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Steam sometimes feels like an endless well of less than reputable business practices. No matter how many updates Valve proposes, no matter how many asset flips are reported, it seems that there are people willing to game the system as long as there is money to be made. The latest project of this ilk to hit Steam is Game Tube (stylized as GAME TUBE ♛), a mini-game collection in Steam Early Access that promises players free Steam keys in exchange for high scores. These games aren’t from the developer of Game Tube either, they’re from a wide range of developers and publishers, including established names such as KISS ltd and `1C Company. That’s really where the problem starts.

Game Tube was published on the storefront this past weekend, and the original version of the game did not include Steam key distribution. What was included in that game was a collection of smaller mini-games, most of which seem to be straight ports of asset packs purchasable on the Unity storefront. Included among the assets in the game’s marketing materials are 2D Archery (Bow & Arrow), Circle Crash, Brilliant Bingo Kit and Space Fighters Basic Pixel Art Pack. In-game, these assets are selectable in a menu and basically unchanged from the packages you can purchase yourself, some even being copied over without a name change. If you’ve ever played a game built solely on assets, you’ll know to expect only the most basic gameplay and graphics here.

Game Tube

One of the many mini-games in Game Tube that you can also acquire directly from the Unity store.

If that were the sum total of Game Tube‘s issues, it would be just a small part of the tidal wave of fake games crowding the Steam marketplace, but Game Tube doesn’t stop here. Ever since an update on December 10th, the main crux of the experience is to play these asset mini-games and rack up a high score. Once you get 10,000 points, you can cash in for a random Steam key. Games ranging from Shake Your Money Simulator 2016 to Platypus to Konung 3: Ties of the Dynasty are among the rewards.

The TechRaptor team was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Game Tube from hede, the creator of the project. When I reached out to inquire further, the developer was more than happy to respond in kind. I first asked how the system for keys worked and how many of each game was available for players.

So far we have several thousands of keys from the offered games and are testing the system thus when there are no more keys left, we manually add some dozens of keys everyday. We’re going to add keys from the games which are already offered as well as from some new ones.

Game Tube

We heard you like Steam games, so we put Steam games in your Steam game so you can earn Steam games while you play a Steam game.

I brought up the asset games included inside of Game Tube and asked about the ongoing development of the title. The creator made it clear where the games came from.

The engine which supports a lot of games working together and the system of key giving have been developed by us. As for the assets the mini-games are based on, they were bought from the asset store in the same way as the keys which I’ve already mentioned. We connect it all together in one big working project.
If any of the creators of the assets would like to be mentioned, we’ll do it, but there haven’t been any such requests yet. The fact of buying an asset let us not mention its initial creator.

We’re also developing our own games which will soon be added to the project.

When asked about potential business relationships with the developers of the games that are on offer, they had this to say.

Now we’re just buying keys from different bundle platforms to give them away in our project, so we aren’t connected with any of those developers or publishers in any other ways. But if some developers volunteer to give free keys from their games, we’ll and add them to the random key purchase for game points with pleasure.

To be clear, Game Tube is a $5 product, and its store page notes that the price will be slightly raised when it leaves Early Access. This developer is charging money for the experience of playing Unity store assets they didn’t create in order to earn Steam games they purchased in a bundle.

Game Tube

Digital Bingo has never been as thrilling as it is in Game Tube. Mostly because it’s never been thrilling.

Our conversation also included talk about expanding Game Tube, and the current menu page includes several previews of upcoming assets. We were able to identify Cowboy Catch Up Complete ProjectSubmarine Adventure – Complete Game Template, and Isometric Shooter among those listed as future additions. hede also offered to gift my Steam account 10000 Game Tube fun points, which would be enough to get me a free bundle key. I declined this generous offer.

TechRaptor has reached out to Valve and representatives from all the games being distributed by Game Tube and will update this story with any further developments regarding the product.

Credit to site contributor Mellow-Online1 for helping identify which Unity assets were being used in Game Tube.


Quick Take

Just when you think you’ve seen everything on Steam, along comes Game Tube. I can’t blame Valve too much for this one, as the bundle key distribution was patched in after the game’s initial release, and they’ve let plenty of asset flips get onto the storefront in the past.

Still, the fact that a developer finds it worth their time to try to make bank on the back of thousands of bundled keys they’ve somehow acquired shows just how deep the rabbit hole goes when it comes to issues with the Steam marketplace. The new Curator Connect program won’t fix all these issues, but it will at least get some of these keys out of the ecosystem, and that’s a win for everybody.


Alex Santa Maria

Reviews Editor

TechRaptor's Reviews Editor. Resident fan of pinball, Needlers, roguelikes, and anything with neon lighting. Owns an office chair once used by Billy Mays.