The gaming company Valve recently announced to every game developer using their online store Steam that all their products will soon require only gameplay screenshots on their Steam page. This change will come in a few weeks with their new store update, “Discover Update 2.0” and applies to any products featured in Steam including story-driven games, simulations, and light novels.
This announcement was sent to developers with a notice which was shared on the Facepunch forum by user Sanjuaro. It stated that the company [Valve] hasn’t been “super crisp” on screenshot guidelines in the past and would “like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space.” They went on stating that they will be placing more screenshots throughout the store and that images such as concept art, pre-rendered stills, marketing copies, written product details, and award pages confuse the consumer as to what game they’re viewing. Developers are still allowed to place these subject on their pages so long as they’re in the proper designated areas. Valve has already mentioned making these changes to Dota 2, acknowledging their mistakes and making strides to correct them. However Valve has yet to specify if developers are allowed to use bullshots, which are pre-released screenshots made at an angle with more embellishment than the actual gameplay.
This could mean two things: on one hand this means game developers will have to be more truthful with their products. In putting actual screenshots, consumers can now view proper aspects of the games they’re interested in as opposed to concept images and advertisements that do nothing to inform the consumer. On the other hand consumers mostly judge by appearance. If a game exhibits images that are unappealing to the consumer, it can de-value the game and make for a noticeable drop in sales. Valve has also yet to elaborate if bigger franchises such as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry will be receiving the same treatment. However whichever way it goes, only time will tell if this was a proper decision.