Valve's lack of a quality threshold is damaging to developers and games, says Auroch's Rawlings

Valve's lack of a quality threshold is damaging to developers and games, says Auroch's Rawlings

The changes that Valve has made to Steam over the years are potentially damaging to both game creators and the industry as a whole.

That's according to Auroch Digital's director Tomas Rawlings, who - speaking to - has urged the PC games giant to better control what appears on its platform.

The studio director argues that in not having a threshold for quality, the consumer experience on Steam is much worse than it would be otherwise; Rawlings goes on to say that Valve's platform is "astonishingly brilliant", but is let down by the sheer volume of games and poor quality control.

This follows Steam opening up its platform through initiatives such as Steam Direct - and Greenlight before it - as well as Valve's decision to allow anything on the platform so long as it's not "illegal" or "trolling".

"My argument would be that not having a quality threshold is not only damaging to developers; most importantly it's damaging to the games," he said.

"I assume that Valve is looking at lots of data and I don't know its internal processes, but I'd hope someone is paying attention. As a consumer, you hand over a few dollars for a game and you've basically been ripped off as it's shovelware. It's an asset flip. Well, fine, Valve put in the method to get a refund and I think that's a good thing, but I still had the hassle of buying a game, playing it, getting stung, having to get a refund. I shouldn't have to do that. Refunds should be about it not being my sort of game or maybe my expectations weren't met, not that I have been ripped off. That's a negative experience that the consumer has had. That doesn't make them want to trust indie developers and it's a negative experience on the platform.

"Valve has created - and this cannot be underestimated enough - this astoundingly brilliant games platform. Steam is amazing. It has so many amazing features and I would just urge Valve to not let that get buried in the shit. Whoever talks about their enjoyable experience on the Google Play store? No-one. I would say that Steam has started out with much more positives because as developers they understand and have created loads of great tools. I would just urge them to say that now is the time to take action on this; not just because I want to be protective of indie developers. I'm not afraid of competition. But the bad experience of people basically ripping players off affects everybody."

Rawlings says that one solution is increasing the fee to release a game via Steam Direct. Right now this is $100, which isn't much of a hurdle to bad actors on the platform.

"Valve upping the cost of Steam Direct to $500 or $1,000, that's not going to put off the indie developer," he argued.

"Don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of money, but if you poured a year of your life into making a game and releasing it, that is not the barrier to entry. $100 is an amount of money that makes it worth your while doing an asset flip. It's also the amount of money that makes it worthwhile releasing something as a joke. It's not encouraging innovation; it's encouraging shit. Valve has the means to do it. I love Valve and what it does and I would urge them to take control of that situation."

You can read more from Rawlings in our upcoming interview about Steampocalypse

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.