Valve no longer automatically fulfilling key requests from devs

Geronimo Vena
Agosto 19, 2017

The example given was that of a developer whose game sells in the few thousands on Steam, but has nonetheless requested 500,000 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. Valve's cracking down on key generation requests to combat the latter scenario, and getting declined for new key requests means Valve thinks "the value you're bringing to Steam isn't worth the cost to us". However Valve does have a problem, which is that some developers are selling Steam games outside of Steam. "Most notably, this meant farming Steam Trading Cards", wrote the representative, alluding to the company's recent nerf of the Steam Trading Cards system. Customers can sell the cards on the Steam Community Market.

Valve's Steam platform plays host to many games, and while some might consider Valve nearly monopolizing the market, at the same time one could argue that Steam does help keep things in one place, and also provides a platform for friends to play together, review games, and so on. But it appears that Valve's other solutions haven't worked as well as the company had hoped, which is forcing its hand in taking this further step. This is all being done in an effort to further fight against "fake games" as well as those looking to abuse the trading card system for profit.

Valve didn't give any details on how it will determine the "extreme examples", but the nature of the new policy suggests that the company will investigate suspicious titles on a case-by-case basis. The first way, is buying it directly through Steam, the other, is to obtain a Steam Key, which you can obtain outside of Valve's platform and then redeem to be part of your library.

However, Valve said that it has no intention of ending the distribution of Steam keys used for legitimate third-party sales, and that it will continue to provide free keys to developers for that goal. At the same time, Valve's new policy could conceivably affect mass distribution of Steam keys for situations like large Kickstarter projects or low-priced indie game bundles. However, the company also stressed that it is "not OK to negatively impact" customers by manipulating Steam features.

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