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Kurisu-Chan

Valve's new steam policy.

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Well...it seems like valve finally gave up on their bizarre positions about what should or should not be allowed on steam.

https://steamcommunity.com/games/593110/announcements/detail/1666776116200553082

 "Valve is not a small company - we're not a homogeneous group. The online debates around these topics play out inside Valve as well. We don't all agree on what deserves to be on the Store. "

 

Spoiler

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.

 

Spoiler

With that principle in mind, we've decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.

 

So basically : the store will be flooded with even more crap, but at least, freedom?..

I dunno, i think steam allowing any game to release on it is a stupid idea, we'll get flooded with even more crappy games that will sink any good game that doesn't have a huge marketing campaign, the visibility of games will be lowered.

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15 minutes ago, Kurisu-Chan said:

So basically : the store will be flooded with even more crap, but at least, freedom?..

I dunno, i think steam allowing any game to release on it is a stupid idea, we'll get flooded with even more crappy games that will sink any good game that doesn't have a huge marketing campaign, the visibility of games will be lowered.

This has already happened, even before Steam Direct was a thing. Valve gave up on curating the storefront long ago and the stream of crap arriving to the platform can't get much bigger than it is now I think. However, they promise the tools to filter out certain kinds of games from your feed, so it's quite possible that it will soon be easy to make all the worst crap virtually invisible. If I can filter out certain genres effectively, games with mostly negative reviews etc., suddenly navigating Steam and finding stuff there might become doable again.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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20 minutes ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

This has already happened, even before Steam Direct was a thing. Valve gave up on curating the storefront long ago and the stream of crap arriving to the platform can't get much bigger than it is now I think. However, they promise the tools to filter out certain kinds of games from your feed, so it's quite possible that it will soon be easy to make all the worst crap virtually invisible. If I can filter out certain genres effectively, games with mostly negative reviews etc., suddenly navigating Steam and finding stuff there might become doable again.

Should have done it from the start and they would've avoid this whole controversy.

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44 minutes ago, Dark_blade64 said:

Should have done it from the start and they would've avoid this whole controversy.

Maybe yes, maybe no. People will attack things they don't like/don't understand even if they can avoid them. Good filtering tools might make anime games publishers' lifes somewhat easier, but doesn't mean it will stop trolls and bigots from doing their stuff.

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well, on the one hand its good that valve has taken a open stance on the matter and will not subject our beloved vns to this again (not yet anyways) but on the other its pretty bs that they no doubt took one look at the japanese 2d "weird" game and decided that it was inappropriate for children when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. at least nothing worse than whats already presented on steam. sure, there are stuff like this 
108690.jpg

which doesnt exactly help but again, its all ages and falls in line with their rules.

 

it sucks that for a few moments the devs were subjected to a scare like potentially not having a platform for their products, devs such as huniepot. and of course publishing companies like sp, and mangagamer. but luckily theres gog now who stepped in when all this shit went down and now that everything seems to have blown over, i see no reason why they should go back to steam which i am in full support of. steam of course still provides great prices for games but as people have said, it is filled with a lot of shite that just filters good games out. but again, this is all over for now and hopefully this wont happen again. again, hopefully. basically what im getting at is the only suggestion i have for this to never happen again is to get rid of all the sakura games. :makina: 

Edited by mitchhamilton

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Just now, mitchhamilton said:

well, on the one hand its good that valve has taken a open stance on the matter and will not subject our beloved vns to this again (not yet anyways) but on the other its pretty bs that they no doubt took one look at the japanese 2d "weird" game and decided that it was inappropriate for children when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. at least nothing worse than whats already presented on steam. sure, there are stuff like this 
108690.jpg

which doesnt exactly help but again, its all ages and falls in line with their rules.

