Valve seems to be at odds with itself. The company wants to allow every and any game (that isn’t illegal or a troll) on Steam, but it also wants to restrict the functionality of numerous new games to stem the flow of potential “fake games.” If there’s a method to this madness, I’m not seeing it.
Yesterday, Valve posted a private message in its developer-only Steamworks group, and that message has since been re-posted on Twitter and reddit. The jist of the message is: in an attempt to dissuade developers from creating intentionally unfinished games or games that are nothing more than asset flips (or both), Valve is enacting the following limitations on new games that haven’t reached a specific “confidence metric”:
- The game can only feature 100 achievements
- Achievements unlocked in the game won’t contribute to a global achievement count and won’t be displayed in a player’s Steam Profile.
- The game won’t be displayed in a player’s Steam Profile and won’t contribute to their game library count
- The game won’t be eligible for Coupons
Apparently, this new change is a followup to last year’s restriction of Steam Trading Cards, which also was enacted to combat fake games. However, the logic behind these latest restrictions is confusing at best, since the post goes on to admit that “an insignificant number of users were taking advantage” of these fake games, yet somehow these games were enough to “confuse” Steam’s algorithms and users. If an insignificant number of users own the games and play them to bolster their achievements, how could the games possibly confuse the algorithms? The statistics don’t add up.
This announcement came one week after the news that Valve wouldn’t police its library save for illegal and troll games, but given how the company describes these fake games, you would assume they would fall under Valve’s definition of troll games. However, many commenters on the Reddit and Twitch posts seem to be on board with Valve’s decision, so maybe there’s something to it and I’m just being overly skeptical.