We wanted to give you a heads up about some exciting language options coming to Steam.
Starting today, we are adding two new languages (Vietnamese and Latin American Spanish) to the list of 26 languages officially supported by Steam. This means the Steam desktop client, the Steam store, and the Steam Community, are all translated to make it easier for Vietnamese or Latin American Spanish speakers to interact with Steam, find games, and chat with friends. It also means that game developers can now provide translations of their game in those languages through Steam.
Vietnamese is the sole national language of the country Vietnam, but is also widely used in other countries, including the United States, Australia, and France. There are over 75 million Vietnamese speakers worldwide. In November of 2017, we added Steam support for the national currency of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Dong, along with a number of payment methods that make it easier for players in Vietnam to make purchases on Steam. While supporting payments methods and currencies is important for making Steam accessible to global audiences, we realized our mistake in not also supporting the national language too so that players can more easily find their way around Steam and be able to get games in their native language, when available.
Why Latin American Spanish?
In the past, Steam has only supported a single definition of Spanish-language. But our customers and game developers have been reminding us of the stylistic differences among Spanish spoken in different locales, and requested that Steam support that difference. As a result, we now have a definition of both Castilian (European) Spanish and Latin American (LatAm) Spanish, translating the Steam desktop client, store, and community into both variants of Spanish.
As a practical example, this is how we already treat Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, where customers can choose one, the other, or both for their language preferences, and game developers can indicate whichever variants their game supports.
Changing Your Language Preferences in Steam
Whether your native language is Vietnamese, Castilian Spanish, or any of the 26 other languages supported by Steam, you can specify your language preferences in the Steam desktop client by clicking "Steam>settings>interface".
Additionally, you can specify more than one language within the Steam store to help you find more games available in languages you may speak. For example, you may want to run Steam in Vietnamese, but you also speak English and want to make sure you can find games that are available with English language audio. You can visit your store preferences to select multiple languages for games that you wish to discover in the Steam store.
FAQ for Game Developers
Language support can be pretty important for the enjoyment of games. If you are making a game on Steam, here are some questions we thought you might have and some answers. Of course if you have additional question, please let us know through the Steamworks contact form.
Q: What do I need to do if my game already supports Spanish? A: If you want to add another language support option, you can provide Spanish support in both Castilian and Latin American varieties. If you don’t plan to add additional support, that’s OK: Steam will assume that your existing Spanish language content is Castilian and automatically provide that content to customers that have indicated either Castilian or Latin American Spanish. If your existing translation is actually Latin American Spanish, you can update your definition within Steamworks by visiting your app landing page and clicking "Edit Steamworks Settings" and selecting "Depots" from the "SteamPipe" drop-down.
Q: What if my game doesn’t support Spanish at all? A: That’s okay, and you don’t need to make any changes. But just so you know: nearly 2 million of our 45 million daily active users view the store in Spanish, and platform revenue in Latin America increased 35% over the previous year… so now might be a good time to consider adding support!
Q: What’s the difference, anyway? Why does this matter? A: There are some substantial differences in vocabulary and colloquial choices between these two varieties of Spanish. By supporting the difference on the Steam store and UI, we can make it more welcoming and easy to use. By supporting the difference in your game, you can provide the best possible experience to any customers who want to play your game in Spanish. Historically, customer improvements to localization and regional support have helped grow the overall pie of platform opportunity for developers, and we think this will be one more improvement for people who play and make PC games.
Q: Do I get any benefit if my game supports additional languages on Steam? A: Definitely! In addition to making your game more accessible to more customers, language preference is one of the things the store takes into account when making recommendations. That means a customer is more likely to see your game in the store if it supports the language preferences the customer selected. For example, Vietnamese is the fifth most spoken language in the United States, at around 1.5 million speakers.
Controller compatibility in PC games used to be managed only by the individual game developers, meaning a game supported a predetermined set of hardware and players selected from these prescribed input options. In 2015 we began an experiment to find out what happens when the community is less constrained. We shipped tools that allow Steam users to map controls from various devices (e.g. Steam Controller, PlayStation controllers, Xbox controllers) to any combination of inputs that the title understands (e.g. keyboard keys, mouse movement, controller presses). Additionally, we created a system to share and modify these controller configurations so the best input schemes boil up to the top, allowing the cumulative efforts of the community to benefit us all. These two features, remapping and sharing, served as the foundation of what we now call Steam Input.
