On Oct 14th, 2021 Valve quietly enacted a blanket ban on all games that make use of blockchain technology from their Steam platform, including the use of cryptocurrencies and NFTs. News broke when @SpacePirate_io, the lead developer behind the blockchain-based game Age of Rust tweeted that their game had been removed from the Steam platform because of a new rule introduced by Valve seemingly moments before @SpacePirate_io was informed. Blockchain gaming is a new and exciting category, why ban them before they have even had a chance to prove themselves? For decades, gamers around the world have stuck with Valve and Steam for Valves willingness to try new ideas, and their user-centric attitude. Unfortunately, this recent ban on all blockchain related content is a huge step in the opposite direction for Valve historically.
Valve has not given a clear reason for the ban other than that they are prohibiting items with “real world value”. However, they have been selling items with real world value since at least 2010. The difference between Valve’s items and NFTs is that the creator of an NFT is able to sell their item in any marketplace they choose, and decide who gets a cut, but with Valves digital items Valve is the one who sets the terms and decides what cut THEY get of each sale, and those items are locked to the Steam platform forever. One has to assume that they don’t want to lose control of their digital item marketplace to the more user-centric platform of NFTs.
@SpacePirate_io had this to say on the matter: “Decentralization with crypto is often misunderstood, it’s often seen as a threat to the status quo. In the case of players owning gaming assets, closed platforms see it as a competitor, so I understand why Steam views it as negative. The narrative from those walled gardens is consistent, either not in line with their core model or simply they label NFTs, tokens, and cryptocurrency as a larger risk. The future of gaming is decentralized player owned assets, whether that’s an NFT or another asset class, change is happening.”
Sign the petition to tell Steam: Blockchain games and NFTs can be fun and exciting. Steam is such a beloved platform because it gives people access to so many different kinds of games. Don’t unfairly punish blockchain game developers or ban an entire category of exciting new games. Permit the sale of NFTs and more broadly the use of blockchain tech on the Steam platform. Don’t ban Blockchain based games on Steam!