Steam could be working on a loyalty rewards systems for future versions of the platform. Pavel Djundik has revealed the news via Twitter, after digging through the code for Steam and finding some interesting snippets. Developer Pavel Djundik crawled through updates pushed to SteamDB, the service that tracks changes to games and the platform itself, and noticed that Valve has some plans in the works.
Notably, he says that “Valve is working on loyalty awards/rewards. It has a point system, and a system to add reactions to user reviews.” The inclusion of a points-based system is still a little mysterious, but suggestions point to Valve rewarding users for repeat purchases and community engagement. These reward points can then be used for cosmetic rewards. There’s the possibility that these rewards can include game discounts.
Having free discounts is a pretty cool reward, and it’s something that developers already make use of. Some developers will often make use of to promote sequels to their games on Steam, handing limited-time discount codes out to users who own previous entries in a series, as well as giving out codes for newer versions of games. Seeing Valve tie this functionality to its wider user base could have a profound impact on the way people spend money on Steam.
It’s important to note that Valve has not announced any such change to the platform at this time. The encroaching competition from Epic Games and their fast-growing platform has pushed Valve onto their back foot. Steam has had a ton of issues with content quality and moderation of its platform. The glut of low-quality video games on Steam has allowed Epic to weaponized exclusives and free games to make a big splash in the gaming industry.
Epic Games Store has rocketed to 100 million total users and made more than $680 million in 2019. Valve has been playing catch up to some degree, but the big AAA releases still score a huge number of sales on Steam. Metro Exodus, after being a controversy machine on the Epic Games Store, sold more than 200,000 copies in the first week of its debut on Steam.