Three years later, the Steam Input experiment is starting to bear interesting results. By supporting so many controller types we've learned about which controllers are being used on the platform and by accommodating customization we've learned how players prefer to interact with different genres. Today we'll share figures on which controllers have been connected to Steam, how controllers are being used, and what happens when a new controller is released on the platform. We'll also discuss the Steam Controller and how hardware choices set it apart from other controller types.
Controllers on Steam
The first thing that jumps out in the data is that a lot of Steam players have a controller. Since 2015, over 30 million players have registered at least one controller and over 15 million of those players have registered more than one. Between accounts with multiple controllers and controllers that have been registered to multiple accounts, we find that a total of 60 million device-account pairs have been connected to Steam. The charts below provide a breakdown by controller type.
Console controllers make up the bulk of devices, but the remaining 8% are significant, totaling nearly 5 million controllers. This is a group that consists of Steam Controllers, PC gamepads, Nintendo controllers, and fightsticks (and don't forget the 783 dancepads). This is a large, eclectic set of input devices that, in some cases, take quite a bit of user initiative to even connect to a PC. There is a lot to unpack in these numbers, but by combining this with playtime data we arrive at a few interesting conclusions.
Xbox controllers are the most common PC controller
Xbox controllers are essentially the default controller for PC games, and this fact is apparent in the controllers stats. Nearly 40 million Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers have been connected to Steam, representing 64% of all controllers. How, exactly, did they become the default? A decade ago, Microsoft made a concerted effort to drive adoption of XInput, the underlying protocol, and that work resulted in widespread support by game developers. Because built-in support is overwhelmingly XInput support, an Xbox controller is a good bet to seamlessly play many different titles.
PS4 controllers are surprisingly abundant
PlayStation 4 is an extremely popular console with a great controller. The reason we're surprised by 12 million is, historically, the PS4 controller has not been treated like a PC gaming controller. Built-in support is uncommon, so players turn to software that translates their PS4 controller input into Xbox controller input. This has a few drawbacks. For example, a game may prompt you to 'press Y to jump', when, in reality, you should be pressing the triangle button. These mental translations can be a deal-breaker for certain PS4 controller users, and we see evidence that this is occurring in the monthly playtime data.
Notice that Xbox One engagement is nearly twice that of the PS4. It's not clear how much of that difference can be explained by the user experience, but it stands to reason that the gap would be smaller if more titles had seamless support. One potential solution is full Steam Input integration on the game side, which includes a feature that enables in-game hints based on controller type. We'll discuss more of these advanced Steam Input features in a later post, for today we'll leave it at: there is a large, untapped, community of PS4 controller users on Steam.
The Switch Pro controller is pretty popular for a new device
The Switch Pro controller arrived in 2017 and players immediately began attaching them to their PCs. At the time, support was mostly limited to basic Steam Input remapping; meaning the UI did not match the physical device and features like motion control and rumble were not available. In May 2018, a Steam update enabled the full feature set of the device, added matching artwork in the UI, and improved the overall experience. The result was an acceleration in Switch Pro controller registrations, noticeable in the graph below, and a rise to the 7th most popular controller type on Steam.
Steam Controllers are played with a diverse set of games
With the Steam Controller we set out to make a device compatible with your whole library, including mouse-driven games. The unique combination of trackpad and gyro inputs make for better precision pointing and aiming controls than a typical thumb stick and help bridge the gap between controller and non-controller titles. To date, we have sold 1.3 million Steam Controllers, but it's how they're being used that is most interesting to us. The Steam Controller community plays a more diverse selection of games than other controller types, interacting with nearly twice the total number of titles compared to the next closest device. Additionally, many of these are titles without built-in controller support. We're happy to see our customers engaging with all kinds of games and will continue to improve the Steam Controller experience for our existing and future users.
Steam has a large and diverse collection of controllers on the platform, a fact that is at odds with the approach of built-in, static controller support. Sure, supporting Xbox controllers will capture 64% of Steam users, but what about the other 22 million devices? What’s more, future controller types may include input modalities that didn’t exist, or weren’t popular, at the time of the game’s release. For example, motion controls are relatively new, but Steam Input has allowed the community to experiment with it in older titles. In several cases they’ve found motion control configurations that they believe are superior to the ones we’ve all been using for years.
