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Valve "really uncomfortable" with devs giving away game keys

The studio has told its Greenlight community that it would like to see devs stop trading away keys to gain votes

If you're a developer on Steam Greenlight, Valve would like you to consider other forms of marketing than simply giving away game keys. In an announcement to the developer community (the page is locked but was captured in a tweet by Steam Database), Valve told developers that trading game keys to secure votes from players is a bad practice that needs to stop.

"When you give away copies of your game in exchange for votes, you put us in a really uncomfortable position," Valve said. "We do not think these votes accurately reflect customer interest and it makes our job harder in deciding which games customers would actually buy and play on Steam."

Valve continued, noting that developers who do give away game keys are setting a bad precedent and it's not healthy for the Steam ecosystem.

"We understand that running contests or giving away copies of your game can be viewed as a form of marketing," Valve noted. "But for the purposes of Greenlight, we don't think that giving away copies of your game in exchange for votes accurately reflects genuine customer interest."

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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.