Marketing is like dating on Tinder. You put up a flattering picture of yourself with a beautiful backdrop, doing some type of exciting thing, you write a flattering bio saying something about how you like “travelling” and being “adventurous” when the most exciting thing you’ve done that week was go to McDonalds in your pyjamas at 2 am. Games do a similar thing. They put up their most flattering doctored screenshots, concept art and character models, but never an actual old-fashioned Print Screen of the game in motion.
Valve, the owners of the PC platform (you know it to be true), shared some guidelines with developers about what they should do with their screenshots on their product pages on Steam. Here’s what was shared:
[quote]We haven’t been super crisp on guidelines for screenshots in the past, so we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some rules in this space. When the ‘screenshot’ section of a store page is used for images other than screenshots that depict the game, it can make it harder for customers to understand what the product is that they are looking at. Additionally, we’re going to start showing game screenshots in more places as described above, and these images need to be able to represent the game.
We ask that any images you upload to the ‘screenshot’ section of your store page should be screenshots that show your game. 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.
For elements such as marketing copy, awards you’d like to show off, or descriptions of your Deluxe Edition, we ask that you use the specific spaces already available on your store page to put that content rather than including it in your screenshots.
Dota 2 is an example of where we were doing it wrong ourselves. We’re now in the process of updating Dota 2 to use screenshots of the game rather than artwork.[/quote]
Oof, savage. But you have to agree with what was said. Games such as No Man’s Sky got away with posting “screenshots” of the game that were objectively not an accurate representation of the final product. You have probably seen countless other examples while browsing games on the platform. Considering that the “screenshot” section of the game’s page is supposed to give you an accurate example of what it is like playing the game, this is something that should have been a common practice at the start.
But you know how dogs are and all.
Good on Valve for taking steps to rectify this, even if it might be incredibly difficult to police and actually see widespread implementation.