 

it sucks that for a few moments the devs were subjected to a scare like potentially not having a platform for their products, devs such as huniepot. and of course publishing companies like sp, and mangagamer. but luckily theres gog now who stepped in when all this shit went down and not that everything seems to have blown over, i see no reason why they should go back to steam which i am in full support of. steam of course still provides great prices for games but as people have said, it is filled with a lot of shite that just filters good games out. but again, this is all over for now and hopefully this wont happen again. again, hopefully. basically what im getting at is the only suggestion i have for this to never happen again is to get rid of all the sakura games. :makina: 

#WaifuHolocaust was the stupidest hashtag i have seen in my life, and i stand my point.

 

Just now, Ranzo said:

This is a relevant video

 

It's not that they are happy, i hate this kind of videos because they are just about pushing narratives, and not adressing the actual problem.

I said it before, it's just that VALVe has no idea how to effectively run their platform, they just care about the cash flow, and not really about how making an actual good publishing policy.

 

i'm 99% sure no one is happy to sell "AIDS simulator".

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17 minutes ago, Kurisu-Chan said:

#WaifuHolocaust was the stupidest hashtag i have seen in my life, and i stand my point.

 

It's not that they are happy, i hate this kind of videos because they are just about pushing narratives, and not adressing the actual problem.

I said it before, it's just that VALVe has no idea how to effectively run their platform, they just care about the cash flow, and not really about how making an actual good publishing policy.

 

i'm 99% sure no one is happy to sell "AIDS simulator".

I think the problem is not the fact that they have no idea how to effectively run their platform it's just that they don't care. Steam has the ability to effectively manage what games come out on their own storefront. I think Jim Sterling was being facetious when he said that valve was happy to sell AIDS simulator. However, it's not too hard a stretch to view Valve allowing a shit game like that on steam as a tactic endorsement of the game in question.  The fact that it wasn't pulled immediately and is still on there at this moment speaks volumes. What you sell and what you allow to be sold directly effects how you are being seen as a company.

On another note I wonder how this will effect their pornographic policy? Could this lead to uncensored vns being allowed on steam?

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Just now, Ranzo said:

I think the problem is not the fact that they have no idea how to effectively run their platform it's just that they don't care. Steam has the ability to effectively manage what games come out on their own storefront. I think Jim Sterling was being facetious when he said that valve was happy to sell AIDS simulator. However, it's not too hard a stretch to view Valve allowing a shit game like that on steam as a tactic endorsement of the game in question.  The fact that it wasn't pulled immediately and is still on there at this moment speaks volumes. What you sell and what you allow to be sold directly effects how you are being seen as a company.

On another note I wonder how this will effect their pornographic policy? Could this lead to uncensored vns being allowed on steam?

You could say that, by their silence, steam gives consent to such content.

I'm not defending steam or anything, but before playing the conspiracy card, we should look at why Steam isn't efficient when it comes to gaming policy.
The reason is quite simple : they don't have a definitive leadership on that subject, just like the blog said, everyone has a stance on the subject, and there isn't any united answer to the problem, Steam lacks leadership, i'd say VALVE lacks leadership, and that's why we are getting all the problems.

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1 hour ago, mitchhamilton said:

basically what im getting at is the only suggestion i have for this to never happen again is to get rid of all the sakura games. :makina: 

Meh, if I would argue for Sakura games being deleted it'd be only because of the shitty behaviour of Winged Cloud. Ecchi shovelware, as much as we might hate it, have full right to exist - after all, JP VNs market is full of trashy porn and fanservice VNs too. And it's not like Sakura Santa is in any way more inappropriate than most eroge - actually, all Sakura games are very vanilla, I have yet to find one with which I'd have actual issues beyond it being an uninspired, poorly written piece of trash. I'm not sure what would happen, however, if the broader public actually knew what's hidden behind the 18+ patches of most Japanese titles available on Steam. :nico:

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I kind of wish they hadn't done this.

"Illegal or trolling" is too low a baseline for admission onto the world's probably most influential and popular video game marketplace. 

It's this very stance that got games literally about shooting LGBT+ people and the like onto Steam. (And the fact that Valve removes (some) of such games upon public outcry doesn't redeem its appearance on the store in the first place.)

