Steam Makes Major Change To Store Image Rules

Steam Makes Major Change To Store Image Rules
Image: Valve

Shopping on the Steam Store is about to look very different. This is because Valve has handed down significant changes to the rules around the graphics and images used to sell games on the Steam platform.

In a blog post titled New Rules For Graphical Assets Capsules, Valve redraws the lines on the kinds of hero images (what Valve refers to as ‘capsules’) that can and can’t be used to draw a user’s attention in the Steam store.

“It’s our goal to make it as clear and straightforward as possible for customers to find games to buy and play on Steam,” reads the post. “Recently, we’ve noticed more text, award logos, and even review scores being included by game developers in their graphical asset images.”

They’re right. As the Steam Store has grown more crowded, a stand-out display image has become critical for luring potential customers. For some, this means plastering the image in review scores or awards to communicate its supposed quality. Unfortunately, over time, images have become so overstuffed with information that it can be hard to tell what kind of game you’re even looking at. Worse, many developers using the same assets globally aren’t localising their titles, alienating audiences from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Valve has had enough, and is putting its foot down.

“For example, some game logos themselves have become so small that it’s hard for players to tell what the name of the game is,” reads the post. “In other cases, graphical asset images are so cluttered with award logos and ratings that it is distracting and hard to read. Some capsules include review scores that are no longer accurate. We also see that in most cases this additional text on assets is presented in English language only, isolating much of the Steam audience that doesn’t speak English.”

Steam Makes Major Change To Store Image Rules
Image: Valve

Valve’s argument is that already provides space on each Steam Store page for the things developers and publishers are trying to stuff into their hero images. There are dedicated sections on every store page for things like discounts, review scores and prestigious awards. These things don’t need to appear in the store artwork.

The new rules for Steam Store capsules are fairly straightforward. According to Valve, the only text or logo that can now be used in capsule art must be that of the game’s title and/or subtitle.

Here’s the full list of rules:

  1. No review scores

    of any kind, including Steam reviews or external news sources

  2. No award names

    , symbols, or logos

  3. No discount marketing copy

    (eg. no “On Sale Now” or “Up to 90% off” text)

  4. No text or imagery promoting a different product

    . This includes no marketing of sequels or other titles in the same franchise.

  5. No other miscellaneous text

In the instance that a developer or publisher wishes to advertise a major update or seasonal event, there’s new rules for that too:

  1. Must use Artwork Overrides

    – When including text on a graphical asset, this MUST be uploaded as an Artwork Override with a length limit of one month.

  2. Must localize any text

    – Any text included on a graphical asset MUST be localized into at least the same set of languages supported by the game.

  3. Only to describe new content

    – The only acceptable additional text on a game capsule is words describing a major update to the game content, a new seasonal event, battle pass, DLC, or similar new content for the game.

These changes apply to the images used in the Steam Library as well, meaning your Library screen is about to receive a clean-up. Though the Library Capsule image is allowed to use a game’s title and subtitle, no other text is allowed. Library Hero images must now only display artwork with no text whatesoever. Library Logo images must now comprise of a game’s logo on a transparent background. No other words or text are allowed.

Valve says these rules will be enforced starting September 1.



  • I really like this change. The Summer Sale was so confusing thumbnail wise and I’m glad the company agrees with fixing it.

  • Oh how I weep for developers no longer being able to put front and centre some completely worthless ‘award’, given to their game by some obscure ‘leet gaming website’ frequented only by the site’s owner.

  • Be nice if they enforced actual game images, far to many images regarding games with an interface that is not shown, or parts of a cutsceen and not real game play.

    • This. Seriously, a dozen images from cut scenes and intro movies and concept art and promos not actually seen anywhere in the game itself and yet no actual gameplay? I mean, really…

  • I wish the Google Play store did something like this too. Every screenshot has a border around it, text and hero illustrations stamped over it, and you can barely see the screenshot or interface, if a screenshot is even present at all! It’s a bit of a sess-pit much like common monetization strategies.

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