Indie developers pull games from Steam over silence on BLM issue

Indie developers pull games from Steam over silence on BLM

Leading digital video game distribution service Steam has been noticeably quiet over recent Black Lives Matter events, and some indie developers are upset about it.

The George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter movement have reached new heights, with an overwhelming part of the gaming community publicly showing their support. Steam developer Valve, on the other hand, has chosen to stay mum on the issue, and the silence is apparently deafening.

Several independent developers are upset over Valve’s seemingly neutral stance over such an important issue, with some going as far as rebuking the gaming giant on social media and requesting to have their titles pulled from Steam.

The devs take to Twitter

Video game developer Julian Glander made his voice heard last week, as he used Twitter to voice out frustrations over Valve’s silence. The indie dev posted a screenshot of his request to have his games removed from Steam, which included a strong message addressed to the platform.

Glander lambasted Valve over their decision to not “make even a broad and generic statement about racial justice.” He went on to say that he found his association with the platform through his art “embarrassing and a little nauseating.”

The American 3D artist ended his message by asking Steam to take down both his games (ART SQOOL and Lovely Weather We’re Having), followed by the hashtag “blacklivesmatter.”

Other independent developers shared Glander’s view on the matter, opting to have their titles removed from the platform as well.

Test Tube Titans creator Gabriel Koenig followed suit, retweeting Glander’s removal screenshot with an added message of his own. Koenig urged his developer friends to use their voice to demand change, and that Steam wouldn’t be making a profit off him.

Valve and Steam sponsors Game Devs of Color Expo

Not long after the indie devs began pulling out their games from Steam, Shawn Alexander—the Game Devs of Color Expo organizer—announced that Valve would be a major sponsor in their upcoming event.

In addition to the Game Devs of Color Expo, Shawn mentioned that the Steam owner also supported the Black Voices in Gaming Livestream, another event showing love for black video game developers that took place on June 8, 2020.

According to gaming publication GamesIndustry.biz, a Valve spokesperson confirmed the accuracy of Shawn’s statement, though no other details were provided.

Whether or not Valve’s decision to sponsor the Game Devs of Color Expo was a response to the pressure from indie devs remains unclear, though the platform has backed events and money-raising initiatives for black developers in the past.

While Valve hasn’t explicitly shown its support through a grand social media statement, as most video game companies have, it’s clear that the Steam founder is making a difference in its own way, behind the scenes.

Featured image courtesy of Steam/Facebook

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