Steam is riddled with developers who release “fake games” with the intent of exploiting the system for illegitimate gains. Valve has known this for years but is finally taking steps to introduce new changes that will put a stop to it all.
According to the platform owner, such fake games are usually sold on Steam for incredibly low prices. The goal of these developers is to make profits through Trading Cards associate with the games, which generate a certain share of revenue according to the platform’s policies.
“These fake developers take advantage of a feature we provide to all developers on Steam, which is the ability to generate Steam keys for their games,” explained Valve. “They generate many thousands of these keys and hand them out to bots running Steam accounts, which then idle away in their games to collect Trading Cards. Even if no real players ever see or buy one of these fake games, their developers make money by farming cards.”
While dubbed as fake, the games are working to some extent; just enough to bypass Steam Greenlight and appear on the store. This is one reason that Valve has recently been cracking down on the voting system, which passes these games in the first place.
“These games damage something we care about a lot, because it affects all our players – the Steam Store’s algorithm,” added Valve, before announcing that it is removing the monetary incentive from Trading Cards. They will drop only after a game has reached a “confidence metric” that proves it is being played by actual human users and not bots. Once that is established, the system will kick in to grant the associated Trading Cards.
Valve appears to have a lot more changes in the pipelines. Trading Cards is only the first. The developer is likely to take another whack at how Steam Greenlight operates.