Anything Goes on Steam (And Why That’s Awesome)
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Censorship is a firestorm of a subject, especially when it comes to games. Do we allow everything and suffer the consequences? Do we ban everything that could be even remotely considered controversial? The answers to these questions are difficult, and there's really no one size fits all option. No ruling, in regards to content, will please everyone. Companies end up having to make decisions that are almost as controversial as the games that spark them. Like Valve's massive Steam policy change in June 2018.

Steam has gone many changes over time. Some have been good and some bad, but almost all of them have resulted in adoration or seething hatred from the platform's users. In the case of deciding whether or not to allow controversial content, the response was clearer than ever. Valve decided that it was going to adopt an “anything goes,” policy regarding content. Rather than spending their time deciding what topics were okay and which weren't, the company would pass that decision onto its users. More tools will be developed to give players power over what types of games they'll see, and which they won't.

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Some who disagree with Valve's everything goes policy point to the fear of the store being flooded with bonkers content that they would have to sift through to find the gold. This is a valid point. Over the years, Steam has made some changes in order to make it easier for indie developers to publish their games. Unfortunately, this has also opened the doors for all kinds of trash. It's easy for broken and unfinished games to find their way to Steam as the number of games published shoots up. It is hard to be excited in the face of “games” that are not even playable. Indie developers should be able to put their games in the hands of players, but there should be some level of quality control.

Naysayers have also said that Valve should not allow certain subjects on their platform. They don't believe that topics of a controversial nature should be allowed on Steam. We're talking about games that include things like racism, sexuality/gender, politics, and violence. The thing is, these subjects can be handled responsibly and respectfully. Developers just need the chance to prove that. There will of course always be titles that don't depict these things in a manner that is agreeable to some (or even most), but rather than silencing everyone, we should take the bad with the good. Video games are on the cusp of a renaissance, and relaxing our censorship on them is the only way to push them over the edge.

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Doom and gloom aside, some reactions to Valve's policy shift have been glowing. They previously took a hard stance against adult games on their platform, which was a big let-down for many (myself included). I am against game censorship, especially in adult games. There's nothing worse than purchasing a game and realizing the shots you were hoping for when you spent the money are covered or otherwise inhibited by some kind of blurring. In this regard, Steam's change is a fantastic move, as once the filters are created and placed, these major changes could result in nudity appearing in games distributed via Steam. This is fantastic news, and it's unfortunate that it's been ruined by other issues.

I think it is stellar that Steam is finally being less of a square, when it comes to what content is allowed. I would love to see what some developers can do with controversial topics. I know there will be many who handle them poorly, but that's just the way of things. It's also great that the days of seeking out uncensored patches could be over. I can't wait to see previously released games updated with their original content. As far as I'm concerned, the future of Steam looks bright, but I know mine is just one voice in the sea of reactions. Let me know how you feel about the anything goes nature of Steam in the comments below!

April Marie
April Marie
@Legiodith

Contributing Writer
Date: 06/15/2018

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