It's too easy to disseminate bigoted content this way, and all Valve needed to do was to create a policy that says "Games made for the purpose of mocking a(n oppressed) demographic, or games that endorse such content, are not allowed on Steam.". 

Steam is not the entire internet. If someone's just fucking dying to distribute racist, homophobic or sexist games, there are other avenues. Steam doesn't have to, and in my opinion, mustn't give a platform to such games. Steam isn't responsible for giving every single game a fair chance.

And, of course, any actual quality vetting policy would also catch the myriad asset flips, barebones Unity turds, shovelware and copyright-infringing works. But I'm honestly more miffed about the political angle (a game called Feminazi: The Triggering doesn't really have a right to be put on the Steam storefront).

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As a philosophical stance, I find Valve's policy brief interesting.  They're basically taking a hands-off libertarian approach, presuming that the market will sort itself out if the proper filtering tools are provided.  Applied to the market as a whole, I find this viewpoint irresponsible--regulation and quality standards are necessary to prevent predatory practices and exploitation--but for a video game store it could be appropriate.  We have curated alternatives, so there's no reason to cry 'the sky is falling' over an ideological experiment.  Let the market decide whether it wants an uncurated store.

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7 minutes ago, sanahtlig said:

As a philosophical stance, I find Valve's policy brief interesting.  They're basically taking a hands-off libertarian approach, presuming that the market will sort itself out if the proper filtering tools are provided.  Applied to the market as a whole, I find this viewpoint irresponsible--regulation and quality standards are necessary to prevent predatory practices and exploitation--but for a video game store it could be appropriate.  We have curated alternatives, so there's no reason to cry 'the sky is falling' over an ideological experiment.  Let the market decide whether it wants an uncurated store.

I feel that this stance would have more merit if we didn't already have half a decade of exactly that. And we've seen the outcome: Massive oversaturation that hurts indie games, an entire culture of asset flips, a failed attempt at implementing user curation (Greenlight) that was perhaps due to the environment fostered by Valve's hands-off approach in the first place, outright bigoted games (anyone remember Slave Tetris?).

Especially seeing as there are already huge swathes of the gaming community who are the sort of people who raise hell over a woman on a game cover or who stir shit the moment a gay character appears in a game, I'd say we've seen enough to know that neither the developers nor the consumers have the sense to fully regulate themselves in this regard (Bloodbath Kavkaz was greenlit), both in terms of the quality of the games on the store, and in terms of not promoting bigotry.

There isn't much that the free market can do to decide right now. Many people don't know GOG or itch.io even exist, and even if they did, in terms of game availability, local pricing, networking (GOG's only recently rolled out a profile system) and other factors, nothing faces up to Steam. The only way to see if the market decides one way or the other is to make Steam implement curation and see how that affects the industry. Not that I believe following the money trail is necessarily the most wise, helpful or ethical choice in this regard.

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45 minutes ago, Funyarinpa said:

I feel that this stance would have more merit if we didn't already have half a decade of exactly that. And we've seen the outcome: Massive oversaturation that hurts indie games, an entire culture of asset flips, a failed attempt at implementing user curation (Greenlight) that was perhaps due to the environment fostered by Valve's hands-off approach in the first place, outright bigoted games (anyone remember Slave Tetris?).

I prefer a hand on approach purely from a practical standpoint - once oversaturation reaches a certain point, searching for games becomes a massive pain. 

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16 hours ago, tahu157 said:

I like how they name drop "anime games" specifically.

Of course they did.  There specifically was a huge clusterfuffle over 'anime games' not even a month before this was announced.  This is as close to them publicly addressing that controversy as we're likely ever to see.

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7 hours ago, Darklord Rooke said:

I prefer a hand on approach purely from a practical standpoint - once oversaturation reaches a certain point, searching for games becomes a massive pain. 

I actually haven't had much of a problem finding games I'm interested in.  The discovery queue is surprisingly effective at identifying games you might be interested in based on your current library.  Although finding games in new genres can be sort of a pain.

