A little over a month ago, Valve announced a new content curation policy that ranked as one of the more shameless attempts to eat its cake and have it too. The company’s new policy amounts to “We won’t curate for either content or technical quality of the release unless something is illegal or ‘straight up trolling’, in which case we’ll curate.” It’s this last part — and the vagueness of “straight up trolling” — that led us to slam the decision as a dodge rather than any kind of principled stand. Lo’ and behold, a month later, developers are still having problems parsing Valve’s content curation policy and the company has suspended the sale of adult games while it tries to work the mess out.
According to Love in Space, the developer of Shining Song Starnova, SSS still is having trouble meeting Valve’s content guidelines. Valve has identified the game as needing to wait for new user controls to roll out before it can go on sale again. Shining Song Starnova, for the curious, is billed as an “Idol Anime Themed Visual Novel – A shining and gripping visual novel all about the idol industry – from the creators of the Sunrider series.”
Delays like this are further evidence that Valve’s broad new content policy that it snap-deployed last month weren’t really the product of a long, well-thought-out process. It’s not like adult games are waiting to go live on Steam for the very first time — they’ve been sold on the platform for years, albeit under a confusing set of content guidelines that sometimes led to previously approved titles being yanked without warning. Valve seems to believe it can avoid all of the problems around curation if it simply provides good filters and content curation methods for end users to employ.
Historically, that hasn’t proven true — robust curation is typically required to prevent storefronts from turning into oceans of crap, which is one reason why people tend to use and trust the Apple Store, while the Windows Store/Microsoft Store (Microsoft changed the name — did you notice?) historically tended to fill with garbage. We remain dubious that Valve’s “Everything goes unless we say it doesn’t, but this somehow doesn’t represent curation” stance will actually be good for anything or anyone on Steam in the long term.
For now, games like Shining Song Starnova remain in limbo, only for a slightly different reason than before.
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