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An Open Letter to Steam
An Open Letter to Steam
To whom it may concern,
This is an official open letter directed to Valve Corporation, developer of the video game distribution platform Steam. We are a group of Hong Kongers who submitted the game “Liberate Hong Kong” (1179160) onto Steam on the 18th of October, 2019 (Ticket: HT-DQ6T-RM25-44V5).
“Liberate Hong Kong” is a virtual experience meant to enable people all around the world to comprehend the demonstrations organized by Hong Kong protestors in the current Anti-ELAB movement. Players can dive into the first-person perspective of a protestor during a handful of confrontations with the local police force and the government's regime.
The extremely slow progress of reviewing our submission has made us raise some questions. It has also come to our attention that a dystopian visual novel “Karma”, submitted to Steam, took a similarly questionable amount of time to review and publish. The developer of “Karma” stated that “revenue made from Karma during first six months of its publication will be donated to organizations in order to support the Hong Kong Democracy Movement”.
We would like to ask Valve, what is the current status of our submission and its review? According to the Steamworks Documentation website (https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/store/review_process), the review process ”typically takes 3-5 business days to complete”. However, nearly 2 months have passed since our submission. We also inquired about updates on October 30th and November 26th, but we did not receive a reply.
We are deeply concerned by this situation. We would be grateful if Valve could at least provide detailed information regarding:
- the specific review process “Liberate Hong Kong” is going through;
- an expected time frame for approval;
- the reason behind rejection, if “Liberate Hong Kong” ends up rejected.
On the Internet and in global commerce, there have been numerous instances of political censorship against content related to the Hong Kong protests and the Anti-ELAB movement, and it would not come as a surprise to people of the free world if this were to become another case of such censorship, enacted in order to stay on good terms with a certain oppressive regime, while helping suppress democracy, freedom, and human rights. Even so, we sincerely hope that our presumption will be proven wrong, and that Steam as a platform allows and supports freedom of expression, particularly for voices that do not agree with governments, voices facing oppression, voices of the people.
We would like to urge people from everywhere around the world to please pay close attetion to further development on this matter, and to whether or not the story of our game ends up being yet another violation of the freedom of speech and expression of the people of Hong Kong.
We look forward to a favourable reply.
Yours faithfully,
Liberate Hong Kong Game Team
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