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21 minutes ago, sanahtlig said:

I actually haven't had much of a problem finding games I'm interested in.  The discovery queue is surprisingly effective at identifying games you might be interested in based on your current library.  Although finding games in new genres can be sort of a pain.

You and I engage deeply with Steam and online content in general. This is not so for the majority of Steam's users. Furthermore, I think it's more of a problem for developers than consumers.

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Steam basically is shooting themselves on the foot.

 

But hey, at least i can make cheap asset steal games that make fun of some people and get 2 or 3 people buying my stuff...i'm after all, a pathetic human scum. 

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I don't see what the issue with this approach is.

An excessive number of games are released every day (this, of course, includes many which the vast majority of people, anywhere, would not consider buying - troll games, asset flips). Steam has made it a policy to allow every game to stand on its shelves. The closest to 'equal opportunity' they will get, and in my eyes, a good thing. However, this remains an excessive number of titles released daily. I will not insist that curation of these releases is impossible or unfeasible, but I do see it as wasted effort.

Unlike a physical retail store, which has a limited number of shelves, Steam is a digital one. It has (for all practical purposes) infinite shelves, and virtually infinite games to go with them. Browsing habits in each store cannot be compared.
Because Steam is digital, popular things will float up to the bigger shelves at the front, and ignored things will float down into the abyss of the warehouse. But, every single game is tagged, and these tags link games, meaning you can always pull games of a certain genre back up from the abyss. It is not impossible to browse Steam, and I daresay it does provide some fairly good recommendations.

Even if I do get an asset flip or AIDS game put in front of me during my search, I can simply ignore and move on instead of making a video about it, sharing it* or whatever. There's so much stuff on Steam I probably won't see them again. I find that Steam does provide a decent browsing experience, so long as I keep in mind that I cannot see everything, and that Steam accepts everything (or it tries to, at least).

And this seems to be the crux of the matter. People like to shout a lot about asset flips and troll games, but the issue they actually have is with a storefront that accepts all. Because 'all' includes bad games. I mean, maybe the storefront would be marginally better without hundreds of non-games being submitted all the time, but curation of said games will end up as a number of work hours wasted, when it could instead sink to the bottom of the store by itself when people ignore the game or refund it.

Good games will drown because there are too many games. Of course they will. They'd also be dead in the water if Steam didn't exist or if they had to sell the game on their own. They can try other, more curated platforms. Still unpopular? That happens. The storefront will generally not bring success by itself, though it can. So you want Steam to accept only the 'good' games. Time to formalise 'good' then.

A possible issue is that so many games (and non-games) are only made because Steam accepts them all. I can see there being some element of this. This is one criticism of the approach I don't mind.

*Which might cause said game to gain popularity, have people visit its page, and have it re-enter the recommendation algorithms. Good job!

 

I would, however, like to hear other opinions on this. Steam allowing everything has always seemed like an undeniably good thing to me that I am incredibly surprised to see so much hate for the policy. I imagine my viewpoint may be limited or skewered as a result, and would love to discuss this topic a bit.

 

On the topic of VNs on Steam, I am not sure they have the systems to properly host what is effectively pornography on their storefront. For now. I imagine things will probably stay as all ages versions until they decide to try and create a system for more pornographic titles, which they might not ever do.

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51 minutes ago, Mr Poltroon said:

I would, however, like to hear other opinions on this. Steam allowing everything has always seemed like an undeniably good thing to me that I am incredibly surprised to see so much hate for the policy. I imagine my viewpoint may be limited or skewered as a result, and would love to discuss this topic a bit.

I guess I, quite impossibly, agree with both you and @Funyarinpa to a certain degree. From an absolutely selfish perspective, I'm very happy about this policy because I don't see any other situation in which VNs are allowed to thrive on Steam. Beyond just the fact of having porn, Japanese eroge have tons on questionable content. If Valve wanted to make some reasonable curation policy against offensive/morally dubious games, VNs would be under fire literally all of the time and many publishers would just leave the platform. For our little niche, anarchy is the most desirable state of affairs IMO.

