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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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James Brightman avatar

James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.