Games Banned By Steam | CryMor
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Games Banned By Steam | CryMor

November 16, 2019


Valve has removed a controversial title from
Steam. Active Shooter encouraged players to kill
as many civilians and police as possible in a school, before being taken down themselves. Getting banned from Steam is pretty rare,
and when it happens there’s always a discussion about the marketplace itself, quality control
methods, and the freedom of a developer to express themselves even in a manner that is
openly repugnant. I will take this quick moment to say that
while this video itself is not about violence or sex, there will be some games on the screen
that are well known for being controversial. We’re going to talk about getting banned
from Steam, but in a surprise to nobody–sometimes those games that are banned might be morally
offensive to some. Probably the most famous game to be removed
from Steam is The Slaughtering Grounds. A game that was developed by Digital Homicide,
a two person developer that took advantage of many of the loopholes in Steam to make
a profit off the lowest quality games possible. The entire DigiHom library was removed from
Steam, but Slaughtering Grounds is well known thanks primarily to a scathing review of the
game from Jimquisition’s Jim Sterling. DigiHom used every single trick in the book
to turn a profit. They would bribe users with free steam keys
for voting the games up on Greenlight. They would use fake accounts to review their
own games. They would give away game keys to anyone who
promised to give them a positive review, including unreleased games. They used bots to increase votes, and bought
copies of their own games. If a title failed to get accepted onto Steam,
they would change the name and release it again. If you went to their own website, all the
links would simply refresh the page so they could deliver additional ads. Of course, these didn’t matter to DigiHom,
since selling a good game was never their plan. See, DigiHom’s business plan was somewhat
unique. They didn’t make good games and encourage
sales of those games, no, they made games with Trading Cards. They would produce a game, the cards would
drop, and players would sell those cards on the steam marketplace. Every single sale of every single card, every
single time, would net DigiHom 5% of the sale price. In fact, most DigiHom titles were well known
for being games that you could buy for essentially nothing, or get for free, and then turn a
profit selling the trading cards. A poorly made, vote manipulated asset flip
that is beyond broken, incredibly un-fun, and essentially a marketplace scam sounds
like enough reasons to be removed from Steam, but it might surprise you that the reason
they were removed was none of those. Valve only removed DigiHom after being sued. This lawsuit was an extension of a defamation
case filed by Digital Homicide Studios in an attempt to silence James Stanton, the real-life
name of Jim Sterling. That scathing review was so poorly received
by DigiHom that they sued him. As this insane lawsuit barreled on, they eventually
extended out to sue Steam users who had left negative reviews on their steam page. They actually went to court and received a
judge’s orders forcing Valve to give DigiHom the real names and addresses behind the usernames
of those negative reviews. In a surprise to probably nobody but DigiHom,
Valve’s response was to terminate their relationship with DigiHom, removing all their
games, and making their steam trading cards unmarketable–literally, I have several cards
from their games in my inventory that I can never sell. Greenlight is a common thread behind a lot
of the worst games to come out on Steam, since it was so easily manipulated. Earth: Year 2066 was another well known example,
though for a slightly different reason. Originally marketed as a spiritual successor
to Half-Life and Fallout, after getting through Greenlight the gamers who purchased Year 2066
were more than a bit surprised to discover that it was actually a completely unfinished
game consisting of a single small map with some robot enemies and that’s it. No story, no missions, no plot, just wander
aimlessly. The developers were quickly inundated with
negative reviews and angry comments in the forums, which they responded to by simply
deleting them all. The devs worked overtime to remove every negative
comment from their storefront, especially once it was revealed that the few assets even
in the game were used without permission or credit. In the end, Valve completely removed Earth:
Year 2066 and gave refunds to purchasers, though they did this not because the game
itself was poor quality, but due to ‘dishonest marketing.’ Dishonesty seems to be one of the few things
Valve truly cares about with regards to quality control, which might be further highlighted
by The War Z. You might know this game today as Infestation:
Survivor Stories, and was developed by Sergey Titov, who you might know as a developer of
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. WarZ was a blatant rip-off of the popular
DayZ mod, coincidentally perfectly timed to come out before the Day Z standalone game,
and also around the release time of World War Z. It was infested with microtransactions, purposefully
underpowered free weapons to encourage microtransaction purchases, and so many bugs, glitches, bad
AI, terrible framerate, and of course a respawn system similar to Candy Crush wherein once
you died you could wait for several hours or pay to play again. These sort of Gamer Unfriendly practices aren’t
what ended up getting them removed from Steam, though. Neither was it the failure to remove hackers
or close up well known griefing bugs. Nor was it the purposefully confusing similarity
to Day Z that ended War Z’s run. Instead, it was the claims in the Steam release’s
description that War Z included multiple large worlds when it included only one small one,
the claim that it included a level up system based on skill points, the claims that it
had PvE Combat, private servers, hundred player servers, when in fact it had none of these. And so Valve removed WarZ from the marketplace,
prompting the developers to reintroduce the game as Survival Stories. This too has been removed from Steam, but
not before selling a total of three million copies. If you’re seeing a common thread amongst
these games, it might be that most of them are barely games at all. In fact, thanks to one developer, Valve calls
these asset-flips “Fake Games.” That developer being Silicon Echo Studios,
who earned the dubious honor of having 173 games removed from Steam all at once. These guys went the tried and true method
of pushing out as many games as possible, as fast as possible, and as cheaply as possible
in order to benefit from Trading Cards. In fact, for a period of time Silicon Echo
represented 10% of all new game releases on Steam. This is part of what has lead Valve to institute
a hidden confidence threshold games have to pass in order to receive Trading Cards anymore,
as well as removing the feature entirely from most free-to-play titles. It’s also why developers can’t generate
thousands of free game keys anymore. Sometimes developers don’t openly lie to
their customers, though that’s definitely a favorite route, but perhaps they might try
to gently massage the system. Insel Games is one such developer, who when
their latest release Wild Buster wasn’t seeing the kind of success they expected directed
their staff to buy the game, play the game, and leave a positive review. According to the CEO, this was the only way
to not have to lay off the entire staff since this was their hail mary game. Once the CEO’s email was published, Valve
removed the developer’s entire library of games from Steam. Or, consider Matan Cohen’s Art of Stealth,
removed after Cohen started using multiple steam accounts to post positive reviews in
an effort to stem bad press resulting from yet another Jimquisition review. This suggests that games which deal fairly
with their audience will be fine, though that’s not entirely true either. Several games have been removed, and then
reinstated, or have been threatened with removal due to nudity. House Party was unceremoniously removed by
Valve due to ‘complaints regarding pornographic content,’ though it was later reinstated,
and just this past month several developers such as HuniePop came out and said that Steam
had sent them a threatening letter that they must censor their titles or face delisting. Most of the developers targeted by this were
either completely within Steam’s content guidelines or had been personally reviewed
by Valve staff and given approval, and even though many of those games had nudity available
through client-side patches available on the developer’s websites, it seems a bit concerning
that Valve would change their policy without announcing it. This lack of policy clarity has seen games
such as Hatred, a mass shooting simulator, removed from Steam Greenlight, only to later
be re-added and sold on Steam, making it very unclear what will actually get you removed
from the platform–at least content-wise. Sure, being dishonest, faking reviews, or
abusing the marketplace is a sure-fire way to disappear from the storefront, but violence
and nudity are exceptionally hit or miss. You might think Active Shooter was removed
because it was a morally repugnant title. Killing students and teacher, massacring cops,
and doing this in a school during an epidemic of school shootings across the world is not
the reason Active Shooter was delisted and the developer banned from Steam. No, the reason is that Revived Games, the
developer of Active Shooter, was a man named Ata Bertiyev. Bertiyev had previously released a game called
Piccled Ricc, which included outright theft of the character design from Rick & Morty,
and was the recipient of a DMCA Takedown from Cartoon Network. This takedown led to Bertiyev’s steam developer
account being banned by Steam. Valve therefore removed Active Shooter because
of Bertiyev’s history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user
review manipulation. Dishonesty, not content. How do you feel about banning games for content? Should Steam be an open marketplace for bad
content and good alike, or should it be curated heavily? We obviously have our own Steam Curator, which
is the approach Steam has been pushing for some time as the stopgap to bad games, and
I don’t know that I want Valve determining what is and what is not appropriate. We reviewed House Party, and while it’s
not a great game, I don’t think it deserves to be banned. If you’re interested, we reviewed every
single Digital Homicide game in one minute or less, and the link is in the corner right
now. I can assure you these are not good games,
and if it were content only I would say they shouldn’t have been banned either. If you liked this video, please leave a like
and consider sharing it. We are small creators, and your assistance
in spreading out videos is the only way people can see them. If didn’t like this video, then don’t
do either of those, but if you did you can watch another one in the corner right now
and as always we’ll see you on the next one.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I can't believe someone made a game where you do school shootings…. The videogame industry already has accusations of making people violent, we don't need dumbasses making it worse. Its a shitty game and a shitty thing to do, but ultimately they have the right to make it, but that doesn't mean steam has to host their trash.