On the other hand, I agree that giving space for racist, scummy, offensive games can backfire both against games in general and Steam in particular. Plus if Valve wants to actually give us good tools for filtering content, they will have to make major modifications to how their platform works, including forcing publishers to properly describe and categorize their own games and disclose any kind of questionable content. I would more likely expect them to do something half-assed, for example filtering based on user tags. There's a good chance that the means Valve is willing to take won't change much, while all kind or scum will be encouraged to create borderline-troll games and given a platform. Long-term consequences of this might be further normalization of all kind of fringe bigotry that would normally be contained to certain 4chan boards or other cesspools of the internet.

In the end, do I trust Valve to decide what is "right" and "wrong" without fucking over the things I personally like and perceive as completely harmless? Can an incest porn VN such as Love Ribbon thrive in a world where Steam is properly curated? Probably no. Maybe I'm just that cynical, but if I have to chose between easy access to my favorite entertainment niche and good of the society as whole, I will chose my 2D waifus. *shrug*

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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2 hours ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

On the other hand, I agree that giving space for racist, scummy, offensive games can backfire both against games in general and Steam in particular. Plus if Valve wants to actually give us good tools for filtering content, they will have to make major modifications to how their platform works, including forcing publishers to properly describe and categorize their own games and disclose any kind of questionable content. I would more likely expect them to do something half-assed, for example filtering based on user tags.

And this right here is the problem. If they gave us good tools, they'd have to be functional, non-exploitable etc. The community can go about tagging questionable games "Questionable" or something like that. But that'd be exploitable like the report system already is. And they're definitely noit going to make an effort to demand more from publishers, who are the weak link here and should be held responsible for the content being distributed.

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2 hours ago, Palas said:

And this right here is the problem. If they gave us good tools, they'd have to be functional, non-exploitable etc. The community can go about tagging questionable games "Questionable" or something like that. But that'd be exploitable like the report system already is. And they're definitely noit going to make an effort to demand more from publishers, who are the weak link here and should be held responsible for the content being distributed.

Let me take this idea one step further: Anything besides one-sided curation by Steam itself is going to fail miserably, no matter the tools.

Why? 

Because this sexist/racist/homophobic/"hurrrr SJWs" games trend originates from within the gaming community itself.

It's ingrained into the damn culture. People who publish moral turds (again, Slave Tetris) aren't outspoken outcasts. What they do is condoned, supported and disseminated in countless gaming circles. 

The principle of free speech was established to protect people who were under threat from those in power for their opinions. Now it's being used to legitimize acts of silencing the very people free speech was intended to protect. I believe the "censorship" argument is invalid for this very reason.

Edited by Funyarinpa

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6 hours ago, Mr Poltroon said:

So you want Steam to accept only the 'good' games. Time to formalise 'good' then.

You bring up some legit points when it comes to asset flips and the like- though I personally believe not helping people profit off of them is better.

But, regarding this, regarding formalizing "good"- in my opinion, "good" here is basically "not being designed to promote bigoted ideology". Asset flips aren't anywhere as actively harmful as the entire "it's good and it's fun to be racist and sexist to people as long as you do it through jokes" mentality that not just prevails in games but in general. That's my main beef.

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On 6/8/2018 at 4:35 PM, Funyarinpa said:

Asset flips aren't anywhere as actively harmful as the entire "it's good and it's fun to be racist and sexist to people as long as you do it through jokes" mentality that not just prevails in games but in general. That's my main beef.

And again, the problem here is that any rigorous policy that tries to enforce moral principles and political correctness in fiction will end up excluding a large swath of content I happen to enjoy.  Cheesecake?  Offensive and demeaning to women.  Lolis?  Get that pedobait off here.  Inappropriate religious symbolism?  You're disrespecting someone's faith.

We have this culture of outrage and it's really tiresome.  I feel like the correct response to blatant trolling is to just ignore it.  It's attention-seeking behavior.  If you give them attention, they win.  Attempts to root them out will result in collateral damage that justifies their cause and rallies support for them.

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