Valve has pledged to sponsor the Game Devs of Color Expo (opens in new tab), which is set to take place on September 19, online, which organiser Shawn Alexander Allen has called "decent first steps" after the company was criticised for not making a statement about Black Lives Matter.
Allen, developer of side-scrolling beat’em up Treachery in Beatdown City, shared via Twitter that Valve would be a "big sponsor" in expo. According to Allen, Valve will also support the Black Voices in Gaming event hosted by Justin Woodward, director of development studio Interabang and organiser of the recent Guerrilla Collective digital games festival.
Allen's statement comes as response to a tweet (opens in new tab) by ART SQOOL developer Julian Glander, who, together with several other developers, announced he would be removing his games from Steam over Valve’s lack of statement regarding the Black Lives Matter protests.
tonight i pulled all my games from @steam and i don't see myself publishing with them ever again. i urge other indie devs to join me pic.twitter.com/JrtmdiGOdQJune 12, 2020
In the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25, several game developers and publishers (opens in new tab), such as Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and Don’t Starve Developer Klei, posted donation pledges and statements of solidarity on their social media channels.
Shortly after Glander's call for solidarity from other developers, Ghost Time Games founder Gabriel Koenig also tweeted about having put in a request to have his games removed from the platform. "Steam is nothing without our games. We have the power to demand change. Dev friends, consider using your voice. Steam will not be getting any more money from me," he said. He added that while the future loss of around $1000 a month in Steam sales made him uncomfortable, he felt he’d otherwise be "complicit with their silence on hate".
Indie developer Dan Sanderson, whose retro horror game First Winter is available on Steam, tweeted that it was "the very least [he] could do" and that "it’s the principle".
While Valve still hasn’t released an official statement, a spokesperson confirmed Allen’s tweets were accurate with Gamesindustry.biz.