All it takes is a quick look at the upcoming games tab on Steam and it’s easy to see that Steam is in desperate need of some quality control when it comes to its game releases. Elsewhere on Steam though, on the utility software side, some developers are suffering due to quality control they believe is too stringent.
Back in January, Andrew Sampson, a game and software developer who has worked on games like The Forest along with popular utilities such as Borderless-Gaming and Netflix Roulette, took to Steam Greenlight to try and get his utility software Steam Cleaner on to Steam.
It was essentially a utility that would locate and identify the large amounts of data left behind when you install a game through Steam, Origin, UPlay and GOG, then give the user the ability to delete those files, clearing up potentially gigabytes of storage.
Despite garnering a lot of attention and an obvious show of interest from users, Sampson received word on March 24 that Steam Cleaner was not compatible with Steam due to the fact that it deletes files.
Sampson holds that the utility only deleted recoverable files, but still made an updated version of the software specifically for Steam that removed the deletion option and received the following message back.
“I understand, and thank you for your changes. But to clarify: We are currently focusing on a categories of software for game developers and content creators. These are the valid categories of software that we are accepting for now:
• Animation & Modeling
• Audio Production
• Design & Illustration
• Photo Editing
• Video Production
We’d like to accept all kinds of software on Steam, but right now we need to focus on a smaller scope until we have better tools and processes in place.”
This message from Steam is interesting because under those guidelines, Sampson’s own Borderless-Gaming software, a top seller on steam, would not be accepted through Greenlight if he attempted today.
“Many developers like myself do what we do for free, we don’t do it with money in mind, we do it because we want to help create a better platform for PC. Putting open source/free software on Steam is a way to generate some revenue and keep the lights on, but with these new unannounced guidelines we’re officially being pushed out of a market we help make tolerable,” said Sampson. “The software section on Steam store is mostly vaporware or software no one is ever going to purchase. Quality products are being left in the dark with no real communication and a lot of wasted time.”
We’ve reached out to Steam for comment and clarification on their policies regarding utility software on Steam, and will update this story if/when we get a response.