Valve Removes School Shooting Game From Steam

After a maelstrom of controversy that had mainstream news outlets and an anti-gun violence charity weighing in, Valve has removed mass shooting game Active Shooter from Steam.

The unreleased game drew furore last week over its shameless exploitation of tragic subject matter. Valve, meanwhile, took flack from fans and outlets alike for allowing the game in the first place.

Today, Valve yanked the game's store page listing from Steam - along with every other game by Revived Games and publisher Acid. Why? Turns out, this developer had already gotten a well-deserved boot from Steam once before.

"This developer and publisher is, in fact, a person calling himself Ata Berdiyev, who had previously been removed last fall when he was operating as '[bc]Interactive' and 'Elusive Team,'" a Valve rep said in a statement to Kotaku.

The rep went on to describe him as a "troll" who has "a history of customer abuse, publishing copyrighted material, and user review manipulation." While Valve was investigating the Active Shooter controversy, it figured out Berdiyev's real identity.

"We are not going to do business with people who act like this towards our customers or Valve," the rep said.

What that means is that Valve didn't exile Berdiyev from Steam explicitly because Active Shooter was a steaming mound of insensitive dog vomit. However, the Valve rep added that it's not turning a blind eye to concerns about the kinds of games that are allowed on Steam.

"The broader conversation about Steam's content policies is one that we'll be addressing soon," he said.


Comments

    "The unreleased game drew furore last week over its shameless exploitation of tragic subject matter."

    When you have 23 school shootings happen this year (so far) in the US at what point does it, sadly, become a standard and in my opinion no longer exploitable subject matter but a comment of the society. Obviously this game seemed to be a for lack of a better term 'cash-grab' but how long will it be before a more sombre/serious game is released that tackles this issue and how will it be received?

      That's more than one a week. :(

        It's odd how more action was taken on a virtual school shooting than the, yes, one a week that happens presently. Offended by the virtual, meh about the real-world.

      I didn't realize there had been so many. It must be terrible for parents. How can you feel at piece sending your kids to school in these conditions :(

        It's a nightmare situation and as a father of 3, one that I'm very thankful I don't have to face.

        America has the power to stop this, they just don't have the balls.

        You treat it as normal, and have the kids perform regular lockdown drills, where they all hide under their tables and the teacher locks the doors tries to make sure none are visible from the classroom windows. It's a small price to pay for the right to buy an AR-15.

          So basically turn schools into prisons with regular earthquake drills.

          I'm sure that'll have no impact on a students ability to feel safe, secure and ready to learn.

            I wasn't making up the idea of lockdown drills: this is what is actually happening in US schools these days. It almost certainly has negative effects, either traumatising the kids or normalising the shootings.

            It just seems none of the politicians have the backbone to address the problem from the supply side.

    That screenshot with the law enforcement officers in it is making me wonder about the ethics of Payday 2, in which 99% of games play out like ‘Mass Cop-Killing Simulator 2014.’

    Sure, Payday penalizes you slightly for killing civilians, but that’s about it as far as moral differences. I guess it’s better because you’re murdering innocent police officers for money instead of revenge/frustration? That... seems dubious.

      I agree, there's a lot of weirdly immoral acts in games once you dig in but I think there's a sort of clear "video game" line, and the problem usually stems when games go over that line, like in this instance and maybe also for that "Hatred" game.

      It's all perspective though, so it's really hard to gauge, discuss or deal with because it's a muddied field of muddy topics.

        the problem is think is that active shooter hits really close to home. things like payday or shooters focusing on being terroists globally have a disconect because the terrorist actions are often far away and you barely hear about bank robberies like payday outside of a movie anymore where it was already acceptable.

