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Many of us liked to imagine potential future prospects as children, one of these dreams jobs for many was getting into the video games industry and making it big. For aspiring game devs, Steam’s Greenlight program is a great way to get your game into the public eye. Enough “yes” votes and your game makes it through the evaluation stage. Any amount of “no” votes have zero effect on a game being lit.

This practice of exchanging game keys for a “yes” vote on Steam Greenlight is nothing new, there are several cases of devs engaging in this unethical practice. It’s one thing to give away keys to get feedback, it’s another issue altogether when keys are being used as a form of bribery.

Giving games in exchange for votes

Enticing gamers with free game keys to push a game through feels dishonestly underhanded. While not bribery, Steam Greenlight has more flaws that are apparent that cause the same sort of skepticism on legitimacy.  What else is as underhanded as exchanging a game for a “yes” vote? Empty fake accounts that give favorability. Valve is not pleased at all when it comes to Steam Greenlight abuse. As stated previously, “no” votes lack any impact on a game whatsoever. When you vote “no”, you’re simply stating you have no interest in purchasing the game if it passes. Votes are intended to gauge the community’s reaction to new games coming out on the market, their viability.

I’ve asked a new dev on the scene who recently got his game lit his thoughts on trading keys for votes. Here is what Slade Villena aka Roguestar’s response was;

It defeats the whole fucking purpose of greenlight.

With Valve cracking down and some devs against the practice, gamers should be in better hands. Many agree, “yes” votes should be genuine. Any other way and it defeats the purpose of a community vote. This is why shady practices are discouraged and why Valve is doing what they can to curb some of the abuse.

What are your thoughts on game devs being told they can not use promises of keys as leverage for passing?

Anthony Lee

Gamer since the NES era, computer nerd since 2001. Happily in a loving relationship with a happa who has been a gamer since the Sega Genesis era. Who says Sega does what Nintendon't?