Valve updates Steam graphical asset rules to curb “distracting” promos

Valve is implementing new Steam graphical asset rules that will prevent developers from adding review scores, award names, and marketing copy to banner images.

The company said the new rules for graphical asset capsules — which is the official name for Steam banner images — have been devised to “make it as clear and straightforward as possible for customers to find games to buy and play on Steam.”

According to Valve, the changes are a response to developers including more text, award logos, and review scores in their graphical assets, creating what it claims are “confusing and sometimes even inaccurate” images.

“Some game logos themselves have become so small that it’s hard for players to tell what the name of the game is. In other cases, graphical asset images are so cluttered with award logos and ratings that it is distracting and hard to read,” said Valve. “Some capsules include review scores that are no longer accurate. We also see that in most cases this additional text on assets is presented in English language only, isolating much of the Steam audience that doesn’t speak English.

“We understand that developers want to communicate with their players about the quality of their games, and Steam already has spaces on game store pages to present most of this information. Press review quotes, press review scores, and special awards each have dedicated spaces on Steam store pages where it can be presented consistently and where customers can expect to find that information.”

To remedy the situation and make its guidelines as clear as possible, Valve wants to clarify its existing rules and add some new ones that will go into effect on September 1, 2022.

From that point, content on base graphical asset capsules on Steam will be limited to game artwork, names, and official subtitles. That means developers won’t be able to feature review scores or marketing copy of any kind, including Steam reviews or external new sources; award names, symbols or logos; discount marketing copy such as “On Sale Now” or specific discount text; text or imagery promoting a different product, including sequels and other titles in the same franchise; and other miscellaneous text.

Valve, however, will permit developers to include text on capsule artwork overrides as long as it’s localized into at least the same set of languages supported by the game its promoting, and only describes new content such as seasonal events and DLC. Artwork overrides must also be uploaded with a length limit of one month.

Beyond that, the company is instructing developers to only include specific game logos and textless artwork in their library capsule, library hero, and library logo uploads. It’s also advising that all capsules on Steam should adhere to two basic rules and contain a readable product logo/name with accurate dimensions and leverage PG-13 appropriate imagery.

“What is appropriate use of text on store capsules? Tastefully promoting your recent update or new content is okay on store capsules, as long as you use a Temporary Artwork Override to do so and localize the text into languages supported by your game,” said the company, pointing to the example below.

A Valve-approved promotion for Bass Ain't Bitin'

Developers will need to review their graphical assets and potentially make changes to bring them in line with the new guidelines by September 1. Any title that doesn’t adhere to the new rules by then may be ineligible for featuring in official Steam sales and events, and could also have limited visibility on the storefront.

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