Valve has informed developers that it will no longer be allowing games built on blockchain technology that issue or allow for the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs (non-fungible tokens) on Steam.
This morning the company reached out to developers like SpacePirate Games, the team behind Age of Rust to inform them of the policy change, which is now officially listed under Valve's Rules and Guidelines for game developers. SpacePirate chose to remove Age of Rust from Steam rather than remove its cryptocurrency assets, since the whole raison d'etre of Age of Rust is to let players earn NFT assets by solving puzzles.
This is welcome news for developers concerned both about the growing impact of cryptocurrencies on climate change (some currencies can emit more CO2 than small nations), and for developers worried about the numerous crypto scams that have cost purchasers thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars.
Valve's interest in banning crypto products may be less about the environment and more its continued distaste for games that treat digital items as real-world assets. In 2019, it altered how Counter-Strike loot works to counter money laundering. At the time, players could earn loot boxes for free playing Counter-Strike, but could only open them by buying (or trading for) keys from Valve for real money.
By the time the key system was shut down, Valve stated that "nearly all key purchases that end up being traded or sold on the marketplace are believed to be fraud-sourced."
We've reached out to Valve for comment on this policy change, and will update our story if they respond.