After declaring that it wouldn’t police the Steam marketplace a few days ago, Valve has removed a couple more controversial titles from its platform. AIDS Simulator, ISIS Simulator, Suicide Simulator, Asset Flip Simulator, and Triggering Simulator are no longer available on Steam. All of these titles were developed by a company called BunchOD00dz and seem to share a similar theme: “trolling.”
While most people probably won’t bemoan their absence, I still have questions about what “trolling” even means to Valve. In an interview yesterday with VentureBeat about the removal of Active Shooter, Valve communications boss Doug Lombardi said, “We rejected Active Shooter because it was a troll, designed to do nothing but generate outrage and cause conflict through its existence…And to be explicit, while the developer behind it was also a troll, we’d reject Active Shooter if it had been submitted by any other developer.”
While that does clarify that the removal of Active Shooter wasn’t solely based on its developer’s actions, it still doesn’t shed light on why AIDS Simulator is only now getting the boot. Does it really take Valve a week to look at something with such a provocative title? Does no one give a flying hell about what gets approved for the platform until people start complaining?
I’m just so flabbergasted that a company with Valve’s resources can’t be bothered to put in the tiniest bit of manpower to prevent games like this from appearing on its platform. I understand Valve wants to have an open-door policy and let users decide what is controversial for them, but clearly a game titled AIDS Simulator was never meant to be social commentary about the United States’ lackluster healthcare system. This was envisioned by its developer, approved for release by Valve, and then made it to the storefront without any blockades. That doesn’t sound like a system that is working.