Valve has been making changes to Steam in many ways but it is also fighting against those who abuse different systems that were designed to facilitate users and devs. This time Valve is cracking down on Steam Trading card abuse to combat fake games and for that Valve has made some changes to the Steam Trading Card system.
Trading Cards are collectible items that players can either collect or sale on Steam Community Market. The uptake of the Tracing Cards has been significant to the point that there is an economy on Steam based on Steam Trading Card system.
However, some have taken advantage of it by creating fake games and generating thousands of keys for these fake games and distributing them among Steam account bots. According to Valve, “Even if no real players ever see or buy one of these fake games, their developers make money by farming cards”.
Farming Trading Cards for profit as a developer isn’t rocket science. The primary difficulty is that they need to get a game up on Steam. For a while now, we’ve been engaged in an escalating war of disabling their latest method of gaming Greenlight’s voting mechanisms, where each time we succeed, they circle around and come up with a new way. Unfortunately, this approach isn’t terribly sustainable – they continue to get smarter and more large scale in their methods of generating tons of data, and we’re spending more and more time fighting it.
Valve has ruled out the possibility of restricting devs from generating keys for their games as it would harm the devs with legitimate games. While Valve is making money and users are getting Trading cards but according to Valve, these fake games affect the algorithms.
The algorithm’s primary job is to chew on a lot of data about games and players, and ultimately decide which games it should show you. These Trading Card farming games produce a lot of faux data because there’s a lot of apparent player activity around them. As a result, the algorithm runs the risk of thinking that one of these games is actually a popular game that real players should see.
To fight this Steam Trading Card abuse, Valve has introduced a “confidence metric” that will only let the Trading Cards appear if Steam is sure that the game is legitimate and is being bought by real players. Once the game hits this metric, cards will drop to all users – including those that played the game prior to that point.
With this change in Steam Trading Card System, Valve hoped to eliminate the “economic incentive” for those who abuse this system.