Valve pulls nearly 1,000 games from Steam for 'abusing some Steamworks tools'

Around 980 titles have been removed from Steam in the last 24 hours, though no major AAA games were affected. A good chunk of the newly banned games were from Russian publisher Dagestan Technology.

Valve has a bit of a consistency problem when it comes to which games the publisher will allow on Steam, so it’s not unusual to hear reports about games being pulled from the digital distribution service. What is unusual, however, is close to one thousand games getting banned in a 24-hour period, which is what happened on Steam this week. As reported by PC Gamer, 982 games were removed from Steam yesterday due to Steamworks abuse by their publishers.

In a comment to PC Gamer, a Valve rep said, “We recently discovered a handful of partners that were abusing some Steamworks tools,” but didn’t offer any further explanation. As game developer Alexandra Frock noted on Twitter, many of the titles to get the axe were made by Russian publisher Dagestan Technology operating under a slew of different names. The publisher’s Steam page now lists zero games, while a cached version shows dozens of games across multiple categories.

The Twitter account of indie studio IDALGAME noted that its title was affected by Valve’s most recent culling and posted a screenshot of an email from the Steam maker. According to the email, Valve “detected that your accounts have been used to abuse Steamworks tools for selling bundles to customers.” As a result, all of the developer’s games have been permanently banned from Steam and access to the Steamworks backend has been revoked. The IDALGAMES twitter denied abusing Steamworks tools. Interestingly, this two-person studio is also based in Russia, according to its itch.io page.

Many of these games had been on Steam for months or years, which begs the question: why now? What changed? Did Valve only just discover widespread Steamworks abuse, or was this the result of a recent policy change? The publisher’s brief statement leaves much to be desired, and is probably little consolation to indie devs now finding themselves permanently banned from the largest PC digital distribution platform.

Valve’s not exactly known for releasing lengthy statements with thorough explanations of its ever-changing Steam policies, but in this case it appears that it owes its users a more detailed response. It’s entirely possible that over 980 games were found to have abused the Steamworks tools provided by Valve, but without more information, this feels like yet another arbitrary implementation of its confusing curation policy.

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Sarah LeBoeuf is a freelance writer and editor with over a decade of experience in games media. When not writing about video games or playing video games, you can find her drinking obscene amounts of coffee, snuggling her cat, planning her next trip to Disney World, or starting fights on Twitter @sarahthebeef.

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