Games and other applications involving the casting or trading of cryptocurrencies or irreplaceable tokens are no longer allowed on steam.
At some point in the past few months, steam valve software, based in Bellevue, Washington, quietly updated its content rules and studio partner guidelines. They now explicitly prohibit “projects based on blockchain technology that issue or allow cryptocurrency or NFT exchange”
According to the terms listed, games can still be released on steam based on blockchain technology as long as encryption / NFT transactions are not involved. Other game related applications of the blockchain, such as unique in-game objects locked to specific players, will not be prohibited by valve’s new rules in theory. At the time of writing, some blockchain based games that do not involve encryption or NFT transactions (such as Project Genesis of 8 circuit Studios) are still available on steam.
Geekwire has contacted steam for comments and will update this article when the company responds.
Valve companies seem to be trying to secretly follow their new guidelines under the general attention of the industry. It has not announced this change in any public way, and as verge points out, some of its induction documents for new publishing partners still do not mention this.
Instead, the news passed spacepilot games, the developer of an independent game age of rust, which was planned to be released on steam later this year. The rust age is described on its official website as “detailed puzzles, new storylines, new destinations, and treasure hunting for blockchain assets and currencies in the game”. One of the hard to find treasures in the game is worth 20 bitcoins (US $1.22 million as of October 16), which can be found by anyone.
On Thursday, the official age of rust twitter announced that the twitter had been launched with little warning. “Steam’s view is that projects have value,” wrote the developers of the rust age. “They don’t allow projects with real value on their platform.”
Steam previously deleted light nite on September 30, which is a “play to earn” multiplayer third person shooting game, which rewards victory in the game with a small amount of bitcoin. Satoshis games, its developer, reported at the time that a few weeks before the announcement, “steam has told us that they will not provide encryption or NFT games.”
At the time of writing, there are still some other games focusing on encryption / NFT, such as the notorious South Korean MMORPG mir4, but no one knows how long it will last.
In mir4, players who reach level 40 can convert the resources in the game into a unique cryptocurrency called “Draco”. This resource, black steel, must be collected from rock deposits, which means that mir4 is actually a “cryptocurrency miner”. Conversely, it may explain why it has about 47000 players, although critics and users have bad comments on it.
Without steam’s official statement on this issue, it is difficult to guess what drives its new anti encryption / NFT rules. The reason given by the spacepilot game for “items with real world value” is seemingly strange, because steam itself is a market where players can exchange real money for in-game goods. Last year, an anonymous Chinese collector set a record in valve’s first person shooting back: Global offensive, throwing $100000 on a cosmetic.
However, fraud and controversy also exist in the steam market. Several parties have filed lawsuits against valve, including Quinault nation in Washington, which accused valve of using stolen goods boxes as a form of illegal gambling in anti strike in 2019.
Another problem occurred in 2018, when an independent game called abstractism tried to release on steam, but no one noticed that it was a well disguised cryptocurrency miner. Later that year, steam deleted 170 other “Troll Games”, many of which were reported to be scams aimed at stealing digital items from steam users’ inventory.
With this in mind, this may just be because valve is cautious about entering more hot water, especially considering the current state of the NFT. Steam has been full of controversy at any time because it is the largest computer game digital store.
However, being a potential crypto / NFT game developer is not entirely out of luck. Epic Games told verge on October 15 that its digital store, Epic Games store, is still open to publishing games that support NFT or cryptocurrency, despite significant restrictions and regulations. Tim Sweeney, chief executive, said the epic itself “did not touch the NFT.”