Game awards

Valve Bans Game Rewards and Visuals Review Notes from Steam Listing

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An upcoming Steam update will prohibit developers from adding major awards and review ratings to major visual assets in their games.

According to Valve, developers have gradually prioritized their titles’ various accolades in Steam banner images (officially called capsule images). This has resulted in cluttered visual assets that confuse potential customers when buying their next favorite game. Rather than allowing the eye to take in a game’s name and overall design, these stuffed capsule images often contain multiple review notes, awesome review quotes, and rewards information.

While some veteran Steam users may have learned over time to turn them off, others tend to find the reward and review information cluttered. This goes doubly for listings in which the awards and reviews information obscures the game’s story, theme, or purpose. (Reminds me of flipping through a paperback book to read the blurb on the cover, only to find a bunch of reviews of The New York Times In place. For example, what is this book about?)

In a blog post covering the update, Valve argued that some developers were even adding inaccurate or very outdated scores to their games’ visuals. When it’s the first thing a potential customer sees, it makes sense that the company would want to try their capsule image guidelines again.

Valve employee Claire Hummel created fake game graphics to be found as Easter eggs during the Steam Summer Sale, and these are apparently the images Valve chose to illustrate its new rules.

Valve’s new rules will roll out on September 1, 2022 and will cover a number of capsule image limits. “Base Graphics Asset Capsule content on Steam is limited to in-game artwork, the game name, and any official subtitles,” says Valve. Developers will no longer be able to add review ratings (including those collected from Steam), award information, or discounted marketing copies to capsule images of their titles. They also won’t be able to advertise entirely separate products in a game’s capsule images. Valve even included a “No Other Miscellaneous Text” rule, which may prevent developers from finding a roundabout way to include the aforementioned information.

Valve is willing to make an exception to the last rule for specific, time-limited cases. Developers will be required to submit a temporary “Capsule Artwork Override” if they want to quickly notify customers of a recent game update or seasonal event, and even then restrictions will apply. Most notably, developers will need to localize the language of the image (or set of languages) to match the language(s) used in-game. English, even when the game is played in another language.)

Games that do not comply with the new rules after September 1 “may have visibility limitations in the Steam store,” says Valve. Uncooperative developers may also have their games removed from official Steam sales and events.

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