Valve is significantly altering the way game creators may promote their titles on Steam. Graphical assets used by developers for their store listings will only be permitted to contain the game’s official subtitle, its name, and its artwork as of September 1. Images cannot contain language that advertises discounts, review ratings, award names or logos, or text advertising other products.
The new guidelines may represent a significant change for some creators who may have relied on reviews or accolades to distinguish their work from the countless other games accessible on Steam. Even some well-known game creators may need to adapt; while I was writing this post, I came across Hades and It Takes Two’s award-themed Steam advertising graphics.
In a blog post, Valve explains why they made the adjustments as follows:
“It’s our goal to make it as clear and straightforward as possible for customers to find games to buy and play on Steam. Recently, we’ve noticed more text, award logos, and even review scores being included by game developers in their graphical asset images. This made us realize our guidelines haven’t been as clear as they should be. As a result of not having clearly-defined rules, we’ve seen additions to graphical assets that are creating a confusing and sometimes even inaccurate experience for customers.
For example, some game logos themselves have become so small that it’s hard for players to tell what the name of the game is. In other cases, graphical asset images are so cluttered with award logos and ratings that it is distracting and hard to read. Some capsules include review scores that are no longer accurate. We also see that in most cases this additional text on assets is presented in English language only, isolating much of the Steam audience that doesn’t speak English.”
Additionally, Valve maintains that developers can still incorporate review quotations, ratings, and awards because such elements have specific places on Steam store sites. However, if you’re simply looking around Steam for new games to play, you might not see those.
The title or subtitle of a game may still be included in assets, and in one case study from the blog post, Valve even suggests utilizing language in artwork to advertise a new game update or piece of content. Any text you do include, however, must be translated into the languages your game supports. The whole documentation from Valve is available here.
This is not the first time Valve has issued a directive that will have significant effects on developers. After considerable debate regarding whether games should and shouldn’t be available on Steam, Valve said in 2018 that anything will be permitted on the platform, with the exception of “items that we feel are unlawful or straight up trolling.” Since then, Valve has also outlawed NFTs and blockchain games. However, the firm has tried to enhance its suggestions so that you may notice smaller games you could enjoy them, which might help you discover something new when shopping for your next game.