Every gamer loves getting cheap games, and doing so has become incredibly easy thanks to Valve’s policy of letting developers generate unlimited numbers of game code keys. Many developers then sell those keys on third-party sites at discounted rates, and gamers can play games on Steam without Valve ever making any money for their efforts.
It’s been a well-known industry issue for years, but Valve’s patience with the situation has apparently run thin. To combat the revenue-losing problem this presents, Valve plans to stop automatically granting developers as many Steam keys as they request, according to a post Valve’s Sean Jenkins made on Steam’s developer-only board (via @Steam_Spy).
“If we are denying keys for normal size batches it’s likely because your Steam sales don’t reflect a need for as many keys as you’re distributing, and you’re probably asking for more keys because you’re offering cheaper options off Steam and yet we are bearing the costs,” Jenkins a software engineer working in Game and Video Business Development at Valve, explained. “So at some point, we start deciding that the value you’re bringing to Steam isn’t worth the cost to us.
“For example, say you’ve sold a few thousand copies on Steam but have requested/activated 500K keys, then we are going to take a deeper look at your games, your sales, your costs, etc.”
Currently, Valve takes a 30 percent cut of all sales from third-party games on Steam. But, as mentioned, if developers generate huge numbers of Steam codes and then sell those codes on other sites for cheap, often as part of a bundle of games, Valve makes no return on its investment. Under the new policy, developers will have fewer keys to distribute and, Valve seems to hope, be less inclined to sell the ones they do have for cheap on external sites.