Valve’s Steam takes a stand against shills and bribery

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Scared you’re not getting independent buying advice from your informative website of choice? It’s a legitimate concern, especially when it comes to buying expensive games online on the say-so of a community recommendation rather than – say – a properly impartial news and reviews outlet like, oooh… us?

Valve Software is obviously concerned. The latest update to Steam’s Terms of Service requires that all curators – people who have their own “channel” within Steam that hosts their personal game recommendations – must disclose whether the games they recommend are promoted in return for “any kind of consideration from a third party” according to IGN.

That’s not just accepting financial or payment-in-kind perks either. Valve’s T&Cs include full disclosure for receiving free games and review copies from developers or PR agencies too.

The changes don’t just affect curators, though – they also encompass user reviews. So if I, for example, were to leave a review for a Steam game I received from a local PR agency, I would need to disclose exactly that (we’re usually supplied with review copies of games ahead of launch).

I’ve had a look through the reviews on my account, and it appears I’m not big on leaving user reviews (I have only written 14, and all 14 are for games I bought myself). Sjoe.

This is all part of Valve’s efforts to promote transparency on their platform, and to give the public reasons to trust the curators who could potentially promote PR- or developer-provided games that might otherwise not have earned a recommendation.

Not that anyone would do that, right? But, you know, the amended terms are there just in case.

[Source – IGN]

Deon du Plessis

Deon du Plessis

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.

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