Valve has been working hard to address "controversial" content on its platform for some time now. In June, the company admirably decided it should not be policing what content is or isn't allowed on Steam, regardless of whether or not it is "Adult-oriented" or viewed as problematic by some gamers.
Instead, Valve opted to let everything on its platform, provided it isn't illegal or "troll" content.
Naturally, these decisions didn't come lightly; Valve understands that by taking this stance, they'll need to provide players with better content management tools to filter out titles they find offensive or otherwise uninteresting.
That's precisely what the company has done in the months since June. Valve today published a "Progress Update" blog post which goes over some of the relevant changes the company has made to its platform so far.
For starters, Valve has added powerful new content filters and game discovery tools, primarily designed to let players decide what content they do and don't want to see on Steam.
On the game discovery tool front, there's two new features of note: the "Developer & Publisher homepages," which give players an easy way to see content from specific companies, as well as an overhauled Upcoming Games list, which focuses more heavily on showing you new games that fit your preferences.
As far as filtering content goes, Valve has made quite a few changes. Before, it was only possible to ignore specific games or product types, such as Early Access or Free-To-Play.
Now, you can hide recommendations from specific curators as well as games from companies and individual developers. Additionally, Valve has increased the number of filtered game tags from three to 10, making these filters more strict in the process - now, they hide all games that fit a given category.
Perhaps most importantly, Valve is adding two new filter types: "Mature Content" and "Adults Only." The former can be used to block games that contain mature content (but not sex or violence), whereas the latter is geared towards games that do feature explicit violence or nudity.
Moving forward, Valve will require developers who make games that fit either of these categories to explain the content of their titles.
For example, if you block Adult games and attempt to visit the store page for Left 4 Dead 2, a window will pop up saying the game contains "intense violence, blood and gore (including decapitation of zombie-like creatures) and some strong language." It's not clear if these new content description rules will apply retroactively to all developers.
All of these changes seem pretty positive. Players who want to see sexually-explicit games can still do so quite easily without any censorship, while those who aren't interested in said content can simply ignore it.
There will undoubtedly be a lot of kinks for Valve to work out in the coming months, but it's nice to see the company take serious steps to address user feedback.