Valve no longer has to make difficult decisions in regards to which games go live on Steam. In a blog post, Valve’s Erik Johnson wrote that, from now on, Valve would simply let everything go live with the exception of “things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.”
Valve recently endured a significant amount of backlash for removing a large number of visual novels from Steam’s library after Valve’s new guidelines relabeled quite a few games as adult content. The company is probably taking this position in response to that controversy.
The wording Johnson uses implies Valve wants to maintain a certain amount of distance when it comes to the content of Steam’s game catalogue. For example, Johnson writes that “if we allow your game onto the Store, it does not mean we approve or agree with anything you’re trying to say with it.” So if a player accidentally stumbles upon something triggering, they can’t accuse Valve of supporting racist, sexist, or other discriminatory ideologies.
However, Valve can still bite back against developers or businesses that refuse to work within Valve’s guidelines. “Our current thinking is that we’re going to push developers to further disclose any potentially problematic content in their games during the submission process, and cease doing business with any of them that refuse to do so honestly,” Johnson wrote. “We’ll still continue to perform technical evaluations of submissions, rejecting games that don’t pass until their issues have been resolved.”
Johnson did not disclose what would constitute “problematic content,” nor when Valve would start implementing these changes in Steam’s submission process.