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Itch.io Founder Weighs in on Valve’s New Steam Policy

Valve’s new laissez-faire attitude toward what content is published on its digital storefront Steam is “ridiculous,” said Itch.io founder Leaf Corcoran on Twitter Wednesday.

Itch.io is an online marketplace where indie game developers can share their titles for free or sell them. Corcoran launched the website in 2013.

“A platform that allows ‘everything, unless it’s illegal or straight up trolling’ is ridiculous,” he wrote. “Please keep your malicious, derogatory, discriminatory, bullying, harassing, demeaning content off @itchio. Our ban buttons are ready.”

“It’s sad that most of the people in that [Kotaku comment thread] are worried about asset flips,” he added. “What about the fact that Valve is effectively authorizing toxic people to exist on their platform? It’s so out of touch.”

Corcoran’s comments were made the same day Valve said it’s no longer policing content on the Steam store. Developers can create and sell any game there as long as it’s not illegal or “straight up trolling.”

“Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see,” Valve’s Erik Johnson wrote.

Valve made its decision following massive criticism over how it was handling content curation on the Steam platform. Last month, it attempted to crack down on anime-style erotic games like “HuniePop” and “Mutiny!!” It threatened to remove the games from Steam if developers didn’t remove certain objectionable content. But, the games creators’ argued they were being unfairly targeted.

“From ‘Huniepop,’ to ‘SonoHanabira,’ to ‘Mutiny!!,’ the message is clear, if your game has sexy anime-inspired art in it, get it gone, while western games which are 100x more pornographic content escape unscathed,” said “Mutiny!!” developer Lupiesoft.

Then, there was the furor over “Active Shooter,” a so-called “dynamic SWAT simulator” where players could shoot civilians in a school environment. Valve removed it from Steam after widespread media coverage and condemnation. The game was created by a man named Ata Berdiyev, who was reportedly kicked off of Steam in the past for alleged abusive behavior, plagiarism, and user review manipulation.

In a 2014 blog post, Corcoran said it would pain him to see his own platform used to distribute intolerance or hate against others.

“The hours invested into itch.io by all those who participate should not boil down into a delivery mechanism for someone’s inappropriate behavior,” he said.

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