Steam Bans Scammers After Dev Reveals A Possible Shady Game Resale

The Steam logo floats against a blue and black mesh background.

picture: valve / kotaku

Earlier this week, a developer’s Twitter thread went viral about shady Steam custodians likely lying to get free game codes. in the thread, Using a sting-like process To support his suspicions, the developer assumed that these shady curators take game keys and sell them rather than use them to review the game they claim to be interested in. Now, Valve has shut down some of the coordinators involved in the supposed scam. And after all, the developers behind the famous city building survival game Frostbank They announced that they will no longer provide keys to the coordinators.

On August 28, indie Dave Kaukat, the developer behind the newly released point-and-click version, won the award. complaintShare a thread that’s now trending on Twitter Explain how a certain type of scam works involving custodians, Steam codes, and reviews.

A quick and basic explanation is that Cowcat and other independent developers have email boxes flooded with requests for code from various moderators on Steam. It is believed that most of these are fraudsters. In an effort to find out the number of suspects, Cowcat sent all of these curator codes, but not for the full game, just for demonstration. The idea was that if the moderators were legit, they would get to the end of the demo, then reach out and ask for the full code for a proper review. Instead, not many did, and game codes started popping up on key-selling sites, though Cowcat does not support these types of markets. Shortly thereafter, some curators of the site began posting negative reviews of complaintEven though none of them got the full game. While there are a few other possibilities, it seems very likely that these curators were simply trying to trick Cowcat out of some free tokens that could then be resold.

In response, Cowcat reached out to Valve and We did not hear back from the company, which indicated that it would consider the respective curators. Valve seems to agree with Cowcat and Others on Reddit who believe that these particular curators did not adhere to the rules, and may have been using negative reviews as punishment for not providing the keys. (Moderators can leave comments for games they don’t own.)

At least 20 honest—Many of them posted negative comments about complaint After receiving the demo keys – it is now blocked from Steam. Clicking a link to one of these curator sets will now take you Message from Valve It states, “This group has been removed for violating Steam Community Rules and Guidelines.”

Of course, since anyone can quickly create a free Steam account and groups and become honest, it is likely that many of these suspicious users will return, create new lists and continue to scam developers out of codes. But this sudden public exposure of this scam could make it difficult for those looking to score free codes to flip it. At least one game developer and publisher, 11 Bit Studios, publicly announce Steam keys are no longer provided to curators as a result of this situation.

“Based on our own experiences and the experiences of other developers,” he tweeted at Frostbank devs,” most [Steam curator] The requests come from fake accounts used to collect and resell keys and the reviews posted don’t seem to bring any value to the community anyway.”

While it’s good to see Valve step in and try to put an end to some of these scams, developers like Cowcat still hope the company can do more to improve the curator system. Many want more verification methods and methods to filter out real users and outlets from random scammers or suspicious users. Until then, emailing curator codes can always be a gamble.

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