The announcement came after Steam ditched a video game uploaded to its system that put gamers in an active school shooter scenario late last month.
Game publisher Valve, which owns Steam, said the company would struggle too much to monitor every game that comes through its system.
It’s impossible to look at “every controversial title submitted to us,” Erik Johnson wrote in the company’s blog post.
“The harsh reality of this space, that lies at the root of our dilemma, is that there is absolutely no way we can navigate it without making some of our players really mad,” Johnson wrote.
Valve decided to now allow everything — including games with violence, pornography and mature themes — and give people the option to avoid games they don’t want to see.
They also plan to improve their methods to avoid publishing any controversial games.
“We’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling,” said Johnson. “Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see.”
But, as Kotaku reported, there may be laws that hinder the company from allowing everything on the website. The company will handle some games on a case-by-case basis.
The company said it will force companies to disclose of any offensive content during the submission process.
Johnson said it will still remove games if the market doesn’t agree with the product.
“If you’re a developer of offensive games, this isn’t us siding with you against all the people you’re offending,” said Johnson. “There will be people throughout the Steam community who hate your games, and hope you fail to find an audience, and there will be people here at Valve who feel exactly the same way. However, offending someone shouldn’t take away your game’s voice. We believe you should be able to express yourself like everyone else, and to find others who want to play your game. But that’s it.”
Rachel Weber, news editor for GamesRadar, told BBC she doesn’t agree with Valve’s decision, saying it’s taking the easy way out.
“It’s important to remember that Valve takes a significant cut of everything sold through Steam, so it’s putting itself in a position where it could directly profit from racist and sexist content,” she told BBC. “Professionally, I dread to think about the games that will appear on the new releases list in an attempt to test just what Valve means by trolling, and personally I’m disappointed that such a massive company isn’t willing to engage with important and complex issues.”
Last month, Steam canceled production of a video game called “Active Shooter,” which put players in the middle of an active school shooting. Gamers could either take on the role of a SWAT team member or the active shooter themselves, according to the Deseret News.
Parents of the Parkland shooting spoke out against the game, according to The Miami Herald.
“The last thing we need is a simulated training on school shootings,” Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow died in the shooting, told the Herald. “Video game designers should think of the influence they hold. This really crosses the line.”