Valve has cracked down on one publisher known for selling cheap, poorly-made games on Steam.
Valve removed 173 games from Steam, most of them made by Silicon Echo Studio. The titles are no longer available for sale, but owners of these games can still play them, they just won’t be earning trading cards.
According to Polygon, Silicon Echo, and Zonitron Productions were found to be controlled by the same company, peddling Unity asset flips on Steam and in very cheap bundles outside of Steam. As is well known by now, Silicon Echo and similar publishers make most of their money back through the cut they get from trading card sales.
Steam users looking to boost their profile levels would get these bundles and later sell the resulting trading cards on the Steam Marketplace to make back the money spent on the games. Valve has said before that’s it not going to automatically fulfil key requests from developers when these keys are found in cheap bundles sold outside of Steam.
Cracking down on these practises is one reason for that policy. In a a statement to Polygon, Valve said that the games were removed from a few different Steamworks accounts, which were all run by the same person. Valve has since terminated its relationship with said publisher and removed all their games from the storefront. Here’s Valve’s full statement:
“Yes, we have a full-time team monitoring reports and they identified an issue that lead to the removal of some titles from a few different Steamworks accounts. These accounts were generating a lot of reports and frustration from customers and other developers. It turns out that the bad actors were all the same person operating under different accounts.
What we found was a set of extreme actions by this person that was negatively impacting the functionality of the store and our tools. For example, this person was mass-shipping nearly-identical products on Steam that were impacting the store’s functionality and making it harder for players interested in finding fun games to play. This developer was also abusing Steam keys and misrepresenting themselves on the Steam store.
As a result, we have removed those games from the Steam Store and ended our business relationship with them.
The Steam platform is open, but we do ask developers to respect our customers and our policies. Spamming cloned games or manipulating our store tools isn’t something we will tolerate. Our priority is helping players find games they will enjoy playing.”