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Valve won’t allow Steam store image rewards and reviews starting in September

Valve is making a big change to how developers can market their games on Steam. Starting September 1, developers of graphics used in their store listings will only be able to include in-game artwork, the name of the game, and any official subtitles. Images may not include review notes, reward names or logos, text marketing discounts, or text promoting a different product.

The new rules could prove to be a drastic change for some developers, as they can rely on reviews or awards on their images in an effort to stand out from the huge number of games available on Steam. Even some well-known game developers will have to make changes — while writing this article, I saw promotional images of underworld and It takes two on Steam that featured rewards.

Here is Valve’s reasoning for the changes, from a blog post:

Our goal is to make it as clear and simple as possible for customers to find games to buy and play on Steam. Recently, we’ve noticed more text, award logos, and even review notes being included by game developers in their graphics asset images. This made us realize that our guidelines were not as clear as they should have been. Due to the lack of clearly defined rules, we have seen additions to graphical assets that create 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, graphics asset images are so cluttered with logos and graphics. reviews that they’re awkward and hard to read. Some capsules include review notes that are no longer accurate. We also find that in most cases this additional asset text is presented only in English, isolating a large portion of the Steam audience who do not speak English.

And Valve maintains that review quotes, scores, and awards have dedicated places on Steam store pages where developers can always include this information. But you might not see them if you’re just browsing Steam in search of something new to play.

These prices should be removed from the It takes two image.
Screenshot by Jay Peters/The Verge

Valve doesn’t ban text on assets entirely; you can always include a game’s title or subtitle, and in an example of the blog post, the company encourages the use of text in artwork to promote a new update or content for your game But any text you include will need to be localized into the languages ​​supported by your game. Full Valve documentation here.

This isn’t the first time Valve has established a mandate with big ramifications for developers. In 2018, after controversy over which games should and shouldn’t be allowed on Steam, Valve said it would allow “everything” on the store except “things we deem illegal or trolling”. Valve has also since banned blockchain games and NFTs. But the company has been working to improve its recommendations to help you see smaller titles you might like, which might help you see something new while you search for your next game.