The Steam Trading Cards System is Getting Revamped to Prevent “Fake Game” Abuse

In 2013, Valve introduced the Steam Trading Card system as a fun feature and an opportunity for people’s inner collector to geek out. Furthermore, it was an “easy way to add extra value” to a developer’s game and as a reward to dedicated fans. Understanding that it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, they set off to add it on anyway. In short time, the popularity for collecting and trading grew immensely, to the point that people began prospering financially. Unfortunately, as there is in any economy, there are those who are willing to exploit the system and further monetary advantages. “Bad actors” as Valve likes to call them were and are abusing the Steam trading cards feature by creating fake games.

What happens is these self-proclaimed creators would take advantage of a feature held exclusively for developers who would then generate up to thousands of Steam keys before handing them off to bots. From there, they “idle away” in order to collect. At first, the attempt to disable particular Greenlight “voting mechanisms” turned out to be unsustainable as these users were just able to find a way around it.

While there doesn’t seem like a larger issue at hand and real people aren’t actually purchasing these fake games, Valve understands the two main arguments against their crack down on the badges. Namely, where’s the harm in people wanting to utilize the market and trade with those willing to collect them? Secondly, if Valve is making money off of the system, why would they want to remove it? Unfortunately, the real problem lies within the back doors of Valve and their “store’s algorithm”. With each game that is created, loads of “faux data” is being generated because of the supposed “player activity” which then results in the possibility of the game being plastered on the front page because of its “popularity”. So, in letting this continue, real people may end up making regrettable purchases.

So, what is the ultimate solution for this problem within the Steam trading cards economy? Here’s what they propose:

Instead of starting to drop Trading Cards the moment they arrive on Steam, we’re going to move to a system where games don’t start to drop cards until the game has reached a confidence metric that makes it clear it’s actually being bought and played by genuine users. Once a game reaches that metric, cards will drop to all users, including all the users who’ve played the game prior to that point. So going forward, even if you play a game before it has Trading Cards, you’ll receive cards for your playtime when the developer adds cards and reaches the confidence metric.”

Instead of taking down the financial part of the card collection altogether, they’re introducing the new “confidence metric”. In doing so, the core algorithm will try to separate real games and players apart from the fabricated ones before cards are deemed collectible. In other words, there will be a delayed card drop mechanism after the system figures out whether or not the games are being bought and played by actual people.

Valve President

What do you think of Valve’s attempt to fix the market for the Steam trading cards? Do you think this is a reliable solution? Do you think this could pose a problem for small time developers? Feel free to leave any thoughts or comments in the section below or begin a conversation on Don’t Feed the Gamers official Facebook and Twitter! For more awesome gaming and related news, check out the articles below:

Hoi Duong2106 Posts

Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.

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