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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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Ten million people play The First Descendant in its first week

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The free-to-play shooter The First Descendant has gotten a lot of attention in its first week. The game’s publisher, Nexon, says that 10 million people have already tried it out.

Insider Gaming pointed out that since there is no cost up front, it’s still too early to tell how many of those players will stick around, but it’s still a big number for a new IP. On Steam alone, it peaked at 264,860 concurrents right after launch and has still managed to break 200,000 in the last 24 hours, so it looks like a lot of people are still really into the game.

It was a “mindless and repetitive grind,” and we gave The First Descendant a 3/10 in our review. Of course, that’s just one opinion; other experts have had different ones. Most people, though, say that the game’s annoying free-to-play model is the worst thing about it.

Are you one of the millions of people who played The First Descendant last week? Are you going to come back for more? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Raiden, the famous shmup series, will come back as a twin-stick shooter on PS5, PS4, and PC

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Raiden has a long and interesting history as a vertical shooter in arcades. However, the series is going to get a Super Stardust HD makeover, which means it will switch to a twin-stick format. It comes out in Japan on October 31. There’s no word yet on when it will come out in the West, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

A Gematsu translation of the game’s website says that the full version will have an arcade mode with up to six stages. There will also be an “Unlimited” option for people who want to be at the top of the rankings. It sounds like a pretty straightforward package in terms of what’s inside, but we think the action will be what makes it worth it.

There’s a trailer up top that should help you figure out what to expect. There are, however, different versions of Raiden 3, Raiden 4, and Raiden 5 that you can play right now on the PS5 and PS4, if you can’t wait for this game to come out in the West.

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Bandai Namco and Nike designed Tekken 8 sneakers with tag-team designs

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Nike, the maker of high-quality shoes, is working with Bandai Namco, the company that makes the Tekken series, to make a pair of sneakers. The fun competition is part of the franchise’s 30th anniversary celebrations. You can get your own pair for $250 or the equivalent in your country, though they’ll probably be worth a lot more on the sneakerhead black market.

Two pairs of Tekken 8 x Nike Air Foamposite One Fist sneakers are set to come out in September 2024, according to shoe fan Sole Retriever (thanks, VGC). The designs are based on Kazuya and Jin, two main characters in the series. You can get them at Nike and some other stores. People who like hypebeasts and fighting games are likely to buy these quickly, so if you like Tekken and shoes that make people talk, you should probably act fast.

Should Bandai Namco and Nike work together? What do you think? Are you going to fight for your own pair? Make sure to take good care of your shoes and keep their value in the comments section below.

 

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