By supporting over 200 controller models, full Steam Input integration has the additional benefit of creating a uniform experience across devices. And, because it is a part of Steam, future Steam Client updates will extend support to new controllers without any effort from the developer. In a follow-up post we will discuss these features of Steam Input, and others, to demonstrate how they serve the wide-ranging population of controller users on Steam.
It's been a few months since we talked about how we want to approach shipping games with controversial content. In that blog post we talked about some of the tools we felt we needed to build and we thought it would be good to give you an update on where we are. We've done a number of things since that post, some which may seem unrelated, but if we are going to maintain an open view of what gets onto the Store, then you'll need good tools to find the games you want, as well as avoid the things you don't.
The first set of our changes focused on improving how you can find new games. We've added Developer & Publisher homepages so you can easily get from a game you love to others made by the same creators, or follow them if you want to be notified whenever they say or make something. We significantly reworked how our Upcoming Games Lists functioned, so they're much better at showing you upcoming games that you might be interested in, or upcoming extra content for a game you've been playing a bunch.
A second set of changes was focused on improving how you can ignore things you're not interested in. In the past you've been able to ignore individual games or product types (like VR, or Early Access) you didn't want to see again. But now we've added ways for you to also easily ignore individual developers, publishers, and curators.
We've also improved the game tag filters on your account preferences. Previously, it was a list of 3 game tags that you wanted to see less of. We've now increased the number of tags you can list to 10, and made them into a harder filter - in short, the Store now assumes you want to ignore all the games that feature any of those tags in their most popular tags, instead of just using them as suggestions to our recommendation engine.
We did our best to ensure you can safely ignore swaths of games in the store, but still find them if you look directly via the search tool. If the game that we think you're searching for is hidden due to your mature content settings, we identify that and let you know in a safe way. For example, if you have your preferences set to hide mature games with violence, but you search for The Witcher 3, you'll see this:
If there are games that your search should contain that you're ignoring for other reasons (due to its developer, or game tags, for instance), we'll still include it in the list, but we'll blur it out and when you hover over it you can see why it is darkened. For example, if you've chosen to ignore games by Valve, and then search for Left 4 Dead, you'll see this:
A third set of changes focused on allowing you to have better control over the kinds of mature content you see. So far, the Store has allowed you to filter out games that feature Frequent Violence/Gore or Nudity/Sexual Content. After looking at the mature content in submissions we're receiving, and at some games that are already in the Store, we've added two more options. The first is a general Mature Content filter. We often see developers who tell us their game contains mature content, but not sex or violence, and you can now filter those games out if you wish. The second is an Adults Only filter, which allows you to filter out games that feature explicit sexual content.
We're also now requiring developers of games with violent or sexual content to describe the content of their game, and we're using that information to help you decide whether a game is something you're comfortable with. We think the context of how content is presented is important and giving a developer a place to describe and explain what's in their game gives you even more information when browsing and considering a purchase. When you're looking at the store page of a game with mature content, we'll display that developer-written description to you. We're also displaying it on the interstitial page we show you if you ever follow a direct link from outside steam to a game that should be filtered for you:
Finally, we've continued our efforts in removing bad actors from the Store. Last year we made changes to Trading Cards to address the ways a small set of developers were producing 'games' that generated revenue without anyone actually buying and playing them. Recently we made more changes to address other ways these bad actors were continuing to do it. We've also permanently banned several developers of games that we felt fit the "straight up trolling" description of games we're not going to allow onto the Store. There's actually a surprisingly small number of individuals behind almost all of these games, and their bans have been a straightforward series of decisions, thus far. You can read more about the shorthand of "straight up trolling," and the process of making those decisions in the Q&A below.
With these sets of changes, we hope you have a better sense of how we're approaching building a store that works for all developers and players. There's still plenty of work to do. In our previous post we identified a range of things, from parental controls to tools for developers to manage their communities. In addition, some of the changes described in this post will require more options when we see new kinds of content in game submissions. Going forward, we aim to continue this strategy of shipping features as they're finished, and posting periodic updates as to the nuts and bolts and the thinking behind their development.
