Steam functionality now limited until you spend $5

Valve says that to protect its customers from phishing and spamming, it's chosen to restrict community features

If you're a Steam user but haven't yet spent $5 on the platform, you'll now find it to be a very limited experience. In an official post on the Steam website, Valve noted that it's deliberately disabling numerous community features of Steam for users until they've spent $5 in the Steam Store.

"Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do. One of the best pieces of information we can compare between regular users and malicious users are their spending habits as typically the accounts being used have no investment in their longevity," the company explained.

Users don't necessarily have to buy a game, but $5 must be placed in the Steam Wallet to access the restricted features. For international Steam users, their local currencies will be converted into U.S. dollars and the same limit will be enforced.

The main features that have been restricted include:

  • Sending friend invites
  • Opening group chat
  • Voting on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items
  • Participating in the Steam Market
  • Posting frequently in the Steam Discussions
  • Gaining Steam Profile Levels (Locked to level 0) and Trading Cards
  • Submitting content on the Steam Workshop
  • Posting in an item's Steam Workshop Discussions
  • Accessing the Steam Web API
  • Using browser and mobile chat

While it's good to see Valve taking action to prevent spamming or malicious usage of the platform, the unfortunate downside is that Steam users who've received games as gifts or purchased them at retail are now being denied key community features unless they spend $5 - so innocent users are being punished because of a few bad apples. Is Valve doing the right thing, or has the company gone too far with these restrictions? Feel free to comment below.

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Latest comments (10)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
The number of Steam users who haven't spent 5 bucks, and don't have anyone to spend 5 bucks on, is probably realllllllllllllly small. There's a bit of a fuss about this, but I think it's just the principle of the thing, more than anything. At worst, those affected can just buy a cheap game off someone's Wishlist, and get that person to PayPal the money back.
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Gareth Martin Associate Technical Director, Coconut Lizard6 years ago
Does this count steam games purchased through 3rd-party stores e.g. Humble / Green Man / etc? I wonder how many steam users have only purchased games elsewhere (especially new accounts)?
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Emily Rose Artist 6 years ago
As a user this is great, less spam please... Not sure how this might discourage new users though.
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Show all comments (10)
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Does this count steam games purchased through 3rd-party stores e.g. Humble / Green Man / etc?
Nope, it doesn't count them - Steam Store or Steam Market purchases are the only ones that count in removing restrictions.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 20th April 2015 5:24pm

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Nic Wechter Senior Designer, Black Tusk (MGS Vancouver)6 years ago
Definitely a great move. I've been getting a lot of random friend invites from new account lately and its really annoying.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nic Wechter on 20th April 2015 5:33pm

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George Williams Owner 6 years ago
Good idea. Ive had endless requests for 'friend' invites from a bunch of randoms.
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Iain Stanford Experienced Software Engineer, Tinderstone6 years ago
Are they going to only start offering proper customer service when you spend $20 or more....?
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 6 years ago
Hahah! :D

Actually, there's rumours of them massively extending their CS department (which is already apparently the largest single dept in Valve). If (big IF) this news article is to be believed ( ) Valve are looking to expand, and the obvious reason would be to have a larger dedicated CS department.
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Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe6 years ago
A good move. This will make things better and the chance of actually harming anyone is very low.
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Tom Pickard Founder and Creative Director, Knifey Spoonie Games6 years ago
This is a really good Idea in my opinion, this won't affect many real gamers, but will reduce scammers, from what I could tell the scammers, created accounts, spammed people, sometimes got lucky but most of the time got banned/deleted, then rinse and repeat, now with $5 cost for every failure it makes scamming a lot more risky especially since the majority of the scammers come from poorer nations where $5 is a big enough barrier to make them think hard about it.
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