        The big issue that I see here is that the dev made a specific decision that was destined to court controversy, that being to base the setting in a school with children being the victims. In that environment, there is no way to say that the victims could all just happen to be adults, as could be said if it were set in a shopping mall or a stadium. No, the dev deliberately chose a setting in which, on any given day, in any given scenario, and with that many NPCs running around the occupants are overwhelmingly going to be assumed to be minors. Comparing it to Postal, Hatred, etc. doesn't hold up because none of those games actually put the player in a setting where they would be explicitly killing children, which is a whole new level of taboo in society; everyone you get to kill in those games are adults in no uncertain terms. True, Super Columbine Turkey Shoot did the same as this game but you don't see that one making money on Steam. This tells me that either the dev didn't think too hard about possible premises for the game, or they're going for the free publicity cash-grab by deliberately making it so controversial. I see no evidence here that they're trying to spur conversation about actual school shootings, though I might think differently if the player took the role of a student or group of students working to take out the shooter only with the items in the school, if it had some kind of arc or narrative to it. I'd say "at it's core" but that implies that there's more to it when there isn't, so, instead, all this game is, is very basic Counter Strike in a setting deliberately chosen to play the perpetual too-soon card and make money off of the resulting furore.
        (Reposted from a comment that I posted on YouTube about the same topic)

          You can kill/execute children in the original Postal/Postal Redux. But it's indescriminate - you can execute anyone in the game.

          It's funny you have problems with games like Postal and Hatred but don't seem to know/care about things like Rape Lay or Under Ash. There are some crazy neo nazi games out there too, which don't deserve mention.

            I never indicated that a have a problem with Hatred or Postal; I stated that they don’t put the player in a setting where the potential and likely victims are nearly-exclusively children, as Active Shooter does, which was my point: Ata made a product deliberately designed to court controversy with a highly provocative premise in order to make money from people attracted to that controversy. Again, had it been based in another setting that was occupied by adults, like a shopping centre or office building, then it wouldn’t have even been a blip on the radar.

            I don’t consider Rape Lay to be a game, nor worthy or mention either. I’m not sure why you brought it and the Neo Nazi “games” up. Sorry, I’m not familiar with Under Ash. I mentioned games that have been in the spotlight in recent years and were fresh in my mind. Just because I didn’t mention other deplorable games/products doesn’t mean that I like them or agree with whatever message they might be conveying. I thought that was common knowledge and was the case with most people, so I didn’t feel the need to state it. I mean, really, if I make the statement, “I disagree with shooting innocent people on the street,” that doesn’t mean I think it’s ok to shoot them in a building, or stab them anywhere, or commit other acts of violence against them.

      I play Payday 2, "99% of games play out like Mass Cop-Killing Simulator 2014" Really? You just took Payday out of context for you opinion, Payday is a co op heist game, There are heists where there Isn't even any police officers, There are stealth only heists where if you break stealth it's game over, Payday builds of certain realities in the real world to make a game world but to then say that because of those realities it is somehow responsible for real world violence is ridiculous, The police officers in game have comedic values attached to them like the player characters like the cloaker , The cloaker is a ninja swat officer who hides under beds or behind doors to jump out & roundhouse kick you while saying "Stop hitting yourself " Saying Payday is a "Mass Cop-Killing Simulator" is hardly fair, Context is everything.

        Oh, I loved the idea of Payday 2 as a nonlethal stealth-heist game, but that's not how it ended up playing 99% of the time for any game I joined, and not appropriate for 99% of the weapons/equipment that ended up being added until I abandoned interest in it. There was no such thing as a game in the highest-reward modes that didn't start with people in full suits of bomb-proof/riot armour.

        For reference, at the time I stopped playing, the highest level enemy was the bulldozer. So I gather with those ninja additions, Cop-Killer Simulator 2014 was more Farming Simulator style, where Cop-Killer Simulator 2018 is more like Goat Simulator?

    Fix the underlying issue (guns) first

    Get ready to groan, everyone.

    The game was made by Ata Berdiyev.

      Good ole BC Interactive. What was he previously removed from Steam for? Was it for being a massive dick to everyone who called him out for blantant asset flips or was it for threatening Steam users/customers?

        Steam seemed fine with all his 100% asset flips he'd release without modification, they also didn't seem to have a problem with any of the barely functioning meme games he'd cobble together in an hour, nor could they care less about his abusive behaviour towards Steam users.

        It was only when he released his Pickle-Rick game which would have inevitably drawn the unwanted attention of companies with lawyers that they decided to act.

          Hate to say it but that doesn't much surprise me about Steam.