Q: What about games that are already in the store that include mature content?
A: Every developer will be encouraged to update their game with the customer-facing descriptions outlined above but in most cases Valve moderators will going back through the catalog and making sure games are complying with the new requirements.
Q: What do you mean, in practice, when you say you won't ship games that are "outright trolling?" That seems vague.
A: It is vague and we'll tell you why. You're a denizen of the internet so you know that trolls come in all forms. On Steam, some are simply trying to rile people up with something we call "a game shaped object" (ie: a crudely made piece of software that technically and just barely passes our bar as a functioning video game but isn't what 99.9% of folks would say is "good"). Some trolls are trying to scam folks out of their Steam inventory items, others are looking for a way to generate a small amount of money off Steam through a series of schemes that revolve around how we let developers use Steam keys. Others are just trying to incite and sow discord. Trolls are figuring out new ways to be loathsome as we write this. But the thing these folks have in common is that they aren't actually interested in good faith efforts to make and sell games to you or anyone. When a developer's motives aren't that, they're probably a troll.
Our review of something that may be "a troll game" is a deep assessment that actually begins with the developer. We investigate who this developer is, what they've done in the past, their behavior on Steam as a developer, as a customer, their banking information, developers they associate with, and more. All of this is done to answer the question "who are we partnering with and why do they want to sell this game?" We get as much context around the creation and creator of the game and then make an assessment. A trend we're seeing is that we often ban these people from Steam altogether instead of cherry-picking through their individual game submissions. In the words of someone here in the office: "it really does seem like bad games are made by bad people."
This doesn't mean there aren't some crude or lower quality games on Steam, but it does mean we believe the developers behind them aren't out to do anything more than sell a game they hope some folks will want to play.
Q: Sometimes I see blurred out games on my Store front page. Why is that?
A: There are a number of sections on the front page that we fill with games, and to ensure the servers behind it don't melt down as everyone tries to use it, we do a lot of data caching. This works great for data sets that we can easily pre-compute - so if there's a game you shouldn't see due to your mature content filters, you'll never see it on the front page. But if you've chosen to do some more personal filtering of particular developers, or specific games, we can't do that pre-computation as easily. As a result, it's possible you'll see a blurred out game on the front page because your personal filters should cause it to be hidden. In practice, though, this will only happen if you've filtered out so many games that it can't find enough to fill a section of the front page, and again, like the search results, we'll blur that game out and tell you why.
Q: Why do you KEEP asking my damn age throughout the store?
A: We're with you on this. Unfortunately, many rating agencies have rules that stipulate that we cannot save your age for longer than a single browsing session. It's frustrating, but know we're filling out those age gates too.
Today we’ve made the new Steam chat features, which have been in beta since June 12th, available to all Steam users. The all-new friends list and chat system makes it easier to chat and play games with your Steam friends.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the beta! We'll continue to improve the new chat system based on your feedback and requests. We've already started working on making it easier to chat from anywhere with a new Steam chat mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.
Today we are rolling out a bunch of improvements in how we show you upcoming games on Steam.
In the past, the Steam homepage included an Upcoming tab that showed customers a complete list of everything that was coming to Steam. This was a pretty simple feature -- it was literally just a chronological list of upcoming titles. It didn't do anything to build a list of games suited to anyone's interests and just wasn't doing its job. Hundreds of new games are coming to Steam every month, but customers weren't using this list to find new things to play. It was a feature that needed work.
Therefore, as of today the Upcoming tab will be a smarter, more tailored list called Popular Upcoming. This list will take into account the pre-release interest in a game -- that is to say, data we gather through wishlists, pre-purchase, and a developer's or publisher's past titles. We believe Steam does a good job of taking early customer interest (even if that interest isn't enormous) and helps a game amplify that interest through connection to quality customers. This smarter list on the front page aims to do just that.
Furthermore, when you click on "see more Upcoming Releases" at the bottom of that tab you'll be taken to a dedicated Upcoming Releases page. This page will make suggestions based on your unique interests and show you what's coming to Steam in a much more digestible format.
If you follow a developer or publisher with a new game coming out, the Upcoming Releases page will feature those games. If you've wishlisted a game, it will appear here as well. If you've shown Steam some of your interests, we'll be taking that into account as you browse through games that are coming to Steam. Conversely, we won't be populating this page with things you've willfully said you're not interested in or with DLC for games you don't own.
