Developers can only promote Steam version games and their availability via Steam
Published by MarK, on .
Steam updated its policies, prohibiting developers and publishers from discussing their games on other platforms and “content patches” outside of Steam.

GamesIndustry.biz reports the change in the Steam Community FAQ. As noted at the bottom of the page, developers cannot use the Steam Community in their games to inform users about non-Steam versions of their games.

Q: Can I use the Steam community to inform customers of non-Steam versions of my game?

A: In the game you send via Steam and in communications on Steam, you can only promote the Steam version and its availability via Steam, and not at other distribution points. This applies to full versions of your game and content patches that change the existing version.

Although the developers used the Steam news hub to discuss release dates on other platforms (such as consoles), the above policy is likely to apply as it falls within the “Community Hub”. This also includes the discussion forums for each game.

The move is likely to be directed to the Epic Games Store. In September 2019, it was initially reported that Valve announced a "new" policy, apparently banning publishers and developers from advertising a game to Steam, and then having exclusivity on another platform. However, this policy was later revealed to be in effect since at least 2017.

Cases in which developers announced a game for Steam and then removed it for an exclusive release on the Epic Games Store were common when the platform launched in late 2018. This occurred with titles like Shenmue III, Anno 1800 and Metro Exodus (this last even requesting a response from the series creator).

Others rejected the Epic Games Store's exclusive offer, including Bandai Namco Entertainment, Microsoft and independent developer Unfold Games - going as far as saying that removing Darq from Steam for the Epic Games Store exclusivity would ruin its credibility.

The new policy is also a move against "adult patches" for games, or the recognition that there may be an adult-only version of a game on other platforms. Steam gradually moved away from adult content - with a developer on October 28, 2017 confirming that he was no longer allowed to post any uncensored patch information on Steam.

On May 18, 2018, many adult game developers received messages from Steam, stating that they needed to remove adult content from their games or remove them. The day after the explanation, it was a mistake - as all adult games were being revised again.

Valve then declared on June 7, 2018 that it would “allow everything” on Steam, except “trolling” or illegal content. On July 16 of that year, the developers stated that Steam was working on a new adult filter system.

While the first fully uncensored adult game came to Steam in September 2018, others were not so lucky. The visual novel Hello Good-Bye was banned even after fixing the appropriate game for all ages. "HunieDev" also confirmed that HuniePop 2 would be censored on Steam, while suggesting that an uncensored patch would be available.

The Taimanin Asagi series was scheduled to be available on Steam in August 2019, with the first episode being free. A few weeks later, the game was removed from Steam due to accusations that the game's characters were minors. Some believed that this was caused by some characters wearing a school uniform.

The game would return later as Taimanin Asagi 1: Trial, devoid of any sexual content and - as the name implies - acting as an experiment with only the first scenes shown.

Steam recently removed the visual novel Bokuten - Why I Became an Angel, despite being a version for all ages, and reportedly without notice to the publisher. The game came back later, but the reason was only declared as "false and invalid reasons" by the publisher. Despite this, they also stated that a valid problem was discovered after investigation by both parties, which was removed.
MarK
MarK (mark)
I like several different works, but with a tendency for strange and funny stories.
I like arts, games, drawings and interesting things.
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