Steam Will Soon Require All Game Pages to Show Screenshots, Bullshots Not Specified [UPDATE]

Concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, and marketing images will not be allowed on store pages.

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[UPDATE] When asked if a game's featured screenshots would have to be something "that a player could realistically experience for themselves in the final game," a Valve representative forwarded us the notice it sent to developers today. We have since pushed the question again, specifically asking if screenshots like the ones on the Steam pages for Far Cry 3, Assassin's Creed III, and Assassin's Creed IV will be allowed. We'll update this article with anything further we receive.

Original story: Steam will soon require developers to only use screenshots in the relegated area on their store pages. Valve sent a notice to developers with this announcement, which was then shared by Facepunch forum user Sanjuaro.

The new guidelines come with the next store update, titled "Discovery Update 2.0," which is a "couple week away from going live." While Valve used the term "game" in its announcement, it clarified that the guidelines apply to any product that appears on Steam.

The notice starts with Valve stating it hasn't been "super crisp" on screenshot guidelines in the past, adding that it "would like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space." Valve said that it's going to show screenshots in more places on Steam, and it noted that non-screenshots, such as concept art and pre-rendered stills, make it harder for customers to understand what game they're looking at.

"We ask that any images you upload to the 'screenshot' section of your store page should be screenshots that show your game," Valve stated. "This means avoiding using concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, or images that contain awards, marketing copy, or written product descriptions.

"Please show customers what your game is actually like to play."

Image courtesy of Facepunch user Sanjuaro
Image courtesy of Facepunch user Sanjuaro

Valve noted that developers could still include stuff like marketing copy, awards, and game information on their store page, but it should be placed in the appropriate spaces that are already available for such things. The developer also didn't shy away from pointing out that it could be better at this, too.

"Dota 2 is an example of where we were doing it wrong ourselves," Valve admitted. "We're now in the process of updating Dota 2 to use screenshots of the game rather than artwork."

As you can see on Dota 2's Steam page, the concept art has been replaced by in-game screenshots. It's worth nothing that Valve didn't specify developers can't use bullshots, which are pre-release screenshots often taken at different angles and with more visual fidelity than a player would experience in the final game. We've contacted Steam to clarify whether these will be allowed.

You can see a full screenshot of the notice provided by Sanjuaro here.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Hurvl

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"bullshots... pre-release screenshots often taken at different angles and with more visual fidelity than a player would experience in the final game" Bullshot is one letter away from bullshit and given the above description, the similarity is quite fitting.

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naryanrobinson

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A kind of sense thought long lost has been resurrected at last.

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Garvielt

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This should be extended to trailers tbh.

No man sky had their original trailer as the first thing you see on steam after looking at that game for MONTHS after release. A trailer that in no way shape or form represents what people are actually buying.

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chiefwiggum16

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Edited By chiefwiggum16

Thank you Valve

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lostn

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It's about time. Steam sales are so impossible to sift through because of tens of thousands of indie games that you can't know what they are or what they look like until you click on them. The art work they used looks really attractive, but you click on it and it's 8 bit or 16 bit retro graphics. The art looks much prettier than the game itself.

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DaVillain-

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DaVillain-  Moderator

Awesome. One step in the right direction.

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WarFox89

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I love you Valve

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illage2

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Good.

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speed45823

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No Man's....I mean One Man's Lie and Witcher 3 should be top of that list.

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wexorian

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@speed45823: Witcher 3 really??? because of what graphic downgrade? ooh please it looks fantastic and there were tons of videos that were showing people what game was look a like.

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speed45823

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Edited By speed45823

@wexorian: Witcher 3 doesn't look "Fantastic". It used to look fantastic before the downgrade but now it looks alright at best. After the downgrade, there's constant texture popping, low res textures, cardboard foliage, low quality lighting, jelly-like water surfaces, poor draw distance with tons on close up fog to hide it all up and lots of other visuals that were downgraded.

If anything, it was a fantastic downgrade because it was one of THE worst downgrade ever surpassing even Watch Dogs. Heck, there's quite a few open world games that came before and after Witcher 3 that were visually superior to that game. At the moment, there's like 14 screenshots of Witcher 3 on Steam and more than 90 percent of them are bullshots aka pre-downgraded screenshots. Its been more than a year and a half since Witcher 3's release and they still hasn't changed those pre-downgraded bullshots. People were / are up in arms about No Man's Sky bullshots in mare days but when its Witcher 3 bullshots, there's nothing wrong with it? They get a free pass? It doesn't work like that.

False advertising is false advertising. No company, how great or terrible, are above it. And defending them and these practices only hurts the customers and only stands to benefit these companies. if CDPR is not answerable for its lying and false advertising, then other companies could follow them and engage in similar tactics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX_WePhiYHE

http://imgur.com/a/8I1He

http://imgur.com/a/K3uFC

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Vojtass

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@speed45823: Showing that trailer from E3 was CDPR's mistake, but they shown plenty of other footage later and right before release. So that one advert was corrected. Game still looks really good.

BTW - do you know why the graphics were downgraded?

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wexorian

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@speed45823: Decent looking? it looks wayy more better than most of games out on market now, Not to talk about content ,story,characters and gameplay.

