Steam adds customizable way to filter offensive language

Steam will add a way for players to block offensive language on the platform.

Valve’s Steam Labs program, which tests features, released Experiment 011 on Thursday. The Steam Text & Chat Filtering feature enables people to block specified words or phrases.

While it doesn’t ban certain text outright, filtering offers a system to “empower” players to play games without encountering language they find offensive, according to a statement from Valve.

The Text & Chat Filtering feature includes two default lists that include profanity and slurs on one and racial, ethnic, and religious slurs on the other. It also offers the ability to add unique words and phrases to the filter. Valve said it will continue to refine its default lists based on user data.

“We believe this level of control is especially important given that language is constantly evolving and is used differently among various communities around the world,” Valve stated.

Blocked-out words will appear as symbols, and the feature works across supported games and chat systems.

Valve also provided a guide to developers on how to filter text in their games.

Text & Chat Filtering builds on a similar program the developer implemented in June for games like Destiny 2Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The new setting also comes as the industry is seeing other publishers and developers begin to take action against toxic behavior. Xbox and Electronic Arts launched similar message-filtering capabilities last year. EA also encouraged players to report harassment and offensive behavior.

It could be a while before Valve decides whether it will permanently implement the program. Valve’s Experiment 004: Search, which provides more filters when using the Steam store, started in September 2019 before its full launch in February 2020. The successful Experiment 008: Play Next, which recommends other games based on player libraries, began in February 2020 before its May launch. Given these time spans, Text & Chat Filtering will likely go through a monthslong process before Valve decides whether it will launch the program on a broader scale. That will likely include community feedback on the feature.

Digital Trends reached out to Valve for additional comment and will update this story when we hear back..

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