Steam is being updated a bit more with content warnings and filters a big part of the focus this time around – don’t want to see a specific sort of game on the storefront? Well, Valve wants to be sure you both don’t see it, and know that you’re not seeing it.
A blog post explained the new features and elements rolling out on Steam, with other factors coming into play like publisher/developer specific pages that can be followed, and removal of ‘bad actors’ operating with some ‘straight up trolling’, to use Valve’s terminology.
These new individual curation tools are the most interesting factor, though. Basically you’ll be able to set 10 filters – up from three – of the sorts of games you don’t want to see. You’ll also be able to implement a filter for mature content – not necessarily sex or violence, but something the developers have pointed out might be unsuitable for younger audiences – as well as an ‘adults only’ filter for games with all the bits in them.
Content descriptions will be required for games marked as mature/adults only, so even with filters in place you’ll be able to see specifically what it is about the game that has it filtered out for you. Additionally, you’ll be made aware of the fact games are being filtered out of search results, and will be able to manually find them should you still be interested – the example on the blog being for the Witcher 3, which does indeed feature mature elements, but isn’t exactly a porn-game.
Valve’s approach to curation and, not to put too fine a point on it, censorship on Steam has been… fluid, shall we say. Pulling down games that were accused of being hidden malware was straightforward enough, while telling devs to pull down their games featuring sexual content – before reversing the decision – was confusing for all involved.
What’s clear is this is an approach that’s developing internally and externally. The ‘anything goes’ approach is still pretty much intact; instead Valve seems to be leaving a lot of curation and evasion to the individuals themselves.
It has been clarified, at least a little bit, what the ‘straight up trolling’ thing means though, with the post stating: "You’re a denizen of the internet so you know that trolls come in all forms. On Steam, some are simply trying to rile people up with something we call "a game shaped object" (ie: a crudely made piece of software that technically and just barely passes our bar as a functioning video game but isn’t what 99.9% of folks would say is "good").
"Some trolls are trying to scam folks out of their Steam inventory items, others are looking for a way to generate a small amount of money off Steam through a series of schemes that revolve around how we let developers use Steam keys. Others are just trying to incite and sow discord. Trolls are figuring out new ways to be loathsome as we write this. But the thing these folks have in common is that they aren’t actually interested in good faith efforts to make and sell games to you or anyone. When a developer’s motives aren’t that, they’re probably a troll."
Well, it’s almost an explanation…