We also recognize that some of you do want to see the complete list of releases in one place -- you don't want us or our silly computers doing any work for you; you prefer a raw, unrefined deluge of new games. Well, on the Upcoming Releases page you can view a totally unfiltered list of everything that is coming to Steam, and while looking through that list you'll know that as you add games to your wishlist or share them with friends, you'll be helping Steam make it discoverable for everyone else.
We think these changes are going to help connect you towards games you're excited about and make browsing all the new games coming to Steam a more enjoyable and productive experience. Making Steam more useful is never an exact science so we'll be maintaining and adjusting these new features as more and more of you use them to find games you want to play.
Upcoming Games on Steam Q&A
Q: Can't you replace this tab with something else? I have an idea about that, actually. A: We spend a lot of time listening to customer feedback on improvements to the store, so please, let 'em fly. This change is in direct response to feedback and data from both customers and partners on the usefulness of Steam's front page.
Q: I'm a developer and in the past I knew that my game would be in that unfiltered list on the front page, at least for a little while. Doesn't this make my new game even harder to find? A: We've spent a lot of time looking at data about how folks find and buy games and are certain that isn't the case. The previous iteration of Upcoming was just too unfiltered for most customers to use it effectively. A piece of data for you: the old Upcoming list was only clicked on by less than half of one percent of customers whereas Top Sellers is clicked on by almost four percent. It's clear to us that a brief (and sometimes very brief) spot on Steam's front page isn't useful if your game is shown to a random set of customers -- what's best for everyone is if your game is shown to the right customers, ones who have shown that they might like your game. If you're building a great, entertaining product with a store page to match, these improvements will facilitate connections to those customers in a higher quality way.
Q: So let me get this straight, if me and all of my pals wishlist a game, we can help it get to the front page of Steam via the Popular Upcoming tab? A: Yes but probably no. We spend a lot of time writing code and monitoring these systems so they aren't manipulated. Now, if you love an upcoming game and wishlist it or even pre-purchase it and we identify that this is a natural trend across Steam's diverse customer set, we will start suggesting it to other folks who may feel the same way.
Q: I have another question, you can't predict me with your flimsy Q&A. A: Please share it below and we'll try to address it if it's thoughtful and well-meaning.
We've just launched an open beta for Creator Homepages, a new part of the Steam store designed to help players discover and connect with the developers and publishers behind their favorite games. With this feature, you can explore the full catalog of games created by the developers and publishers of games you enjoy and you can choose to follow those creators to be automatically notified when they release their next title.
How does it work?
Any developer or publisher on the platform can now set up a customized homepage to showcase their full catalog of titles and content. Once set up, these homepages can be found by clicking on the developer or publisher name from the store page of your favorite games.
Check out the official Creator Homepage Announcement Page, which includes a list of all the homepages so far. This will quickly become an overwhelming and unusable list as more developers create their homepages, so at the top of the page we've also specifically highlighted the developers and publishers behind games that you've recently played.
On these homepages, you'll find standard lists of top-selling or new released titles from that developer or publisher.
You'll also find collections that the developer or publisher has created to best highlight their portfolio of games and content available on Steam.
A studio might divide its games into collections by genre or franchise, or could choose to highlight their fan-favorite or top-selling games. A developer of only a single game might primarily dedicate their homepage to announcements of new projects.
Regardless of how each developer or publisher chooses to customize their homepage, you can easily follow them to be notified when they release their next title or post an announcement. Newly released titles from developers or publishers that you follow will show up at the top of your Steam homepage and we'll send you an e-mail to let you know that they've released something new (as with other Steam e-mail notifications, you can opt out at any time by visiting your e-mail preferences page).
Creators can also set up unique URLs within Steam for easy reference to their homepage. You can see an example by following this customized URL for the Valve developer homepage: http://store.steampowered.com/dev/valve
We're pretty excited to get the core functionality into the hands of players and give developers the opportunity to set up their presence on Steam. While we haven't worked out all of the smaller bugs or finished adding every feature we'd like to, we decided that the basic set of functionality is worth putting into the hands of players and creators. We still have a number of features that we are considering adding and there are still a few rough edges that need smoothing out, so opening this system up as a beta to players and developers will help us gather feedback and suggestions that inform the direction of those features.
