Valve has announced it’s going to crack down on the use of misleading screenshots, often dubbed "bullshots", on its Steam digital storefront.
Steam allows developers and publishers selling on the platform to upload images to market their titles to those browsing the storefront. This isn’t now, and in fact I feel a little silly explaining the process, but several developers have been taking advantage of this to post concept art or promotional renders to get people to purchase their games.
Accusations of such activity have been levelled at several developers, but most recently Hello Games has found itself under the microscope for the alleged mis-selling of indie explore-em-up No Man’s Sky. This has resulted in the studio facing down an Advertising Standard Authority investigation into claims that screenshots and video footage on the game’s Steam page doesn’t match up with the released game.
Valve have now stamped out this practice, insisting that when Valve’s Steam Discovery 2.0 update goes live, screenshots for Steam pages will need to be real screenshots from the publicly available version of their game.
"We haven’t been super crisp on guidelines for screenshots in the past, so we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space," Valve’s Alden Kroll clarified in a message to Steamworks developers. "When the "screenshot" section of a store page is used for images other than screenshots that depict the game, it can make it harder for customers to understand what the product is that they are looking at."