According to new reports, the German broadcasting regulator, Media Agency Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein, has mandated that Valve purge Nazi imagery from its Steam service. More than 30 accounts, and more than 50 instances of offending imagery have been removed from the service so far. Valve has long had a problem with games and accounts on its service promoting such imagery and ideas. In fact, entire groups were often setup using Steam Group features that collected hundreds of such accounts containing these references.
The swastika and other images of the Nazi regime are covered under the Strafgesetzbuch section 86a criminal code in Germany. Exhibiting these sorts of symbols outside the contexts of “art or science, research or teaching” is illegal. Symbols such as the Sig rune, the “Heil Hitler” greeting, the Reichsadler using the Nazi swastika, and the Reichskriegsflagge must only be used in literature, television shows, films, and other works of art where allowed.
“With a few exceptions, Steam removed all content, including the group ‘Reconquista Germania,’ which in its group description demanded the extermination of world Jewry,” said Media Agency Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein in a press release.
Valve has been criticized consistently for lax policies when it came to controlling both the quality of games on its services, as well as the instances of hate speech and other toxicity. As many analysts and commentators have put it, the flood gates have been opened, and Valve is fighting a losing battle trying to close them. The reality of this particular purge is that it undoubtedly missed hundreds of accounts employing far-right rhetoric on Valve’s services. Valve has attempted to clean up its image before, to middling results. Banning a few problematic games didn’t stem the tide of crap on Steam. The simple fact of the matter is, unless Valve is thorough, unforgiving and consistent in purging the far-right from their platform, this will continue to happen. Just like what’s going to happen with YouTube’s “new” stand against toxicity, waffling and vagueries will only serve to hamper efforts to crackdown on bad actors.
The modification of games for German markets is pretty common. Images referencing the Fascist regime were removed or altered in Wolfenstein, Hearts of Iron, and many other releases.
German courts have also mandated similar restrictions to social media companies, requiring these companies to block offensive accounts in the country entirely.
Source: Game Rant