Way back in May Steam said it was working to fight back against developers that released low-effort and low-cost titles meant to game the platform’s trading card market. Taking that bid one step further, Valve has now removed 173 games from Steam that seemingly abused both its trading card system and its key distribution process.
The twist here is that all 173 games look to be from the same developer under two different names. Polygon reports that the entire game libraries for Silicon Echo Studios and Zonitron Productions have been removed from the platform. According to a video from SidAlpha, those two studios published 86 games in the past two months alone.
The developers seemingly requested large batches of Steam Keys for its games, then turned around and deposited those keys into free or low-cost game bundles on third-party sites. This enables Steam Trading Card farmers to pick the games up for cheap, generate cards, and then resell those cards on Steam’s marketplace for a profit.
Back in August, Valve condemned the practice and discussed some internal changes it had made to try and combat ‘game shaped objects’ that led to a surge of releases that aimed to game the system for profit.
“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,” explained the representative from Valve. “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.“