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Valve limit key requests from developers if it isn't "worth the cost"

Posted by , | Views: 9,368

A leaked picture from the private Steam forum for developers has emerged, that show Valve will in fact limit the amount of keys developers can generate if it isn't worth the cost to Valve.

Valve will no longer automatically fullfill key requests from the developers to combat game sales outside of Steam. pic.twitter.com/Gp1TyivEeO

— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) August 17, 2017

In case the tweet vanishes, the image says this:

QuoteIf we are denying keys for normal size batches it's likely because your Steam sales don't reflect a need for as many keys as you're distributing, and you're probably asking for more keys because you're offering cheaper options off Steam and yet we are bearing the costs. So at some point we start deciding that the value you're bringing to Steam isn't worth the cost to us.

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

Right now you can buy games on Steam, or through a reseller like Humble and the vast amount of other stores. Developers also sell Steam keys directly at times, or give them away with purchases from stores like itch.io along with giving them a copy on their service.

I've seen quite a few people indicate that this is Valve being stricter on Steam, but I'm not so sure. The wording doesn't seem to indicate that it's a new rule they're imposing. It looks like they're simply explaining to a developer an existing rule after one was denied. I would be quite surprised if it was a new rule, because it would imply for a long time that Valve wasn't doing anything to limit keys for developers (which I'm sure would have caused more problems).

However, if this is Valve being stricter, then I see that as a good move. I've always found it extremely odd when I've been told developers can just grab as many Steam keys as they need. Key requests not being manually looked into will always be open to abuse.

Anyway, I've reached out to Valve to see if we can get any kind of clarification. Would be interesting to see if it's a response to Steam Direct, Kickstarter or abuse of some kind.

15 Likes, Who?
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Solar 18 August 2017 at 10:22 am UTC
GuestSounds like typical greedy Valve.
Sounds like Valve clamping down on greedy developers.
Sounds more like Valve trying to do a Microsoft, monopolise all the other stores out of the market. I hope I'm wrong.
Valve shouldn't have to provide downloads, VAC, updates and servers to millions of gamers for free while the developers who should be funding it, cash in from other sites/companies/stores.
Apps on the MS store, can only be bought on the MS store.
Quite a massive difference between the 2.
tmtvl 18 August 2017 at 10:25 am UTC
liamdaweIn case the tweet vanishes

Use archive.org?
liamdawe 18 August 2017 at 10:30 am UTC
liamdaweIn case the tweet vanishes

Use archive.org?
Not a bad idea actually in addition to quoting it
dmantione 18 August 2017 at 10:47 am UTC
Until now Valve was perfectly fine if developers sold keys elsewhere for lower prices than on Steam. They also don't request commission for keys sold elsewhere. I think this statement should be interpreted as "we are good, but not crazy": If the sales on Steam and generated keys is completely of out balance, yes, then there probably is something wrong and they need to reconsider the merit to have that game on Steam. They still don't say they will remove such games, just that they reconsider. IMO totally reasonable.
lucifertdark 18 August 2017 at 5:35 pm UTC
SolarValve shouldn't have to provide downloads, VAC, updates and servers to millions of gamers for free while the developers who should be funding it, cash in from other sites/companies/stores.
Apps on the MS store, can only be bought on the MS store.
Quite a massive difference between the 2.
I hold my hands up & say I've never used the MS store so I have no idea how it works.
Ketil 18 August 2017 at 5:42 pm UTC
They could put a minimum price per generated key depending on the size of the install and cloud saves. A frequently updated game that requires 40GB download with 0.5-8GB updates cost more than a 200MB game with 5-50MB updates.
Jahimself 19 August 2017 at 12:37 am UTC
QuoteSounds like typical greedy Valve.
sounds more like huge of money lost due to g2a.
Ardje 22 August 2017 at 1:23 pm UTC
So Valve is free up to certain reasonable limits. You may use them, even for sales outside of the steam store, but if you try to abuse them they now say enough is enough.
Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
Fair use is fair use, especially to all other developers using the steam platform.

On another note: free games are not a form of abuse. A form of abuse is to abuse steam for updates, and sell your game in other ways, without ever giving Valve a fair share.
So yes a free game does cost Valve, but it's in the spirit of Valve to allow that.
So all in all, I think Valve is still one of the best and trustworthy open platforms to release games.
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