Screengrab via No Man's Sky/Steam

Steam updates its screenshot policy after No Man’s Sky debacle

Steam wants to make sure consumers know exactly what they're buying.


Sarah Weber

Internet Culture

Published Nov 2, 2016   Updated Feb 28, 2020, 9:19 pm CST

After indie game No Man’s Sky came under fire for advertising with videos and still images that critics say didn’t accurately reflect the game, Valve’s gaming marketplace is clarifying its policy. 

Coinciding with an upcoming site update, Valve is instructing developers to provide screenshots and in-game video on its Steam store pages, not concept illustrations or pre-rendered stills and video. 

“We haven’t been super crisp on guidelines for screenshots in the past, so we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space. When the ‘screenshot’ section of a store page is used for images other than screenshots that depict the game, it can make it harder for customers to understand what the product is that they are looking at,” Valve said in a statement published by Eurogamer. “Please show customers what your game is actually like to play.”

One of the main criticisms of No Man’s Sky from consumers was that the marketing material for the game looked much better than what they found when they started playing. Some were so upset they demanded refunds citing false advertising, and an advertising watchdog agency even opened an investigation into the game that specifically looked at its Steam store page.

Valve admits it has been inconsistent when it comes to showing true in-game images versus cleaned-up marketing stills on Steam store pages. Even the company’s own Dota 2 used artwork instead of screenshots, something it’s now going back and correcting. 

Once the Steam update drops in a few weeks, consumers can feel more confident that the video and still-frame examples of games on Steam store pages accurately reflect the product they’re purchasing. 

H/T Eurogamer

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*First Published: Nov 2, 2016, 2:57 pm CDT