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Steam Age Gate

Every time I open steam and try and view a game that is rated M (or equivalent rating), the Steam age gate always asks me for my birthday before I can continue. At least the birthday is pre-filled out, but it seems like it should just let me past. Does everyone get this, or is it just me? And how can I make it stop doing that and just remember that I am allowed to see mature content because I'm a grown up person... at least in years

  • 65
    Have you tried growing a beard? – Doozer Blake Nov 17 '14 at 0:11
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    If I recall right, it asks every time. – Ash Nov 17 '14 at 0:12
  • I'd like to know as well. Seems like other Steam users are in the same situation. – Anto Nov 17 '14 at 1:06
  • @DoozerBlake Ha! That's the oldest trick in the book. I could let you have some near-grog. It doesn't have any alcohol in it... – Kevin Nov 30 '16 at 17:05
36

It's definitely by design. From this topic:

Tito Shivan (Steam moderator):
As mentioned, the client does save the age. And whether it's saved or not, they won't disable the step of having to click and accept before entering the game page. It's a feature to remove any responsibility from Valve in case anyone not meant to visits the page (hence lying about their age)
It's a way to avoid stupid lawsuits.

The thread also mentions law texts excerpts that may help to understand. For example:

2.2 If the audio-visual content contains material from a Mature-rated or Adults Only-rated game (or one that is anticipated to receive either rating), display an ESRB-compliant age-gate prior to access or purchase.


You can now skip that validation step entirely:

enter image description here

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    Many years ago they used to have a warning label on the side of the dot matrix printer head in three languages. When translated from the other two languages, the warning read 'Warning Hot'. In English it was written 'Warning Hot. Do not touch'. Particularly in the USA lawsuits are endemic. The chosen method for Steam as Anto correctly states, is to cater for that environment. – Ian Macintosh Nov 17 '14 at 10:06
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    Luckily for ESRB, underage kids have never considered lying about their age, so this is guaranteed to keep kids out. That's the real lawsuit prevention, naturally. – corsiKa Nov 17 '14 at 17:21
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    I will add that if you have the Enhanced Steam plugin (crhome or firefox) then it will move onto the next screen for you automatically - It also has the benefit of telling you if Steam really does have the best price – SeanC Nov 17 '14 at 19:41
  • It seems they changed that in a very recent client patch, because the last two or five times I went to an age-checked page (in the client), I got 1st January 2018 as preset, but I do recall it was my previously-entered birthdate before that. – Jürgen A. Erhard Jun 14 '18 at 15:53
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The age verification date is stored locally only. You can see this for yourself if you login to Steam with your browser in Incognito mode, or after having cleared your cookies. It is never stored on Steam's servers at all, likely due to potential privacy concerns (or they just didn't feel like storing all that data).

There's no real way to bypass the age-gate either. The ESRB's guidelines are rather specific about an age-gate system that cannot be circumvented or gamed (if you tell Steam that you're 14, it will store a session cookie that won't let you go back and try again). The best you can really do is just deal with it, and be thankful that at least Steam is smart about keeping your birthdate (or fake birthdate) stored somewhere.

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    Cannot be circumvented or gamed? Don't you just have to make up a birth date? – Thomas Bonini Nov 17 '14 at 5:45
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    You could probably write a user script to auto fill that box – ratchet freak Nov 17 '14 at 11:34
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    @AndreasBonini, Gabe has stated that 33% of the responders to that questions were born on January 1st – SeanC Nov 17 '14 at 19:43
  • Worth noting that if you accidentally put in a < 18 age you can just clear your cookies to reset it (did it once by clicking through too fast). – Wjousts Nov 18 '14 at 15:03
  • The cookie system, by the way, is not "clever" by any means and provides abyssal user experience should someone misenter their birth date. That, plus the annoyance of the prompt every single time, plus 1/3 of users (!!!) entering a fake birth date is very indicative of how bad of an idea this is. – Thomas Bonini Nov 18 '14 at 18:56
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The question of "why" has been already answered, but for the "And how can I make it stop doing that" part while it's not possible in the client itself, Enhanced Steam browser plugin offers an option to skip the age gates if you want to (among other features). It's available for Chrome, Opera and Firefox browsers and there's a separate stand-alone client too.

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