates open and Valve are caught hosting hooky stuff then they could get fucked over. As a business, they want as little friction between finding that content as possible. They’ll still need people to look over the content and check, there’ll still be people at Valve looking and checking. This is to assist in the looking and checking. Anything else would be stupid. They’re not even making new rules, the exact same rules for content on Steam are in that form as what exist now.


  35. LVX156 says:

    In other words, no South Park: The Stick of Truth (Hate Speech), no Heavy Rain (yes, yes, I know it’s on PS3) is also out (Child Exploitation). No South Park again, and no Postal 2 or Manhunt or Tomb Raider or Spec Ops: The Line (Offensive). Aaaand South Park gets the trifecta for pornography as well.

    Soon the only games left on Steam will be Farming Simulator 2014 and Barbie Princess Charm School.

    • Comrade Roe says:

      You act like people will report games based on the criteria, what a silly idea.

    • subedii says:

      Because certainly, Valve are going to implement this system in such a way that it cuts off 90% of existing and future revenue making titles, including the publishing of their own titles.

      That proviso base level interpretation of this that everyone here is accepting is completely freaking ridiculous. Seriously.

      It doesn’t take an Einstein level intellect to avoid jumping to conclusions that would make Javier Sotomayor cry. Valve are not about to remove all violent material from their store nor is it their intent to create a system whereby they are forced to remove any level of material that doesn’t ALREADY exist on Steam (which throwing in South Park and Postal off the top of my head, probably has you covered quite well).

      Much like with Steam tags (remember, those things you guys raged so hard about before?), this is a question of implementation.

      Seriously, the way you guys are talking about how so many games will now be banned from Steam that weren’t before makes zero sense for any company. Even on the proviso that the implementation of the system is SO head-desk, hand-in-an-oven, toaster-in-bathtub stupid and terrible that it leads to having to remove all their sources of revenue, any company (not just Valve) would sooner simply nix the entire thing. And that’s putting a long train of oxygen-deprived brain-death level failures and “if” statements ahead of it.


  36. AlexSledge says:

    I feel compelled to create a game that meets every one of these criteria.

  37. Jinoru says:

    How about an option for reporting a game for “Extortion”? ;)

    What I see happening with this system is when a game is reported it will be reviewed and given a label/tag that will say what kind of content or value the game will have for those who are considering buying it. Products with similar reports will get put in similar sections of the steam store. Like the Adult Sections of the video store.

    Then when Valve makes the store a fully VR experience in 10 years we’ll have the seedy corners of the Steam Mall, the sexy corner, and the kiddy corners, and all the other aisles.

  38. Megakoresh says:

    Are you fucking kidding me? They are going to let PLAYERS report games?! So they are gonna let some raging idiot to go and flag the game for pornography or child abuse because they can’t complete some level? Or some retarded feminist to flag the game for offensive content because an armour has boob windows? Holy cow, they are mad… Let’s see how long this idea will survive. I wager not for long.

    Not to mention that games like Witcher series have a lot of this type of questionable content that is put there to make the storyline more believable. I know quite a few people who either don’t have the brains or just can’t take videogames seriously enough to understand that. That is by far the most retarded idea Valve has thrown out up to this point. Tags aren’t nearly that bad. You can vote on tags for example, that makes them quite useful. But this? Are we gonna have to “Upvote/Downvote” other people’s reports?!

  39. fish99 says:

    Where can I report a game for being s**t ?

  40. P.Funk says:

    Its like Valve is doing Capitalism the Anarchist way…

  41. Shodex says:

    The lack of a “false advertising” category for reporting has not gone unnoticed. This is coming from somebody who bought Takedown: Red Sabre, a game that sold itself as finished but barely qualifies as Early Access.

    It seems Valve really doesn’t want to give up their stance that it’s nobody’s fault but yours if you get scammed through their system.

    • Baines says:

      Valve protects publishers, or at least protects the cut of money that they get went games are sold. That’s been shown multiple times. Valve also appears to want to avoid any responsibility for, well, anything.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if bigger and more profitable publishers get more leeway on reported games, as well. It will be the smaller Greenlight level stuff that sees the brunt of enforcement.

  42. Distec says:

    Maybe we should all just… calm down? I don’t think think Valve is going to ban over half of their gaming library as a result of this system, as some people here are so sure of.

    Take a deep breath. And just think for a moment.

  43. TiagoTiago says:

    I hope this will only be enforced by applying a use-configurable blacklist. Free speech is already being threatened too much; we don’t need yet another venue for biased censorship.

    Though perhaps for the case of games with enough accusations of harming an user’s system, a formal investigation by unbiased experts should be triggered, and if it turns out the accusations are legit, the offender(s) should be brought to court in the appropriate jurisdiction; and of course, the developers banned from the Steam system.

  44. Hengst says:

    Bad idea by Valve. This only opens the doors for religious fundamentals of all types to report any game that doesn’t sit well with their world view.

    I shutter to think about some of the bullshit going on with Bioshock Infinite. People even GOT THEIR MONEY BACK because they felt “insulted” or their faith was insulted or some crazy thing like that…!

    Let’s not forget that the biggest bigots and most easily “insulted” are people of faith and other people with extreme world views.