Steam has a new set of rules for video games sold on its platform, as key art will no longer be allowed to display review scores or award logos from September 1. In an effort to make games on its marketplace clear and as readable for customers, video game key art needs to promote the game and not its critical reception.
There are multiple other reasons for this shift, which range from Steam admitting that its previous rules were vague to the fact that a game’s dedicated Steam page will still be allowed to show off review scores and awards handed out to it.
Another reason for the change is that some capsules include review scores that are no longer accurate, some accolades can be misleading, and the default use of English isolates much of the Steam audience that doesn’t speak the language.
“Press review quotes, press review scores, and special awards each have dedicated spaces on Steam store pages where it can be presented consistently and where customers can expect to find that information,” Steam explained on its blog.
In short, if a game’s key art includes review scores, award names, discount marketing copy, text or imagery promoting a different product, or other miscellaneous text, then those developers will need to draft updated key art for the game capsule that is displayed on Steam. For those games that have seasonal events and updates, they’ll need to use artwork overrides which essentially apply a new layer over the existing image.
There’s a long list of video game covers out there that have used every pixel of space possible to cram in some marketing copy in an attempt to appeal to fans. Some of the most notable examples include Batman: Arkham City’s Game of the Year Edition that made a great cover a cluttered mess, Uncharted 2 pitting Nathan Drake against a discount, and a boot full of Gears of War 3 beta in Bulletstorm’s Epic Edition cover.
The Killzone 3 cover with the E3 award logo on it, on the other hand, is still superb. For reasons.