Valve takes a pledge: No ads on Steam

For those worried about ads creeping onto their game consoles, Valve is promising that Steam will be a safe haven.

“We don’t see a case for that ever getting user value,” Valve’s Erik Johnson told GameSpot, when asked if users might ever see ads for a product like Doritos on the platform. “So we wouldn’t do it. I don’t think that those ever work, either. To take it a step further, I don’t think anybody buys Doritos as a result of that.”

Johnson added that Valve is trying to create long-term relationships, and that ads could have a negative influence while costing money to implement. “It would be a bad business decision, let alone just dumb,” he said.

It’s worth noting that Steam isn’t loath to promote itself. Players are routinely hit with splash pages advertising game sales and pre-orders, usually when launching the program or exiting a game. Still, these pop-ups arguably serve as useful information, and in any case they’re easy enough to disable. (Just go to Settings > Interface and uncheck the “Notify me” box.

Johnson and Valve are referring more to ads for unrelated products, and selling ad space to high bidders, rather than promoting games that Steam itself sells in its own store.

Why this matters: It’s unclear what prompted this question, but other game consoles do occasionally dedicate some dashboard space to product advertisements. With Valve now getting into the console business itself, staying ad-free is one way to score some points with gamers who are tired of having their eyeballs sold.


Jared Newman

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