A part of the big Steam update that’s been rumoured for a good long while appears to be a new rule that games will no longer be allowed to use misleading screenshots in their store page carousel. The news, reported by Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson (Who he? – Ed), says that Valve have confirmed an update to their guidelines for sellers, and from now on only in-game shots will be acceptable.
This all came up when a member of the Facepunch forums screenshotted a Valve letter, which Kotaku then had Valve confirm was for real. (I’ve not taken the further step of double-checking this with Valve myself, because HAHAHAHA! Valve replying to an email?! What a funny idea! In fact my first response to this story was to IM Nathan to demand he tell me how he managed this seemingly impossible feat. Then I copied all his hard work on here and he should never have left me.)
Valve explain in the email to Steam developers that guidelines haven’t been clear so far, which has led to renders and concept art being displayed in a box that really ought to be for screenshots. They say now,
“We ask that any images you upload to the ‘screenshot’ section of your store page should be screenshots that show your game. This means avoiding using concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, or images that contain awards, marketing copy, or written product descriptions.”
Which does rather make me wonder whether this will finally see an update to No Man’s Sky’s page, astonishingly still displaying misleading shots of content not found in that game. Even the intervention of the Advertising Standards Authority doesn’t seem to have seen this get changed. Although the new rules have apparently led Valve to finally update DOTA 2’s store page to remove the concept art!
Quite how Valve intends to police this I’ve no idea, with dozens and dozens of games getting added every day, seemingly woefully vetted before they’re allowed to even appear on the store, let alone for whether their screenshots are accurate. I suspect this will end up falling on adversely affected users to report, after the fact, as seems too often to be the case when policing the online shop. (And indeed when the mobs turn on a game they don’t like, they’ll inevitably falsely report it for the crime.) But who knows – perhaps with the much rumoured big update they’ve also considered the out-there notion of spending some of their untold hundreds of millions of dollars on hiring some more bloody staff to actually do the job.
We’ll keep you posted.