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Valve Slams The Ban Hammer On Developer Over Fake Reviews

Steam Games.Antnie/YouTube

Fake reviews have been around for a long time, but companies have been largely successful at stamping them out to the point that they are no longer an epidemic. A recent example of how online entities now deal with fake reviews is Valve banning a video game development company for having its employees leave fake reviews on Steam.

The company in question is the Maltese developer Insel Games, which has been producing online, multiplayer games, Ars Technica reports. After learning that the company was trying to game Steam’s review system, Valve decided to remove all of its titles from the platform and ban it from ever uploading anything on the digital distribution portal.

As to how Valve learned about this behavior, in the first place, it was due to a leaked email that was posted on Reddit. The most disturbing aspect of that email is the fact that it was threatening employees if they didn’t write fake reviews on Steam.

"Of course I cannot force you to write a review (let alone tell you what to write)—but I should not have to," Insel’s CEO wrote. "Neglecting the importance of reviews will ultimately cost jobs. If [Wild Busters] fails, Insel fails... and then we will all have no jobs next year."

After learning of this development, Valve decided to look into the matter and its investigations led the company to conclude that this was indeed the case. In a message to the public, Valve said that it would no longer have any business relations with Insel.

“It has been recently reported on Reddit that the publisher for this game, Insel Games Ltd., have been attempting to manipulate the user review score for their titles on Steam. We have investigated these claims, and have identified unacceptable behavior involving multiple Steam accounts controlled by the publisher of this game. The publisher appears to have used multiple Steam accounts to post positive reviews for their own games. This is a clear violation of our review policy and something we take very seriously,” Valve wrote.

“For these reasons, we are ending our business relationship with Insel Games Ltd. and removing their games from our store. If you have previously purchased this game, it will remain accessible in your Steam library.”

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