Steam.com is an on-line platform that enables users to purchase PC games; their account also hosts gaming data and makes sure that downloaded games are updated. However there is more to it, as the website also enables users to share and sell their own mods (modifications) to games as well as publish their own games on the web engine, making them available for purchase. Furthermore, not everyone’s games can be published on the website as that is decided through the other users showing interest in purchasing the game, through a system called Greenlight. Greenlight is not a compulsory experience and only those interested in indie games explore that part of the website. The system ensures that the engine is not cluttered with sub-par content as well as ensuring that all published items make sales, making it a reasonable business model.
This kind of crowd-led decision making however can sometimes backfire, particularly when the content does not come under much regulation as it is not produced for mass audiences by big companies. There are many examples of arguably inappropriate games being Greenlit by the community, possibly more so because of how inappropriate they are rather than due to genuine interest, as the young users set out to test the system. An example of this is a game which came out on early release in December 2015 called ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ in which the player is put in the shoes of a father trying to prevent a baby from committing suicide by baby-proofing the apartment. ( A video of the game play. ) In the past Steam editors have taken down games they deemed too inappropriate from the website without allowing the users to vote for it. Like in the case of Hatred, a game in which you can be the perpetrator of a school mass shooting. The game however was later restored to the website as the decision generated backlash from the community. ( Read more here )
Steam is a very popular gaming engine, and it is largely due to the fact that it gives it’s users creative freedom, or at least it appears to.