One Twitter post has been making its rounds in the PC gaming scene which shows Valve stating that it will deny requests for Steam Keys that do not reflect the developer’s Steam sales. The screen capped post by Valve goes on to mention that they are doing this to stop developers from selling these keys for cheaper outside of Steam while they bear the costs.
Valve will no longer automatically fullfill key requests from the developers to combat game sales outside of Steam. pic.twitter.com/Gp1TyivEeO
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) August 17, 2017
While this move by Valve may initially sound infringing on developers since it stops the latter from distributing their games in the manner that they want, Steam is not entirely wrong in doing so. Steam hosts the games files and when a key is activated and a game is installed, Valve has to pay for server costs to bring the game’s files to the user.
When a developer requests for 500,000 Steam keys for a game that has sold only a thousand copies, it will raise some red flags. Valve will most likely deny the request for the 500,000 keys.
Some small developers have made it a habit to give away thousands of free copies of their games hoping that it will gain popularity and some good reviews that will help boost sales. Video game reviews on Steam are very valuable for indie developers. Apparently, Valve is having none of that anymore.
And the big question now is how will this change affect the price of games from legitimate key resellers such as HumbleBundle, Bundlestars, IndieGala, and GreenManGaming?
What are your thoughts on this move by Valve? Let us know in the comments.
Valve in a statement to Gamasutra said:
Steam keys have always been available for free to our partners to help them sell PC games at physical retail and on other digital stores. In return, we’ve asked that partners offer Steam customers a fair deal, similar to what they’re offering on other stores. None of that is changing.
But over the last few years, new features and additions to Steam have changed the way Steam keys were being used, for instance as a means for game-shaped objects to monetize on Steam through methods other than actually selling fun games to customers. Most notably, this meant farming Steam Trading Cards. We shared a lot of info about that issue, and our response to it, here.
While our changes did impact the economics of trading card farming for new products coming to Steam, there are still a lot of games and game-shaped objects using Steam keys as a way to manipulate Steam systems. As a result, we’re trying to look more closely at extreme examples of products on Steam that don’t seem to be providing actual value as playable games-for instance, when a game has sold 100 units, has mostly negative reviews, but requests 500,000 Steam keys. We’re not interested in supporting trading card farming or bot networks at the expense of being able to provide value and service for players.
It’s completely OK for partners to sell their games on other sites via Steam keys, and run discounts or bundles on other stores, and we’ll continue granting free keys to help partners do those things. But it’s not OK to negatively impact our customers by manipulating our store and features.