Valve Has a Message for Greenlight Devs: Bribes Are Not Acceptable

Steam asks devs to stop handing out codes for votes.

Steam Greenlight has been Valve's way for developers to get themselves onto the Steam without necessarily needing a publisher. A developer can put their game up on Greenlight and then gamers can vote for which games they want to show up on the Steam storefront.

It has been a recent practice for developers to offer free keys and other incentives for their games (whether it be through drawings or directly) if gamers vote for their game. Developers do this in order to raise awareness for their game, as well as to garner votes. This practice has been seen as rather shady and manipulative since developers are essentially bribing Steam users for votes.

In a recent post in the Steam Greenlight Dev group, Valve asked developers to stop offering up keys for votes due to the nature of the practice and its effect on the Greenlight system.

By offering up keys for votes, developers are:

  1. Manipulating the votes since these "bought" votes don't necessarily reflect customer interest.
  2. Promoting and proliferating the idea to other developers must offer incentives to get their games noticed.

Greenlight has seen plenty of issues in the past, whether it be flooding the storefront with titles or vote manipulation from people asking for fans to vote (who probably won't buy the game).

If Valve prohibits giving away keys for votes and developers, respond respectfully, then we can hope to improve the accuracy of the Steam Greenlight system.


Gigantic nerd studying Speech/Journalism who shows an interest in the gaming industry.

Published Feb. 11th 2015

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