Steam may have announced that they won’t keep removing controversial games from Steam, but it seems the most extreme examples are being removed in limited number.
Valve recently announced an idiotic policy to allow anything on Steam providing it was not deemed illegal or ‘straight up trolling.’ So, if a particular title didn’t come under either of those umbrellas, it would still be allowed onto the platform, even if it was deemed offensive.
But it seems that a few games that clearly violated the spirit of the policy by being blatantly racist and Islamophobic. AIDS Simulator and ISIS Simulator were two crappy games that blatantly pandered to bigots under the guise of subversive “jokes”. Valve didn’t laugh apparently. The games were removed from the service entirely after people started complaining.
And it wasn’t just these two egregious examples of bigoted pandering that got the axe either, Asset Flip Simulator and Triggering Simulator are now no longer available on the platform. Active Shooter has also been filed under ‘trolling’ and therefore blocked.
This all begs the question of course as to why Steam made the decision to abandon any kind of visible gatekeeping of their service. It seems fairly likely that Steam are using behind-the-scenes algorithms to curate content and monitor it for extreme examples that clearly violate common decency. Although the glut of neo-nazi groups on the platform undermine the effectiveness of such tactics.
But the overall takeaway from these new developments is that Valve is probably only going to respond to complaints about offensive and bigoted games, as well as low-quality dreck, once people raise a big enough of a stink.