Valve Prohibits Hatred: Is This Censorship?
I try to stay out of these types of debates, but I need to discuss the recent issue of censorship; first, a brief overview of the situation.
A few days ago, Valve decided to pull Destructive Creations' controversial game Hatred off of its Steam Greenlight service. Due to the conversations of morality surrounding Hatred’s premise of mass murder, Valve decided it did not want to sell the game on its sales platform.
Hatred developed by Destructive Creations
The gaming community quickly reacted, insisting that Valve is actively censoring Hatred by not allowing the game to release on Steam. The community argues that they see no reason Hatred should never see the light of day, while other controversial titles like Postal 2, or unfinished and buggy games like The Slaughtering Grounds continue to be sold.
Those with this view claim that this is no less than full censorship and that Valve should be required to sell the game.
Whether you agree with the supporters of Hatred, or the supporters of Valve, let’s look at the facts according to U.S. law, which Valve must adhere. According to the Federal Communications Commission, and the lackluster legislation surrounding censorship, corporations (or even industries) can censor themselves.
This is why we see the ratings on video games and movies. Those industries decided to have some sort of mechanism to allow for consumer choice and self-censoring when making purchasing decisions.
Because a corporation can censor itself, the staff at Valve can make moral choices that best reflect the corporation’s views. This includes not selling a game it deems too obscene. Of course, if Valve took an aggressive step and tried to get the game banned from being sold at all, through the legal system, then that is censorship. However, the simple act of prohibiting the sale of a game on its own platform is not unlawful censorship according to U.S. laws.
The Destructive Creations team.
With that said, it is a bit odd that Valve pulls Hatred off Steam when it still allows Postal, Postal 2, Postal 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fallout 3, and all games that allow the killing of unarmed people. If they allow those games to sell, why can’t they sell Hatred? If not for the morality of it, what is causing Valve to have doubts? Is it because the game is too buggy? If that is the case, then games like The Slaughtering Grounds and Farm Simulator should be pulled immediately.
So what can we, as a gaming community, do about this decision? Absolutely nothing. Why? Because Valve is a power player in the gaming industry. Valve can do what it wants as long as it is lawful.
Sure, I could tell you to “vote with your wallet” but you and I both know that almost never works, because for every person who decides to stop giving money to Valve, a million more decide to throw money at the screen, and even a million more during those infamous Steam sales. Can we collectively pursue legal action against Valve? No, because then we would be the ones censoring. We may or may not like the decision, but Valve has every right to make it.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with Valve’s decision to remove Hatred from Steam?