Steam game art cannot include reviews or awards, says Valve

New rules ban the use of extraneous text and logos on Steam game art, with reviews, awards, and marketing in the crosshairs as Valve aims to tidy up its store

Steam game art rules: logo for a fake game, "Guitar Billionaire," with crossed-out review scores listed underneath

Steam game art cannot include extraneous text such as reviews or awards from September 1, in accordance with new guidance from Valve. The Steam developer is aiming to tidy up its storefront with new rules that ban the use of text outside of the game’s subtitle and title on its primary art asset.

The new ruleset is aimed at what Steamworks calls “capsules” – the primary banner images that are used to represent games throughout the Steam store. In a post on the Steam community site, Valve lays out their new guidelines for the graphical assets, saying that, “It’s our goal to make it as clear and straightforward as possible for customers to find games to buy and play on Steam.”

Valve says that an increase in text, award logos, promotional deals, and review scores being applied to these capsules has led to a lack of clarity on the store. The post continues, “Some game logos themselves have become so small that it’s hard for players to tell what the name of the game is. In other cases, graphical asset images are so cluttered that it is distracting and hard to read.”

The Steam developer also expresses concern that some review scores presented on an image may become outdated in cases where outlets update their reviews over time, which is increasingly common practice in a world of live-service games and downloadable content. As such, the new rules aim to clear up the images presented on Steam’s main store pages.

The new Steam “store graphical asset rules” read as follows: “Content on base graphical asset capsules on Steam is limited to game artwork, the game name, and any official subtitle.” Valve clarifies further with five additional rules:

  • No review scores of any kind, including Steam reviews or external news sources.
  • No award names, symbols, or logos.
  • No discount marketing copy (eg. no “On Sale Now” or “Up to 90% off” text).
  • No text or imagery promoting a different product. This includes no marketing of sequels or other titles in the same franchise.
  • No other miscellaneous text.

New Steam capsule art guidelines, showing multiple fake games with extraneous text crossed out on the images

Valve acknowledges a desire for developers to advertise major updates and seasonal events, and that reflecting these in the capsule art can benefit users. Developers are therefore permitted to use text describing new content such as DLC, battle passes, major updates, and seasonal events as a “capsule artwork override,” which can be set to replace the game’s usual capsule art for up to one month.

The new rules go into effect from September 1, and Valve has requested that all game developers make any changes needed to bring their art in line with the new guidelines before this date. It adds that “any game not adhering to these rules may have limits to visibility within the Steam store and will be ineligible for featuring in official Steam sales and events,” so there’s plenty of incentive for developers to ensure that they adapt their art quickly.

Elsewhere in Steam news, a recent PSA highlighted the service’s rather nifty controller lighting integration for players who might have missed it.