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speed45823

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@wexorian: In terms of visual, no, Witcher 3 is not the best looking open world game out there. To compare, there are better looking titles such as Dragon Age Inquisiton, Batman Arkham Knight, Just Cause 3, Rise of The Tomb Raider, Mad Max and future titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn etc. None of these titles had to downgrade and still looks far superior than Witcher 3.

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TronnyHoney

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@speed45823: Witcher 3 is the one of the best looking titles to date, and the BEST looking open world game to date.

Only reason you mentioned it here because you are probably pissed about how many times over it beat your beloved fallout4 in GOTY category last year.

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speed45823

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@tronnyhoney: Speculation much? Witcher 3 rightly deserved the GOTY award and NOT Fallout 4. Even I stopped playing the game after 20 hours or so. But is Witcher 3 the best looking open world game out these? Absolutely not. Its good looking but there are far superior looking games out there. To give a few examples: Dragon Age Inquisiton, Batman Arkham Knight, Just Cause 3, Rise of The Tomb Raider, Mad Max and future titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn.

If Witcher 3 didn't downgrade then yes, absolutely it would've been THE best looking open world game and one of the best looking games out these. We got a little taste of that in the pre-downgraded footage / screenshots. But now? Its not. CDPR lied and false advertised their product and they should remove those bullshots from Steam.

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crashndash

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@wexorian: the idea is that they need to make an example of everyone who isn't showing what the game actually looks like, the moment you let one game do it everyone else will. It seems like a bit of a backlash of the false advertising some companies use, I believe it may be because of the whole fiasco of that one game that promised the universe but gave a galaxy (as well as removing a lot of other stuff).

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TheFroggynator

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If a developer uses artworks in their loading screens, can't they then post those on the store page? :)

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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@TheFroggynator: Like when movies cram three songs into the end credits & sell them on the soundtrack?

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rob909e

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Like the big ass sand worm pic on the No man's sky lie steam page

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jessie82

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wont they just use pictures from some obscure game no one knows claiming its theirs?

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Thanatos2k

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Now to punish people who use screenshots that aren't actually in the game.

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Avatar image for deactivated-58a78a043e9d4
deactivated-58a78a043e9d4

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@Thanatos2k: Like the canoe in AC3. That ain't in it.

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catsimboy

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Like spraying Febreeze on a landfill. Not a lot will change without active curation of the inexorable tide of trash washing up on Early Access. They might hurt some feelings if they start blocking the worst of the worst but there's far too many games that aren't even 10% finished being sold under the spirit of "Give us money, help us out, we'll finish it we promise"

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Dissentioncc

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@catsimboy: Then don't buy early access. I've never understood why anyone would pay for a game that is incomplete just to test it out. Wouldn't you get bored of it by the time it actually releases?

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catsimboy

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@Dissentioncc: You don't need to buy bad early access games for bad early access games to be a nuisance. There are some legit early access games but they're buried underneath all the terrible ones so you can't tell which is which.

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deactivated-58a78a043e9d4

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@catsimboy: Well Microsoft and Sony actively curate, they have the exact same screenshots. I don't think active curation of early access is really necessary, stronger rules perhaps, but it's there to allow any developer to have a shot without having to spend all their time trying to sell the game. It was almost impossible for smaller developers to get noticed under the old curation-only system because they'd get squished by AAA and AA games. What needs curation is greenlight and full releases, including those coming out of early access.

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catsimboy

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@pongley: "It was almost impossible for smaller developers to get noticed under the old curation-only system because they'd get squished by AAA and AA games." Well now they get don't get noticed because they're a drop in the ocean of all the other early access stuff. Have a good survival game for once? Too bad because it's going to be written off with every other early access survival game that released in pre-beta.

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R4gn4r0k

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@catsimboy: "Like spraying Febreeze on a landfill." at least that is a start :)

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skipper847

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I thought the time has come as well with all these great graphics not to show (NOT IN GAME FOOTAGE) on adverts

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deactivated-58a78a043e9d4

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@skipper847: The trouble is they do, but they use the deceptive "In-engine footage" instead.

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BabeNewelll

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Good , Good.

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DAOWAce

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They have no real way of blocking bullshots since it is actually in-game screenshots. Would have to verify things by hand; either by themselves or from reports by users.

Sad, as I'd love them to be blocked too. We've already been dealing with this from AAA game companies for years now, really scummy.

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Acidic__Thought

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@DAOWAce: Agreed, The Division has some terrible bullshots on its page and there's no reporting system or anything we can do to report them. Heck, they use the same shots on the Xbox store and we all know the X1 version doesn't look nearly as good as the PC version, which doesn't look nearly as good as the bullshots.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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Valve is slow but at least they're finally moving forward on stuff like this. I'm not sure this will prevent the next No Man's Sky from happening but it's a good step.

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ProfChrisK

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Edited By ProfChrisK

FINALLY! I'd like to see this as a trend w/ all game sites (GoG, Gamestop, Console-based stores, ect..) I'd rather see the actual product than some CG concept art or non-in game trailers/sizzle reel.

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definer0

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Edited By definer0

As much as I love concept art, there are better places for it

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somberfox

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Awesome, this should be a rule for all online game sellers.

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

Probably for the best.

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