It is discovered that Steam, Valve’s popular digital storefront for video games, has updated its policy to no longer allow blockchain-based games to be sold on its platform. The change was pointed out by Age of Rust developer SpacePirate Games on Twitter, which also recently announced plans to publish the game elsewhere due to this.
According to Steam’s onboarding page for its Steamworks users and partners, games that are built on blockchain technology that issue or allow trading of cryptocurrencies or NFTs will be removed from the platform. While Valve itself did not detail the ban, SpacePirate explains that the platform views in-game issued NFTs or cryptocurrencies to have real-world value – similar to tokens earned in gambling, or other items equivalent to it. In the developer’s case, Age of Rust is planned to feature puzzles that reward the player with NFTs as achievements.
Community: A few minutes ago, we were notified that @Steam will be kicking *all blockchain games* off the platform, including Age of Rust, because NFTs have value. Behind the scenes, we've had good communication and have been upfront with Steam. #blockchaingames #NFT
— Age of Rust (@SpacePirate_io) October 14, 2021
At this time, it is not known how many other games on Steam actually feature blockchain-based elements or trading, and if they’ve already been booted off. In light of the ban, it is very likely that other developers, much like SpacePirate Games, are jumping (or have jumped) to a different platform that are more lenient towards NFT and crypto-based games. Speaking of which…
Not long after Steam’s updated store policy was made known, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took to Twitter to state that the company is open to feature blockchain-based games on its own digital storefront. “Epic Games Store will welcome games that make use of blockchain tech provided they follow the relevant laws, disclose their terms, and are age-rated by an appropriate group,” he tweeted. “Though Epic’s not using crypto in our games, we welcome innovation in the areas of technology and finance.”
As a technology, the blockchain is just a distributed transactional database with a decentralized business model that incentivize investment in hardware to expand the database's capacity. This has utility whether or not a particular use of it succeeds or fails.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) October 15, 2021
It is unsurprising that Epic would show its support to games that are banned on Steam as another way for it to directly compete against Valve. For a while now, the company has offered certain benefits to entice gamers to its Epic Games Store (EGS) platform, including monthly free games and timed-exclusive releases for high profile video game titles such as Remedy’s Control and Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding. The latter would only be made available on Steam months after their debut on PC via EGS.