August 9, 2022

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Steam’s new rules change how games stand out

Steam's new rules change how games stand out

Prize codes, discount ads, and review scores spoil the Steam storefront in Photoshopped form.

picture: valve / kotaku

Yesterday, Valve released an update for developers selling on their storefront. Starting on September 1st of this year, Banner Images are referred to as”capsules” On Steamworks, it will be restricted from including a variety of prizes, current sales, and more. In announcing the policy change, Gordon Freeman’s house stated that previous rules were not defined well enough.

Logo images are the equivalent of cover art on Steam. They’re what you see in store listings and are usually designed to grab your attention as quickly as possible: this often means fantasy art, a prominent main character, and the title in large, stylized letters. But it was also a place where developers would point out current sales, list enthusiastic reviews, show any prizes the game might have won, or simply tell you there’s new DLC or a seasonal update. However, starting September 1, developers will be allowed to flag major updates, but they will be prevented from displaying numbers or other text not directly related to the game.

valve Share news of upcoming changes in an announcement on steamcommunity.com. Titled “New Rules for Graphical Asset Capsules,” the post outlines the company’s desire to “make things as straightforward as possible for customers to find games to buy and play on Steam.” For them, listing high review scores, award names, icons, or logos doesn’t include any discounted marketing copy whatsoever.

The content on Steam’s primary graphic assets capsules is limited to game artwork, game name, and any official translation. For clarity, this means:

  1. No review results of any kind, including Steam reviews or external news sources
  1. There are no names, symbols or logos for the prizes
  2. No discount marketing copy (ie, it doesn’t have the text “On sale now” or “Up to 90% off”)
  3. No text or images promoting a different product. This does not include marketing sequels or other titles in the same franchise.
  4. There is no other miscellaneous text.

Images can be updated to notify customers of updates, such as a major DLC release or a seasonal update popular in live service games. However, there are some limitations to that as well. Said updates can only run for one month, using what Valve calls “artwork overrides.” Additionally, the text – which should only be used to describe new content and nothing else – must be translated into whatever language the game supports.

For those who want to brag about high review scores, Valve points out that developers should follow the rules outlined in “Store Page Accolades’ on Steamworks. These are the trophies you see on the game’s store page, often on the right side of the page.

This rule change will likely help clear some of the scripting clutter that sometimes fills Steam, although it remains to be seen how developers will respond to the new guidelines, and how strict Valve will enforce them when they go live in September.

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