Over the previous few weeks, we've worked with a number of developers and publishers on Steam to get their pages set up and help us work out as many of the bugs as we can. As a player, you'll find that many of your favorite game makers probably already have a spiffy homepage created and customized. But there are still quite a few developers that have not yet had a chance to set up their pages and will do so during this open beta period.
For game developers, check out the Creator Homepages Steamworks documentation for more details and information on how the system works, the features that are included, and necessary permissions for game creators.
Reporting bugs and feedback
As always, we'll keep an eye out for your feedback and suggestions as to what you'd like to see added or changed about this system.
The friends list now has a customizable favorites section at the top, for quick access to the people, groups, and chats you care about most. You’ll also see in-game friends at the top of your list, grouped together by game or even by party, making it easier to join in, or just to see which games are popular among friends.
The friends list now has a dedicated area for group chats, which can range from casual chats with a couple of friends to larger communities. Starting a group chat is as simple as dragging an additional friend onto a chat window. You can also save your group chats with a name and avatar, making it easier to come back to them later to pick up the conversation or to play games with those same friends.
Within a group chat you have the option to add additional text channels, voice channels, member permissions. Plus, all chats now display images, videos, tweets, and links inline in a rich, beautiful way.
The entire voice chat system has been rebuilt, to ensure a more seamless experience when playing games on Steam with friends. It’s now one click to start a voice chat and organize your group pre-game.
This update includes many more items of note, including: invisible mode, so you can appear offline, but still access your friends list and chats. And adding friends is easier now with custom friend-request links you can email or send outside of Steam.
Recently there's been a bunch of community discussion around what kind of games we're allowing onto the Steam Store. As is often the case, the discussion caused us to spend some time examining what we're doing, why we're doing it, and how we could be doing it better. Decision making in this space is particularly challenging, and one that we've really struggled with. Contrary to many assumptions, this isn't a space we've automated - humans at Valve are very involved, with groups of people looking at the contents of every controversial title submitted to us. Similarly, people have falsely assumed these decisions are heavily affected by our payment processors, or outside interest groups. Nope, it's just us grappling with a really hard problem.
Unfortunately, our struggling has resulted in a bunch of confusion among our customers, developer partners, and even our own employees. So we've spent some time thinking about where we want to be on this, and we'd like to talk about it now. But we also think it's critical to talk about how we've arrived at our position, so you can understand the trade-offs we're making.
The challenge is that this problem is not simply about whether or not the Steam Store should contain games with adult or violent content. Instead, it's about whether the Store contains games within an entire range of controversial topics - politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on. In addition, there are controversial topics that are particular to games - like what even constitutes a "game", or what level of quality is appropriate before something can be released.
Common questions we ask ourselves when trying to make decisions didn't help in this space. What do players wish we would do? What would make them most happy? What's considered acceptable discussion / behavior / imagery varies significantly around the world, socially and legally. Even when we pick a single country or state, the legal definitions around these topics can be too broad or vague to allow us to avoid making subjective and interpretive decisions. The harsh reality of this space, that lies at the root of our dilemma, is that there is absolutely no way we can navigate it without making some of our players really mad.
In addition, Valve is not a small company - we're not a homogeneous group. The online debates around these topics play out inside Valve as well. We don't all agree on what deserves to be on the Store. So when we say there's no way to avoid making a bunch of people mad when making decisions in this space, we're including our own employees, their families and their communities in that.
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 up the Store to many more developers: Valve shouldn't be the ones deciding this. 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. Our role should be to provide systems and tools to support your efforts to make these choices for yourself, and to help you do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
With that principle in mind, we've decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling. Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see. We already have some tools, but they're too hidden and not nearly comprehensive enough. We are going to enable you to override our recommendation algorithms and hide games containing the topics you're not interested in. So if you don't want to see anime games on your Store, you'll be able to make that choice. If you want more options to control exactly what kinds of games your kids see when they browse the Store, you'll be able to do that. And it's not just players that need better tools either - developers who build controversial content shouldn't have to deal with harassment because their game exists, and we'll be building tools and options to support them too.
