As an owner of several unusual Team Fortress 2 hats (I’m proud of virtual currency, I know), I have been overloaded at times with requests from new steam accounts who just want to ask me for my precious unusual Flamboyant Flamenco in exchange for real world money. Of course, those are usually scams, but it’s gotten worse and worse as of late. With the latest restrictions placed by Steam, those requests may drop like flies.
First noticed over at Gamasutra, new limitations have been added onto new Steam accounts, and certain criteria must be satisfied before all steam functionality is available to the user. You can read the full description of limited accounts and what they do here. The short version is that you have to spend $5 dollars of some form, whether it be a steam gift, a game, or add money to your Steam Wallet before you have full access to the list of features available. These features include friend requests, voting on Greenlight, and using the browser and mobile chat. Needless to say, Valve has taken steps in order to stop some of the possible abuses of their systems over the last several years, but this is one of the biggest steps they’ve taken to date.
There are some interesting elements though that arise from some of the ways that you can’t activate an account, such as activating retail purchases (in store bought items) and the number of hours in free to play games. Also note that games gifted through Steam from a friend will also not activate the account as well: it’s strictly wanting you to activate something with your own wallet. Even the possibility of earning trading cards and selling them will not work as well, as you have no ability to list items on the Steam Market. It looks like Valve thought ahead a bit, as it’s about the total purchase amount on your account, so charge backs or declined cards after the fact will re-disable the account. Please note, if it’s refunded through the steam wallet however, then you’re still good.
With steam scam stories being so rampant over the year, and seeing people get hit by them with false links and a silver tongue, it seems Valve has had enough of the abuse of their system. It also can counter against the possible other abuses of the system, such as creating new accounts just to up-vote a project on Greenlight.
Do you think Valve went one step too far in their new policies, or did they hit the right level of user protection and accessibility? Do you believe that scammers will be willing to pay 5 dollars per account to attempt to extort assets from users, or will Steam see a significant drop off in these types of activities? And most importantly, if you’re a TF2 player, which unusual hat do you have that you are breathing a sigh of relief for due to the ridiculous amount of requests you get?