Steam Bans Misleading Video Game Screenshots on Store Pages

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Steam is cracking down on video game screenshots, Kotaku reports. There are stronger rules being implemented regarding mature content. But there's also going to be stricter rules to ensure truth in advertising.

The latest announcement from the gaming website says that from now on developers will have to flag screenshots that contain mature content. Steam is also going to require developers only put screenshots from the game itself at the top of the page. Concept art and pre-rendered images are not allowed.

A representative of Valve, the company behind Steam, has this to say: "We haven't been super crisp on guidelines for screenshots in the past, so we'd like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space. When the ‘screenshot' section of a store page is used for images other than screenshots that depict the game, it can make it harder for customers to understand what the product is that they are looking at. Additionally, we're going to start showing game screenshots in more places as described above, and these images need to be able to represent the game."

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The representative gave specific rules for what is actually allowed. "We ask that any images you upload to the ‘screenshot' section of your store page should be screenshots that show your game. This means avoiding using concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, or images that contain awards, marketing copy, or written product descriptions. Please show customers what your game is actually like to play."

Valve itself has used concept art as "screenshots" for games like DOTA 2 in the past. They readily admit to this and say they are now correcting this. The stricter rules are likely a response to the controversy over the misleading advertisting for No Man's Sky.

The update will be implemented within a couple weeks. Hopefully it will actually be enforced. It would be nice for there to be more transparency in video game advertising. What do you think of the rule change?