Earlier this week, a developer’s Twitter thread about shady Steam curators potentially lying to get free game codes went viral. In the subject, using a slightly sting-like operation To support their suspicions, the developer theorized that these shady curators were taking and selling game keys instead of actually using them to review the game they claimed to be interested in. Now Valve has shut down some of the curators involved in the alleged cheating. And after all, the developers behind the popular city-building survival game Frostpunk announced that they will no longer provide keys to curators.
On August 28, indie dev Cowcat, creator of the newly released Back-and-click app, beat them to it. Brock—He shared an already viral topic on Twitter explains how a certain type of cheat works, involving curators, Steam codes, and reviews.
A quick and basic explanation is that Cowcat and other indie developers have inboxes on Steam that are flooded with code requests from various curators. Most of them are believed to be scammers. To see how shady it is, Cowcat sent all the curator codes, but not for the full game, just for the demo. The idea was that if the curators were legitimate, they would get to the bottom of the daemon, then reach out and ask for the full code to properly review. On the contrary, many did not, and codes for the game began to appear on sites selling keys Cowcat does not support these types of markets. Shortly after that, they started writing negative reviews about some curators Brock, although none of them bought the full game. While there are some other possibilities, it’s likely that these curators were just trying to trick Cowcat out of some free code that could be resolved later.
In response, Cowcat Valve and I heard back from the company, which explained that he would look after the curators in question. It looks like Valve agreed with Cowcat and Others on Reddit Those who believe that these particular curators don’t play by the rules and use negative reviews as punishment for not providing keys. (Curators can leave reviews for games they don’t own.)
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At least 20 curators– published negative reviews about many of them Brock after getting the keys for the demo – now banned from Steam. Clicking on a link to one of these curated groups now takes you there A message from Valve “This group has been removed for violating the Steam Community Rules and Guidelines.”
Of course, since anyone can quickly create a free Steam account and group and become a curator, it’s likely that many of these dark users will return, create new lists, and continue to cheat the developers out of codes. But this sudden public exposure of this scam could make it harder for those looking to get free codes to convert. At least one game developer and publisher, 11 Bit Studios, you declared it open will not provide curators with Steam keys as a result of this situation.
“Based on our and other developers’ experiences,” he tweeted Frostpunk devs, “most [Steam curator] requests come from fake accounts used to collect and sell keys, and posted reviews don’t add any value to the community anyway.”
While it’s good to see Valve stepping in and trying to put an end to some of these scams, developers like Cowcat are still hoping the company will do more to improve its curation system. Many want more verification methods and ways to filter out real users and outlets from random scammers or shady users. Until then, sending curator codes via email can always be a gamble.
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