Online video game distributor Steam is backtracking on a recent policy change following criticism about some of the games it had been offering to customers. Just days after the service announced that it would no longer maintain a list of banned and unreleased games, titles like AIDS Simulator, ISIS Simulator, Triggering Simulator, and Asset Flip Simulator have been removed from its offerings.
“Recently there’s been a bunch of community discussion around what kind of games we’re allowing onto the Steam Store,” said the company in a statement. “So we ended up going back to one of the principles in the forefront of our minds when we started Steam, and more recently as we worked on Steam Direct to open the Store to many more developers: Valve shouldn’t be the ones deciding this.”
The company went on to explain its reasoning. “If you’re a player, we shouldn’t be choosing for you what content you can or can’t buy. If you’re a developer, we shouldn’t be choosing what content you’re allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make.”
The company added: “the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store,” except in situations where something is “illegal, or straight up trolling.”
But Valve had removed games from its services as recently as last month when problematic game Active Shooter was taken down, which tasked players with shooting and killing as many people as possible in a school environment. The game was taken down after anti-gun violence charity The Infer Trust cited the epidemic of school shootings in the United States and called the game “appalling.”
It was one thing to attribute societal violence and insensitivity to video games when they were being regulated and mass produced by large companies, it’s considerably more worrying that smaller teams can produce and market purposefully malignant games like this to a wider audience in the modern day. Read the full Steam statement, here.