Valve has just released a blog post detailing the future changes which are coming to the Steam Trading Card system. These changes are coming in an effort to stop “fake games”. However, they should also improve the overall experience of using the Steam Store.
According to Valve, various ‘developers’ have been releasing “fake games” on Steam to make money through the card system. Valves states in the blog post that “these fake developers take advantage of a feature we provide to all developers on Steam, which is the ability to generate Steam keys for their games”. These keys are then given to bots which then idle these games to collect Trading Cards.
These individuals then earn money by farming cards even if no real players ever purchase the game.
Valve is looking to put an end to this by implementing several changes. However, dealing with this issue is going to be tricky.
While Valve could restrict the ability for developers to generate Steam keys, this would prevent legitimate developers from using this feature also. The company adds that “we’re not certain it would actually solve the problem” as there are many ways a bad developer could get their game owned by bot accounts.
Instead of doing this, Valve is looking to “remove the economic incentive” behind the Trading Card system. This will be done by not releasing Trading Cards until a game has reached a “confidence metric” which should reveal if the game is real or not. Once the game reaches this metric, the cards will begin to drop for all users who’ve played the game prior to that point. This new metric has been created from a “variety of pieces of data” however, Valve has not revealed the details behind this.
This system should result in less of an economic reason for bad developers to give codes to bots. However, there will be some negative effects on some small developers and player groups. As a result, some games could see their ability to have steam cards reduced quite a bit.
Valve ended their blog post by notice that this change should be a positive one for everyone. “It should significantly improve the quality of the data being fed into the Store algorithms” says Valve. Currently, Trading Cards are taken into account by the Steam Store algorithm which spotlights what games players may like.
Valve hasn’t provided a date for when these changes will come into effect.
The company did however comment that another post will be coming soon. This post will be about the publisher fee for the Steam Greenlight replacement system which was announced in February.