Steam Games Pulled by Indie Devs Over Valve’s Silence on Black Lives Matter
"if I continued to profit from their store I'd be complicit with their silence on hate."
Numerous video game developers have been pulling their games from the Steam storefront due to feeling uncomfortable with Valve’s silence surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests that are still taking place worldwide. Ever since the murder of George Floyd, protests have been held daily to encourage changes and ending police brutality, systematic racism and to fight for basic human rights. However, while protests have achieved a good deal, there’s still a way to go.
One of the ways to show support and stand in solidarity with the protesters has seen developers, publishers, and outlets such as Niantic, Activision Blizzard, EA, and many more issue statements, make donations and promise internal changes. However, Valve has been quiet, and some developers have been pulling their games from the digital storefront as a result.
Julian Glander, an artist, and creator of the games Art Sqool and Lovely Weather We’re Having, has announced that they’re pulling their games from Steam and looks to not be planning to publish with the store again in the future. In a tweet, Glander urges other indie developers to follow suit, and shares a screenshot of a statement they sent to Valve while going through the steps to “Remove an app from sale”.
“Over the past few weeks, Steam and Valve have chosen not to address the Black Lives Matter movement,” the statement reads. “It’s clearer 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.”
— Julian Glander (@glanderco) June 12, 2020
It continues, “Obviously as a company you guys can do whatever you want but I find having my games associated with the Steam platform to be embarrassing and a little nauseating.”
As GamesIndustry.biz reports, other developers have indeed followed suit following the successful removal of Glander’s games. Ghost Time Games Gabriel Koenig also pulled Test Tube Titans along with a similar statement being given to Valve. “Giving up Steam was not a decision I took lightly. I’ve been making ~$1000 a month in sales lately, and leaving that behind made me feel uncomfortable.” Koenig said in a tweet, “But if I continued to profit from their store I’d be complicit with their silence on hate.”
Dan Sanderson has also requested First Winter to be pulled from Steam with a similar statement bringing up the Black Lives Matter movement and Valve’s silence surrounding it. At the time of writing, the game is however still available on Steam. Part of Sanderson’s statement reads, “I’m well aware that many of these companies and corporations are merely trying to save face from a commercial point of view, none-the-less from Valve, we’ve heard nothing.”
It seems as if the developers are falling back onto Itch.io, a platform that recently raised over $8m for racial justice and equality. All proceeds are being donated, and the bundle consisted of 1,741 items for as little at $5. Itch.io’s bundle has now ended, but Humble Bundle has jumped in with its own “Fight for Racial Justic” bundle. This bundle can be purchased for $30, and gives customers access to over $1,200 worth of games, books, and comics. So far, the bundle has raised £977,367.