There has long been a problem on Steam. OK, Steam has a lot of problems, but one in particular is really bad. Despite Steam having the largest and most diverse PC game library of any digital distribution service, a ton of the games are just plain crap. The vast majority of games on the service are not that good. Some of them are downright offensive.
There’s been a real problem with “asset flips” for years now. These are games that aren’t even really games. Lazy people will take assets bought from the Unity store, or cobbled together from a programming tutorial, and throw them up on Steam. The infamous Greenlight program was notorious for this. Another common form of abuse that was monetized by unscrupulous “developers” was achievements. People looking to take advantage of the dire need for more worthless “achievements” would fart out a game onto Steam that fired these off nonstop at the player. The games would either charge a nominal fee or be given away for free in promotional rackets aimed at artificially inflating the popularity of a given company. The most insidious form of abuse of the Steam platform was trading cards. These digital items are randomly awarded by many games just for playing, then to be resold for a few cents each in Steam balance.
It’s those last two abuses that seem to have triggered the purge ahead of the upcoming Steam sale. Valve has not formally responded to the news surrounding these bans, but the common consensus is that abuse of the Steam services and the Steamworks system by some publishers caused the blackout. Enterprising sleuths found that some of the games removed had direct links to one Russian publisher, Dagestan Technology. developer Alexandra Frock noted on Twitter that “a good chunk” of the removed games were somehow involved with this company. Valve hasn’t highlighted any reasons why this ban occurred, nor the specific transgressions of Dagestan.
Looking at the steamtools banned games page, shows hundreds of games removed in the last day. Valve has regularly been purging the hallowed halls of their flagship service every few weeks it looks like, it’s just this sudden glut of bans is off-putting to some.
If you’re a gamer with a large Steam library of indie classics and AAA games, this might affect you. Some gamers are concerned that they’re losing games they might have already. Don’t worry, the games being removed in this purge are highly unlikely to be anything worth noting. Also, any games you already bought will continue to work — if you did buy this junk — they just won’t appear in the store anymore.
The running tally of games removed from Steam in the past 24 hours stands around 1,000. Some estimates peg the exact number at 985, while some go lower than that.