When you ask someone if they want some corporation deciding what movies, music, books or games they should consume they usually say they don't. One negative part of the Apple Ecosystem people cite is that the app store curation doesn't allow anyone the ability publish any app they want. Most apps get through but some don't and recently the Steam Link App was barred access for reasons that aren't entirely clear. One really amazing benefit of open systems such as the PC, Linux and the Mac is that you can install anything you want and I appreciate it when companies and communities build these open systems. So it wasn't a controversial topic, to me, when Valve recently decided that they were going to allow anything on Steam unless it was illegal or "straight up trolling."

"So we ended up going back to one of the principles in the forefront of our minds when we started Steam, and more recently as we worked on Steam Direct to open up the Store to many more developers: 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. 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."

It's a rather long blog post on why the decided to curate Steam in the way they do and you should read it. That said, I was a bit surprised that so many news outlets seemed to harshly pan Valve's choice.

"Valve’s abdication of responsibility over Steam is the worst possible solution"

"Steam's Irresponsible Hands-Off Policy Is Proof That Valve Still Hasn't Learned Its Lesson"

I get the criticism and honestly if Cheerful Ghost was a marketplace for games i'd put more rules in place for games than Valve is. That said, Valve is taking a stance that they are essentially an open platform that allows anyone the ability to publish their games regardless of how others respond to it. I'm reminded of people in the 90's calling Doom a "murder simulator" and if those obnoxious people were able to stop BBS's from allowing shareware downloads and iD from selling the games by mail, Doom wouldn't exist.

Not everyone in gaming thinks Valve is doing the wrong thing. It was nice to see Benda Romero and John Carmack have a friendly exchange on Twitter.

Brenda Romero: "I am against any form of censorship, and support Valve in having an open platform."

John Carmack (in response): "Censorship is a loaded word that can be argued doesn't apply to commercial platforms, but I support Valve in having an uncurated platform. There are plenty of more-or-less carefully curated platforms to choose from; I think having one with explicitly near-zero curation is good."

Lots of early criticism asked what Valve considered games that were "straight up trolling" and seemed to directly say Valve wouldn't do anything to stop these games. That said, as more time has passed Valve has taken action and it seems to be in line with what they've said and to a positive end removing such "games" such as AIDS Simulator and Active Shooter.

In the end I might build a game marketplace that has more rules in place but I respect Valve for creating an open marketplace even though it's not an ultra popular concept with everyone. I also think this is partly an issue because of how big Valve is in that if Active Shooter was just available on their website for download who would care? Games like Active Shooter get a ton of negative attention and i'd argue wouldn't otherwise because, generally, these kinds of shock games really suck. Few are as revolutionary as Doom but when the next Doom comes along it should exist because games and art like that change the world for the better.

Travis   Admin wrote on 06/12/2018 at 03:47am

It's not like "Watch paint dry simulator 5000" is ever going to make it to the top of the charts. In general, people will have to dig for the crap.

I think, anyway.

But back in the early days of Windows 8/10 you could open the app store and be presented with just a flood of garbage. You can still get bombarded with crap but it's gotten better. I think Steam already having a massive following and full of good stuff will help keep the crap at the bottom.

I think this is a reaction to their recent attempts at curating some things (like dating sims) and getting backlash. This is the easy way out but it may be fine as long as their ranking algorithms can keep it in check.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 06/12/2018 at 03:50am

Yeah, that's something they've mentioned they have yet to fully address. THAT SAID, I wonder what the real criticism is because if I was in the market to buy a ton of PC games i'd say Steam does a good job finding what i'd like. Are people not seeing the latest and greatest Triple A game and only seeing two hour game jam games?

Honestly my problem isn't that I don't know about great games I just don't have time to play them all.

Travis   Admin wrote on 06/12/2018 at 08:29pm

If you go through the discovery queue you will see a lot of meme games and asset swaps but if you’re browsing through they don’t show up if you click on a game genre for example.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 06/13/2018 at 02:51am

Good to know.

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