Valve to Restrict Steam Key Requests from Developers

In an effort to reduce sales outside of Steam, Valve have revealed plans to restrict the amount of keys a developer can request.

According to a post in a developer-only board on Steam, the company has revealed that it’ll no longer automatically fulfil key requests by developers who sell their games on the platform. Instead, Valve will look more into the game’s Steam sales and other factors, when a dev asks for more keys, especially when the request doesn’t align with how well the game is doing.

This announcement came by Valve’s Sean Jenkin, who supports Steam developers. The post was then shared via Steamspy’s Sergey Galyonkin. In the post, Jenkin gave an example of when they’d look deeper writing:

“For example, say if you’ve sold a few thousand copies on Steam, but requested /  activated 500K keys, then we’re going to take a deeper look at your games, your sales, your costs, etc.”

The idea here is to cut down on the amount of sales that take place outside of Steam, since it’s likely that developers who ask for a huge amount of keys, are likely offering them to bundle sites which sell the game much cheaper. In this case, Steam loses out on that initial sale but still has to put up the bandwidth costs for those keys being redeemed.

Although Valve hasn’t released an official statement on the matter, many are speculating that this has a lot to do with trying to combat shovelware, low-effort games, and those titled “asset flippers” which use Steam as a selling point, but offers the game for a fraction of the price on bundle sites.

While it may do well to combat this, it will also have a knock-on affect to smaller yet genuine developers who make a decent return from selling their games in bundles.

This comment is likely only half of the story and there’s a good chance genuine developers won’t notice a change. That being said, I’m sure for many smaller developers this is an unwelcome change.

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