Steam has made a major change to its store, with it now requiring developers to use actual screenshots taken in-game rather than concept art or pre-rendered images.
The change, which has seemingly taken place as a result of the controversy surrounding No Man’s Sky, has been made as part of Steam’s upcoming Discovery Update 2.0. The message released by Steam creators Valve to developers utilizing the platform’s store is as follows:
“Please used screenshots to show your game. We haven’t been super crisp on guidelines for screenshots in the past, so we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space. When the ‘screenshot’ section of a store page is used for images other than screenshots that depict the game, it can make it harder for customers to understand what the product is that they are looking at … We ask that any images you upload to the ‘screenshot’ section of your store page should be screenshots that show your game. This means avoiding using concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, or images that contain awards, marketing copy, or written product descriptions. Please show customers what your game is actually like to play.”
Following the release of No Man’s Sky, many criticized Steam for allowing the game to continue to use misleading trailers on its store page, which ultimately led to an investigation by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). While Valve has remained quiet regarding the issue since the news of the ASA’s investigation went public, this latest update appears to be an indirect acknowledgement that Steam needed to produce stricter guidelines in regards to how developers marketed their games on the platform.
Valve used its own game in order to highlight the kind of images developers shouldn’t be used to advertise their games, showing the concept art that the company had used on Dota 2’s own Steam store page:
The Discover Update 2.0 will also allow users to flag screenshots to indicate that they are suitable for an audience of all ages. According to Valve, the update is set to officially make its way to Steam within the next couple of weeks.