A number of indie developers are pulling their games from Steam because of Valve’s reluctance to comment on Black Lives Matter.
The past week saw several major game companies rally in support of Black Lives Matter and equality for Black people. Even those who didn’t donate major funds issued statements of support – all except Valve.
This inaction hasn’t gone unnoticed, and some developers have already requested that Valve remove their games from Steam. Julian Glander, the creator of Art Sqool and Lovely Weather We’re Having shared his message to Valve on Twitter.
“Over the past few weeks, Steam and Valve have chosen not to address the Black Lives Matter movement, failing to make even a broad and generic statement about racial justice,” the message reads.
“It’s clear than ever that the owners of this platform feel beholden to a base of angry white male gamers. This makes me especially sad because I feel that some of these people are the people who most need to hear the message of Black Lives Matter. Obviously as a company you guys do whatever you want but I find having my games associated with the Steam platform to be embarrassing and a little nauseating.”
Since then, both of Glander’s games have been removed. Though their Steam pages exist, you can no longer buy them. Glander wasn’t alone in this, of course, as his request encouraged Ghost Time Games’ Gabriel Koenig to pull Test Tube Titans off Steam, and solo developer Dan Sanderson to do the same with First Winter.
“Giving up Steam was not a decision I took lightly,” explained Koenig. “I’ve been making ~$1000 a month in sales lately, and leaving that behind made me feel uncomfortable. But if I continued to profit from their store I’d be complicit with their silence on hate.”
Sanderson added, “To be honest, it’s the very least I could do. First Winter makes no money anyway but still. It’s the principle.”
While it’s true all of the those games are niche, experimental projects, pressure could easily mount against Valve if the company stays silent. Now more than ever, Steam has real competition in the Epic Games Store and others, who will be more than happy to use this opportunity to boost their own image.
Thanks, Games Industry.