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Devs react: Valve's Steam key crackdown

Here's what developers think about Valve's decision to clamp down on Steam keys in a bid to preserve the legitimacy of Steam user reviews.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 13, 2016

4 Min Read

Earlier today Valve broke the news that Steam reviews left by anyone using a key will no longer count towards a game's overall or recent score. 

The company said it was forced to make the change as it's now too easy for rogue developers to artificially inflate review scores using keys.

Although Valve said some fraudulent reviews are "clear and obvious," it admitted that detecting when developers are abusing the system has become increasingly difficult. With that in mind, it's decided to cut them off at the source. 

It's a decision that's been met with mixed feedback from all corners of the industry, with some suggesting the move has been made with the Steam community's best interests in mind, and will do more harm than good in the long run. 

Others, namely developers who're already feeling the impact of having positive reviews snatched away overnight, have expressed frustration at being put to the sword by the tech giant. 

Smaller devs in particular feel hurt by the move, and they're clearly disappointed that Valve offered no protection to those who've given away legitimate keys through third-party stores and initiatives such as Itch.io, Kickstarter, and Humble. 

To give you a sense of the general mood right now, we've rounded up a selections of opnions shared on Twitter:

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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