As we mentioned earlier, laws vary around the world, so we're going to need to handle this on a case-by-case basis. As a result, we will almost certainly continue to struggle with this one for a while. Our current thinking is that we're going to push developers to further disclose any potentially problematic content in their games during the submission process, and cease doing business with any of them that refuse to do so honestly. We'll still continue to perform technical evaluations of submissions, rejecting games that don't pass until their issues have been resolved.
So what does this mean? It means that the Steam Store is going to contain something that you hate, and don't think should exist. Unless you don't have any opinions, that's guaranteed to happen. But you're also going to see something on the Store that you believe should be there, and some other people will hate it and want it not to exist.
It also means that the games we allow onto the Store will not be a reflection of Valve’s values, beyond a simple belief that you all have the right to create & consume the content you choose. The two points above apply to all of us at Valve as well. If you see something on Steam that you think should not exist, it's almost certain that someone at Valve is right there with you.
To be explicit about that - if we allow your game onto the Store, it does not mean we approve or agree with anything you're trying to say with it. If you're a developer of offensive games, this isn't us siding with you against all the people you're offending. There will be people throughout the Steam community who hate your games, and hope you fail to find an audience, and there will be people here at Valve who feel exactly the same way. However, offending someone shouldn't take away your game's voice. We believe you should be able to express yourself like everyone else, and to find others who want to play your game. But that's it.
In the short term, we won't be making significant changes to what's arriving on Steam until we've finished some of the tools we've described in this post. As we've hopefully managed to convey, navigating these issues is messy and complicated. Countries and societies change their laws and cultural norms over time. We'll be working on this for the foreseeable future, both in terms of what products we're allowing, what guidelines we communicate, and the tools we're providing to developers and players.
Today’s update expands on your Profile Privacy Settings Page, giving you more control over the privacy of your Steam account. With more detailed descriptions of what profile information is included in each category, you will be able to manage how you are viewed by your friends, or the wider Steam Community.
You can now select who can view your profile’s “game details”; which includes the list of games you have purchased or wishlisted, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether you’re seen as “in-game” and the title of the game you are playing.
Additionally, regardless of which setting you choose for your profile’s game details, you now have the option to keep your total game playtime private. You no longer need to nervously laugh it off as a bug when your friends notice the 4,000+ hours you've put into Ricochet.
Looking ahead a little, we are also working on a new “invisible” mode in addition to the already existing “online”, “away” and “offline” presence options. If you choose to set yourself to invisible, you’ll appear as offline, but you’ll still be able to view your friends list, send and receive messages. Sometimes you’re feeling social, and sometimes you’re not; this setting should help Steam users be social on their own terms. We hope to have this feature ready for beta release soon.
Like many Steam features, these privacy options come directly from user feedback. If you would like to join that conversation, as always, we welcome you to visit the Steam Discussions and add your feedback.
A Vulkan-compatible driver for macOS and iOS, MoltenVK, is now available free of charge and open-source. Having invested into its development for more than a year, we have sponsored The Brenwill Workshop to donate MoltenVK for inclusion in the Vulkan graphics ecosystem. We've also continued our efforts with LunarG who is today releasing a corresponding update to deliver macOS support to the Vulkan SDK. Also as a result of that work, Dota 2 will be updated in the comings months to target Vulkan on macOS.
It's been almost four years since we started contributing to Vulkan's goal of becoming a cross platform solution. With support for Windows, Linux, and Android crossed off the list, this latest set of updates checks off one of the largest remaining targets, giving developers an easy yet robust way to also target their Vulkan-based engines and titles to run on macOS and iOS. By making the code to MoltenVK freely available and open-source, the goal is to enable developers to bring their games to macOS and iOS with minimal evelopment cost.
The LunarG Vulkan SDK is a key component for developers targeting Vulkan by providing tools such as validation layers, shader compilers, and a loader. Now available from LunarG, an updated Vulkan SDK now offers those same tools to developers targeting macOS, enabling them to efficiently develop Vulkan code on the platform.
Additionally, we exercised MoltenVK with real world workloads including Dota 2 and we're seeing significant performance improvements over running on OpenGL.
We encourage developers to test their engines and titles with MoltenVK and the LunarG SDK and provide feedback. We are committed to making Vulkan a viable option for developers targeting all platforms.