    Awesome video, love the storytime stuff like this!

  2. This video reminds me why I hate certain people but absolutely cannot hate their craft. Like, if people want to make a game with absolute minimum effort/money put into it and then make a much larger profit, they should be able to. I'm going to hate the developer for it, but can't hate the fact they found a way to do it.

  3. I'm not the type to ban something content, even I find some of it repugnant. I believe in freedom of expression so I won't draw an imaginary line where my own sensibilities determine if content is appropriate or not. However, I wholeheartedly agree with Valve in banning developers who manipulate the system, lie, and steal. I think they're getting it right for the most part, even though greenlight was poorly done.

  4. I just want a bare minimum of quality control with Valve. Ultimately, I don't think they should police content based on controversial design alone.

  5. I couldn’t imagine how many games were removed from Steam due to sketchy marketing practices, until I watched this video. Some of those devs wanted to take the easy route towards making much more money off of their sales, but that backfired later on. Karma hurts, doesn’t it lol.

  6. One of the reasons I always preferred console gaming (among a few different reasons) was that Steam truly can be a wild west – the only way to get taken out is to piss off the Sheriff. At least to publish on a console required some higher level of quality or ethics or anything of the sort by the developer or publisher (it always varied!). Of course, now Life of Black Tiger and such populate the PlayStation Store…At least Microsoft hides their garbage behind the indie store that's hidden within the real store, and Nintendo's quality guidelines are better now than they were on the Wii U Meme Run days. Out of everything, this is the biggest reason I draw issue with Valve. I don't like supporting a company that's shown time and again that it's only in it to cover their own ass.

    TL;DR: Nothing is sacred anymore and it makes me sad. At least I can be relatively confident, though, that I won't see something like that most recent game on the console storefronts…for now…

  7. how long will i be band for iv learnt my lesson. I accept my punishment but no 1 goes to prison for ever even people that are serving life can get out in 25 years for good behaviour.

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