Valve has urged developers to stop offering free game keys for Steam Greenlight votes.
Recently, developers have been using the tactic of offering free Steam Greenlight game keys in order to encourage up votes on the service.
Steam Greenlight is a preview system within the Steam store that allows developers to give gamers a sneak peak at games currently in development. Users are then encouraged to vote on those games, and whether they’d buy that game if it were available through Steam.
However, developers have been abusing the system, bribing gamers with the promise of free game codes in order to secure votes.
“When you give away copies of your game in exchange for votes, you put us in a really uncomfortable position”, said Valve’s Aiden Kroll in a statement to developers. “We do not think these votes actually reflect customer interest and it makes our job harder in deciding which games customers would actually buy and play on Steam.”
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“Additionally, when you give away copies of your game for votes, then every other developer on Greenlight thinks that this is now the thing they need to do in order to get noticed. We don’t think that is healthy for the system or really what customers want.”
Developers have decided that giving away free copies of their game is apparently worth the risk – both morally and financially – in order to get noticed and eventually published on Steam.
However, Valve is looking closely at all Greelight games, especially the ones with lots of up votes. Those who try to bribe gamers for votes might actually find it takes them a lot longer to get published.
“This is something we continue to take into account when evaluating titles. The result is that it may take signficiantly longer for your title to get Greelit, as it is much more work for us to try and understand customer interest in a title tht has collected some unknown number of votes in this manner.”