Not only is cryptocurrency a hot topic in general, but it is also a hot topic in the video game industry. An increasing number of games promote their blockchain connections or hint at ways to award cryptocurrency or NFT prizes.
Despite a vocal minority of crypto-fans, the technology remains highly contentious due to environmental concerns, market volatility, and seemingly incessant scams. It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that Valve has decided to prohibit the sale of blockchain games on Steam.
SpacePirate Games, the creators of Age of Rust, have announced the news. Age of Rust is a blockchain-integrated adventure game in which players can earn NFTs by solving puzzles. SpacePirate Games claims in a Twitter thread that they were clear and communicative with Valve about the nature of the game, only to be told that Age of Rust would be removed from Steam. According to SpacePirate Games, Steam does not allow games to include items with a real-world value on the platform.
In its first tweet, SpacePirate Games links to a list of Steam Rules and Guidelines, which includes 13 rules about what should and should not be published on Steam. The rules are mostly standard, prohibiting hate speech, sexually explicit images of real people, and content that is illegal in certain regions.
The most recent rule, rule thirteen, is unique to blockchain technology. It states that no applications based on blockchain technology that “issue or allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs” should be published on Steam.
It’s unclear when Valve officially banned games that use cryptocurrency or NFTs. The rules and guidelines may have been updated some time ago, but they are only now receiving attention. In the past, Valve has had a tumultuous relationship with cryptocurrency.
We chose to be upfront about blockchain gaming & NFTs. As a result, we finally lost the battle with Steam. While I'm disappointed for Age of Rust being removed, the point is more to the fact that Blockchain games as whole are going to be removed. This is setback for all.
— Age of Rust (@SpacePirate_io) October 14, 2021
Valve announced in 2017 that it would no longer accept Bitcoin as a payment method due to the volatility of transaction costs. After a year, Valve banned a developer whose game secretly mined cryptocurrency.
To summarize, Valve has reason to be concerned about the nature of blockchain technology in video games and the intentions of the creators who use it. However, Valve has not issued an official statement regarding the prohibition of games that use cryptocurrency or NFTs. As a result, the reasons for its decision are unclear.
On the one hand, it is undeniably true that blockchain technology can and has been used to defraud video game players. On the other hand, Valve allows real-money items in its games, such as Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cosmetics.