Valve: awarding free steam keys becomes more restrictive

Valve: Vergabe kostenloser Steam-Keys wird restriktiver

Valve offers free activation keys for their titles, which they can offer on other platforms such as the Humble Bundle store. The so far free tendering practice is now restricted when large quantities of keys are requested.

If you offer a third-party Steam Activation key, your stocks, if they are not purchased in low-value countries, come from the developers themselves who can generate free keys on Steam. In this case, Valve will lose its own share of 30 percent of the sales revenue while continuing to incur charges for the download and, if applicable, the Steamworks services. Whether the procedure is necessary, is on another hand: Steam will be already lucrative because of the market-dominant position. There are no official figures for the prize money.

For Valve as a company this situation appears in principle not desirable. As a matter of fact, in the case of inquiries it is currently assessed whether the number of copies of the game sold directly via Steam is in relation to the quantity of activation keys, ie justifies such a requirement. ” From a certain point, ” writes Valve, according to Steam Spy, ” we decide that the value that developers bring for Steam is not worth the cost .”

Humble and co in danger?

The new policy is not generally directed against sales of games for Steam outside the platform. In a statement against Gamasutra , Valve wrote that the company’s overall policy had not changed. And would be offered free of charge to help partners sell their games in the retail trade and other digital shops. The company wants only for its own customers ” a fair deal similar to the developer offer via other channels “.

We’re not interested in supporting trading cards.


According to official data, Valve aims primarily at small developers who distribute “shovelware” and barely functional “games” almost or entirely at a price outside of Steam, in order to generate revenue via the card system. Valve does not want to make games become a means to make “game- shaped objects by means other than selling fun games to customers ” to money.

It’s completely OK to get a good deal on other sites via Steamkeys, But it’s not OK to neg.


The most recent changes would not have restricted this behavior far enough. This is also the opinion of a developer of SuperSystems Softworks (Drift Stage), which sees tremendous gaming over SteamDirect as the cause for the change in the procurement practice. The basic approach, however, as the Studio Game Labs (Naval Action, Ultimate General mentioned), has been common since 2014.

The consequence of this is that Valve is more concerned about whether a game offers a value as a game. If a developer were to submit only 100 copies of a title with predominantly negative reviews, but ” request 500,000 Steam keys “, this is the case. The sale of games by third parties as part of Bundles, for Indie developers a relevant source of income, as well as within discount actions is ” completely OK “.

Potentially more sales on Steam

Steam Spy itself writes that the screenshot comes from a ” high-profile developer “, whose request for conclusions for a ” big game ” had been rejected. Game Labs writes in the discussion under the article that Valve would have rejected a request for 1,000 keys even though 5,000 copies of a game would have been sold ” via PayPal “. The studio therefore had to explain ” what we do and why. Several times. “Whether the 5,000 games were sold outside of Steam or over the platform leaves the formulation however open.

According to the website VG247 , Valve is pursuing several objectives: on the one hand, against the exploitation of steam systems like the cards with scrap games, on the other hand against developers, who place games almost free in bundles containing 15 titles for ten dollars. Since Steam was no longer offering the best prices for a long time, the platform would increasingly be perceived as a DRM system and no longer as a shop. If developers could no longer receive unlimited amounts of key to participate in major sales of other stores, they would only be required to charge Steam at low prices – and Valve would pay the due portion of the proceeds.

However, if Valve is followed by his own opinion, this will only affect providers who sell their titles with “protection” on Steam and sell it primarily elsewhere. How the system is practically handled remains to be seen – as usual, Valve does not give any information about the evaluation practice.



I'm an avid gamer and a bit of a Ninja when it comes to gadgets and technology. When I'm not busy with the latest Android and iOS games.

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