NFT and Cryptocurrency Based Games Banned on Steam - Prima Games

NFT and Cryptocurrency Based Games Banned on Steam

by Morgan Shaver

As reported by outlets like The Verge, NFT-based video game Age of Rust has run into some serious issues with Steam – issues that shine a spotlight on whether games like Age of Rust are welcome on the platform. 

According to Age of Rust developer SpacePirate Games, they tried to be up front and honest about the contents of the game while trying to publish the game on Steam, but because of this honesty, Age of Rust has been removed. 

Looking at the reasoning behind Age of Rust’s removal, it seems like games based around NFTs, blockchain technology, and various cryptocurrencies are no longer allowed on Steam.

NFT and Cryptocurrency Based Games Banned on Steam

Indie game Age of Rust has been removed from Steam, with developer SpacePirate Games claiming this removal was due to it being categorized as a blockchain game.

As for why the game can be categorized this way, Age of Rust rewards players for solving in-game puzzles with NFTs and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. In the press information for Age of Rust, the following information can be found:

“Three types of puzzles will test your skills and intellect in the dystopian world of Age of Rust:

    • Adventure progress: furthering the story (e.g., find a hidden lever to open a door)
    • Crypto puzzles: require certain blockchain-based inventory and can issue crypto rewards. 4 BTC and 35,000+ ENJ / NFT bounties to be found
    • Crypto treasure hunt: the grand goal hidden behind clues spread across the game, combining for the treasure trove of a 20 Bitcoin (BTC) reward

Age of Rust will launch with 3 seasons, offering a total of 100 hours of story-driven gameplay. The 20 BTC grand prize will be discovered in the 3rd season, with another 4 BTC and 35,000+ other bounties and NFT treasures to be found along the way.”

Following the game’s removal from Steam, Age of Rust developer SpacePirate Games started a thread on Twitter with an update to the game’s community, letting them know about the removal of Age of Rust before going on to share their thoughts on the matter:

“Community: A few minutes ago, we were notified that @Steam will be kicking *all blockchain games* off the platform, including Age of Rust, because NFTs have value. Behind the scenes, we’ve had good communication and have been upfront with Steam. #blockchaingames  #NFT”

The developer also shared an image with this tweet that shows guidelines for what you shouldn’t publish on Steam. Looking over the bulleted list, the last listed example notes:

“Applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs.” 

As you can infer, this applies to games like Age of Rust. It also applies to other games like Age of Rust, and this is a sticking point the developer mentions in their Twitter thread.

“While I’m disappointed for Age of Rust being removed, the point is more to the fact that Blockchain games as a whole are going to be removed. This is a setback for all.”

They go on to say that while they respect Steam’s choice, they still believe NFTs and blockchain games are the future, hence the development of Age of Rust in the first place.

“Steam’s point of view is that items have value and they don’t allow items that can have real-world value on their platform. While I respect their choice, I fundamentally believe that NFTs and blockchain games are the future. It’s why I started this journey with all of you.”

Finally, the developer says they’re going to do more than try and fight Steam on this, and that they’ll continue to try and publish their game elsewhere.

“At this point, we will put our energy back into gamedev, creating more NFTs, & empowering the community than try to fight Steam alone. We will continue to publish our @madewithunity game elsewhere.”

Regardless of how you feel about NFTs, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency, it’s undoubtedly interesting to see Steam take such a firm stance on the matter by removing and forbidding these types of games from the platform as a whole.

As pointed out by The Verge, a Wayback Machine shows that back in August of this year, the rule about NFT and blockchain games was not listed. Additionally, the rule doesn’t appear on the page about joining the Steamworks Distribution Program

As such, it seems like this is a recent decision made by Valve, one that seems to come as something of a surprise to developers like SpacePirate Games. It’s unclear at the moment whether other platforms will follow suit, but it’s certainly not impossible now that Valve has drawn a virtual line in the sand so to speak.

The response to this stance has also been met with fairly positive reception, with gamers saying they don’t want these types of games on Steam. Given the consensus seems to support Valve, there’s no incentive for Valve to change their mind about the decision. 

We’re curious to hear your thoughts on the matter though. Are you happy that Valve isn’t allowing games that feature NFTs and cryptocurrency on Steam? Do you feel bad for the developer that their game has been rejected from Steam due to a rule that was only added recently?

Let us know in the comments below, or on our social media channels including Facebook and Twitter.

Related: What are NFT Games? — The Growing Crypto-Powered Gaming Space


Morgan Shaver

Morgan is a writer, metalhead, horror lover, and indie game enthusiast. When it comes to games, they love nothing more than to wax poetic about all the latest and greatest indies to anyone who'll listen. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver