Scottish politicians call for legislation after Steam’s distribution slip-ups

Scottish politicians call for legislation after Steam’s distribution slip-ups

Politicians in the UK have called for a review of legislation following Steam’s unruly and largely open digital storefront.

This comes in the wake of this week’s announcement, and subsequent removal, of the sensitively named Rape Day on Steam. While a game of this scale would have ordinarily flown under the radar, the chosen content matter blew it into the public eye.

Since news broke, Steam’s reactionary approach to curation has attracted the attention of Scottish politicians, who called for a government review of tech companies and gaming platforms.

“It’s time for the UK government to undertake a full review into how tech companies and gaming platforms – specifically Steam – are able to get away with this kind of stupidity,” said Hannah Bardell MP, member of the Scottish National Party.

“The culture to seek forgiveness rather than permission is a stain on an industry that otherwise has the potential to be a real force for good.”

Scottish Parliament first minister Shona Robinson seconded those remarks and supported Bardell’s call for a review to potentially strengthen legislation on what can and cannot be published online. While any decision taken by Scotland or the UK wouldn’t be a huge deal for the privately-owned US-based Valve, it could have an effect on what Steam users in the UK can access.

The game has since been removed from Steam’s platform, but not because of its outright offensive content. No, instead, a game centred on sexual assault posed “ unknown costs and risks”.

Robinson did, at least, commend Steam for taking action. She added: “I am delighted that Steam has rejected the distribution of this incredibly shocking game on their online platform.”

Either way, this week continues to pile up evidence against Valve’s decision last year to eschew what little curation it had entirely unless a game fit its vague definition of “illegal or “trolling.”

The UK's Department for Culture, Media and Sport is also looking into the dangers of technology, including video games

Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 100 Rising Star list.