Steam Game Has Bizarre License Agreement

A Steam user who scrolled through an indie game’s license agreement on Valve’s popular storefront found that they agreed to a little more than they expected, and shared an image of the unusual EULA online. While PC gamers have become reluctantly accustomed to scrolling through lengthy license agreements before being able to install and play games on Steam, the terms imposed by independent platform game developers have left some gamers scratching their heads.

Valve’s Steam platform, first launched in 2003 as a way for developers to gain more control over the release of updates and patches for their games, has since grown to become the dominant digital distribution of PC games. Despite publisher EA’s repeated attempts to build its own digital storefront, and rival Epic Games Store’s steady stream of free games, no company has yet matched the reach of Valve’s popular service. As has become common with many console games in recent years, Steam users must agree to sometimes onerous licensing agreements for games purchased on the platform before they’re allowed to install them.

In a new post on the r/Steam subreddit, user PSY-FI64 shared a screenshot of an unusual clause they found in the license agreement for indie game Arclight Beat. Arclight Beat is described on its store page as a “minimalistic rhythm-based 3D platformer,” and its license agreement contains language that made many Redditors hesitate to read the fine print. In addition to the usual statement relieving developers and publishers of liability to players, Arclight Beat’s EULA on Steam states that publisher DigiPen does not warrant that “this software is free from malicious programs” such as “viruses, Trojan horses, worms”, macros, etc. ”

While it’s not uncommon for players to encounter some weird things on Steam, it’s usually the content of the games on offer rather than their legal terms of use that give players pause. Some Redditors wondered if the unusual EULA might have been copied and pasted from agreements used for freeware sites that don’t offer the same type of malware protection that Valve does on Steam. Another commenter joked that reading the ominously worded warning was like “stumbling upon ‘asbestos-free’ cereal in the breakfast aisle”. Trying to find some explanation for the terms of the agreement, other responses pointed out that since DigiPen is a game design school, the language was probably inserted to protect the school’s code if students publish projects containing malware.

Despite the unusual language contained in the EULA, Steam users interested in trying out the Arclight Beat music platform for themselves are unlikely to worry about getting a virus on their machine. Though players who prefer to play it safe may still want to hold off on installing the game on their new Steam Deck handheld.

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