Valve is cracking down on a practice known as “bullshotting” on Steam in which game developers use concept art or pre-rendered scenes as screenshots on their Steam store page. A new update to their service will absolutely require the use of real in-game screenshots to represent games being sold.
Bullshotting is no more, mostly
Steam’s Discovery 2.0 update is going to be a rather nice update in many different ways. Subtle tweaks here and there and a slightly better interface. But the best part is that developers will now be required to use actual in-game screenshots to represent the game they’re trying to sell. The verbiage, below, is rather clear about what cannot be used. Quite a few games try to use such tricks to make their game more alluring, even if it isn’t at all depict the game accurately at all.
“This means avoiding using concept art, pre-rendered cinematic stills, or images that contain awards, marketing copy, or written product descriptions.”
Ubisoft in particular are perhaps one of the more famous examples of a developer taking creative license when marketing their games. From clearly pre-rendered and post-processed trailers showing only concepts of gameplay to using concept art itself as a way to market their games. No Man’s Sky, too, was guilty of using this tactic as was The Witcher 3, even. Though this won’t necessarily outright stop it, the new rules and guidelines will at least help to turn it down to a more reasonable level. Like you, I sometimes use those screenshots as a basis for whether I’ll buy it. It doesn’t have to look amazing, I just want to see what gameplay is like. With the rise of YouTube, though, I can just watch someone play anyway, though. Good guy Valve.