Steam previously allowed users to filter out games featuring “frequent violence/gore or “nudity/sexual content,” but now users have the option to filter out mature content— a change which apparently was needed due to developers informing Valve that their games contain “mature content, but not sex or violence.” The adults only filter is used to avoid games with “explicit sexual content.”
Developers whose games include violent or sexual content are now required to describe the questionable content, which Valve will then provide to users so that they can decide whether the title’s content is “something you’re comfortable with.”
“We think the context of how content is presented is important and giving a developer a place to describe and explain what’s in their game gives you even more information when browsing and considering a purchase,” Valve explained.
Valve also now allows users to filter out games with up to 10 tags, an increase from the previously allowed three tags. Previously, this feature simply recommended less of the titles featuring these tags, but Steam now reads them as a “harder filter,” and Valve notes that Steam “now assumes you want to ignore all the games that feature any of those tags in their most popular tags, instead of just using them as suggestions to our recommendation engine.”
As an upgrade to filtering out types of games, such as Early Access titles, Valve has also added in a function which lets users ignore certain developers, publishers, and even curators. On the other side of the coin, though, users can now follow new releases from developers and publishers they enjoy via recently added Developer & Publisher homepages.
The changes are in a continued effort since the revamp of the Upcoming tab feature (now the Popular Upcoming tab) in July, to help Steam users find more games they enjoy and avoid what they don’t enjoy.
“With these sets of changes, we hope you have a better sense of how we’re approaching building a store that works for all developers and players,” Valve stated. “There’s still plenty of work to do. In our previous post we identified a range of things, from parental controls to tools for developers to manage their communities. In addition, some of the changes described in this post will require more options when we see new kinds of content in game submissions.”
Valve is making the changes primarily as a result of its eyebrow-raising policy introduced this summer, in which all content that is not illegal or “straight up trolling” is allowed onto the Steam platform for distribution. The policy, which took effect in June, was put into place after the controversy surrounding a school shooting simulator that was pulled from the Steam store.
“Going forward,” Valve further stated on Wednesday’s update notes. “We aim to continue this strategy of shipping features as they’re finished, and posting periodic updates as to the nuts and bolts and the thinking behind their development.”