            Not surprising at all, funnily enough I just came home this evening to find I've had my Steam Community Privileges suspended for 2 weeks because I pointed out (politely, mind you) on a forum thread for the latest RewindApp 100% asset flip that the game was a 100% asset flip.

            The last time I had this happen (same developer, same reason) Valve's response was that I should work with the developer to find out why I was banned (yeah, that will work), and that moderators can have their own forum rules (including not exposing the "developer's" shady business practices, apparently). All because Valve can't be bothered to even pretend to give the slightest shit about what makes it onto their store. Unless high-profile YouTubers get involved.

        Usually I'd have something comedic and/or hyperbolic to satirise such people.

        But like with Graham Burke of Village Roadshow, Berdiyev has long since stopped being funny so I'll keep to the facts. A SidBeta if I maybe cheeky. Or a home-brand-biscuit.

        Ata Berdiyev is basically an asset flipper of the worst degree. He took Unity assets (in some cases, example tutorials) and put little to no effort into them before releasing on Steam Greenlight (back in the day).

        He didn't even bother to change the freaking name of them at times.

        And like a typical asset flipper of the worst degree (still pales to Andrew Watt though - #notaprivacyviolation), any negative comment about his products (I refuse to call them games) were either flagged or removed from the Steam forums.

        And when contacted via Twitter, etc., as the more inclined do to keep integrity when reporting on matters, he was out right abusive and condescending. And like others (Watt and Mauer - #againnotaprivacyviolation), abused DMCA take downs to censor those calling Berdiyev out.

        Yet this never got him removed.

        He was only removed after putting up a game called Piccled Ricc. And yes, you could probably guess by the title, he made not only an asset flip (again) but had the gaul to put a minimally modified version of the Rick and Morty character.

        So there you have it. He only got removed not for his own actions. But because he put Valve in danger of a copyright infringement suit.

        Until now, the last I had heard of Berdiyev was he started a petition to try and get back on Steam.

          Valve are the laziest gits in the gaming industry today. They don't make ANYTHING of their own any more, they just lounge around on their fat asses skimming money off the sales of everything sold on Steam, which is why they've just shrugged their shoulders and allowed ANY asshole with a shovel full of garbage to come in and try to rip people off. They don't care about ANYTHING until it involves any potential effort on their part- remember how they didn't lift a FINGER about Digital Homicide until DH subpoena'd them for the details of 100 anonymous Steam users, at which Valve went "Oh holy shit, this could mean a FUSS!" and immediately banned them, despite all the toxic shit they'd engaged in up to them without a problem? Or how they have no problem with, let's be honest, porn games being sold on their platform as long as they're at least basically censored (requiring a simple patch to restore) but as soon as a bunch of self-righteous, moralistic busybodies threaten to cause them trouble they freak out and threaten to take down a bunch of basically harmless games because it's easier than opposing the censors? Valve will do anything to ensure that they have to put in only the minimal effort to keep their money rolling in and they don't give a SHIT about anything or anyone else.

    At what point would such a game stop being a training tool for would be high school shooters and start becoming a survival training tool for children who want to give themselves better odds at surviving a school shooting? It seems to me that American kids could surely use one.

      Please disregard previous statement if you were actually suggesting we need a school shooting game where you play as a victim and try to survive, rather than my first-glance interpretation that you were suggesting this game could be used to help train kids to fight back against school shooters. If I misunderstood you, I apologise.

      If my first-glance interpretation was actually correct and you ARE suggesting this game could be useful to train kids to out-shoot school shooters, then you're still a moron. But I'm hoping I was the one who made the silly mistake here.

    In two minds about this. On the one hand, it's great that Valve actually took the fucking game down, because it's vile and inexcusable and all those douchebags whining about "free speech" need to be kicked in the balls. On the other hand, did Valve ONLY take it down once they'd discovered a "safe" reason to do so, so they could hold up their hands when the whiny douchebag brigade came crying and say "We weren't censoring anything, the guy is a known troll who we'd already decided to sever business relations with."? Because they didn't need an excuse to take this down, and the response to any whiny douchebags should be "Shut the fuck up", not "We took it down for a totally different business-related reason".

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