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Valve no longer automatically fulfilling key requests from devs

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Valve's Steam Platform

Update: Since this screenshot leaked, a Valve representative has given the following response, clearing up once and for all the reason behind this policy.

“Steam keys have always been available for free to our partners to help them sell PC games at physical retail and on other digital stores. In return, we’ve asked that partners offer Steam customers a fair deal, similar to what they’re offering on other stores. None of that is changing.

But over the last few years, new features and additions to Steam have changed the way Steam keys were being used, for instance as a means for game-shaped objects to monetize on Steam through methods other than actually selling fun games to customers. Most notably, this meant farming Steam Trading Cards. We shared a lot of info about that issue, and our response to it, here.

While our changes did impact the economics of trading card farming for new products coming to Steam, there are still a lot of games and game-shaped objects using Steam keys as a way to manipulate Steam systems. As a result, we’re trying to look more closely at extreme examples of products on Steam that don’t seem to be providing actual value as playable games-for instance, when a game has sold 100 units, has mostly negative reviews, but requests 500,000 Steam keys. We’re not interested in supporting trading card farming or bot networks at the expense of being able to provide value and service for players.  

It’s completely OK for partners to sell their games on other sites via Steam keys, and run discounts or bundles on other stores, and we’ll continue granting free keys to help partners do those things. But it’s not OK to negatively impact our customers by manipulating our store and features.” (Source: Gamasutra)

So bundle sites such as Humble Bundle and even marketplaces like Green Man Gaming have nothing to fear. It seems this is aimed more at devs taking advantage of the Trading Card System, effectively stopping card farming and the profit that can come with that.

Phew.

Original Post: Valve could be looking to implement a new policy that limits how many keys will be available to developers, removing the automatic fulfillment process entirely.

In a screenshot that was leaked to Reddit and appeared on Twitter, Sean Jenkin, a software engineer at Valve, implies that Valve may soon start denying requests for keys by developers.

It reads, “If 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’re bearing the costs.”

“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.”

This has apparently leaked from a private Steam group so it’s important to take it with a pinch of salt. It does, however, fall in line with Valve’s attempts at dealing with illegitimate key sellers and gray markets.

Whether this is an attempt at dealing with shady key dealers, combating developers taking advantage of the key generation system or an aggressive tactic in a market they pretty much dominate is unsure.

It also makes sense that Valve would move in this direction if they’re having to shoulder a huge amount of cost when it comes to their infrastructure but only seeing limited returns directly.

What is definitive is that if this change is forceful in its implementation, it could have an effect on everyone from bundle sites to grey market sellers and more. The promising take from the screenshot is that the numbers used in the hypothetical situation have a massive disparity, (‘few thousand sold’ vs ‘500k keys requested’) meaning if Valve continues to follow this logic, indie developers should be relatively unaffected.

It’ll be interesting to see Valve’s official line on this as the story progresses.

 

UK based gaming writer, raised on a diet of Street Fighter and Isometric RPG's. I enjoy playing every game I can get my grubby little hands on.

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Google engineers successfully hacked the PS Portal to run emulated PSP games

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After about a month of work, a couple of Google employees have successfully hacked the PS Portal, PlayStation’s handheld streaming solution. Their project is not set for public release anytime soon, but the hack is purely software-based, eliminating the need for hardware exploitation.

Andy Nguyen, a cloud vulnerability researcher, and Calle Svensson, a security engineer, shared their latest project on Twitter. They successfully ran the PSP emulator PPSSPP on the PS Portal. They presented the 2005 PSP classic Grand Theft Auto: Liberty Stories.

https://x.com/theflow0/status/1759627938910089575?s=20

As a wireless streaming device, the idea of playing games on the PS Portal without a PS5 providing the power was considered impossible. It’s quite surprising how quickly Nguyen and Svensson have overcome this initial hurdle. It remains to be seen where their efforts will take them, but we will definitely keep an eye on their progress. Nguyen expressed that there is still a lot of work left to do.

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Lady Gaga reveals collaboration with Fortnite for upcoming festival and addresses typo

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Lady Gaga, also known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has teased an upcoming collaboration with Fortnite Festival set to be unveiled soon. More pertinent to our specific attention to detail, Gaga has also admitted to a mistake made around four years ago, indicating her keen awareness of the franchise’s significant value.

Gaga shared a mesmerizing picture of her character in Fortnite and also retweeted a post from 2019 where she asked her fans, “What’s fortnight?”. She finally got the chance to correctly spell the title of the game, allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief after waiting anxiously.

Lady Gaga will be teaming up with other top celebrities to maximize their presence on the Fortnite platform. Travis Scott once hosted a live concert in Battle Royale a couple of years ago, while the Weeknd just premiered the music video for the song “Popular” at the Fortnite Festival.

https://x.com/ladygaga/status/1759986415415459972?s=20

 

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Reflecting on Street Fighter 5’s tumultuous launch, Capcom looks back eight years later

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For those who may not recall, nearly eight years ago today, Street Fighter 5 was released in 2016 in a rather incomplete state. The content available was impressive initially, but the limited number of characters and lack of single-player game modes stood out. Capcom expresses regret for the entire situation, offering apologies years later for having “betrayed” players’ expectations.

On SF5’s eighth anniversary, the developers must be feeling nostalgic. They recently posted a Japanese-language tweet looking back on the mistakes made and the challenges that were eventually overcome. The number of playable characters has grown to 45, and the game has seen various enhancements, including the introduction of new abilities such as V Skills/Trigger II and V Shift. Even now, hundreds of thousands of players still choose to play this game instead of the newer Street Fighter 6.
Have you had the chance to try out Street Fighter 5 since it was first released? What do you recall about the game’s reception? Take a trip down memory lane in the comments section below.

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