Valve, the company who runs the well-known digital distribution platform, Steam, has recently implemented a policy change targeting spammers. The new rules limit access to a number of features for anyone who has spent less than $5 on their account.

This move won’t affect the wide majority of Steam users as most games or software sold on the platform are worth more than $5 anyway. Those who have ever purchased anything, bought a gift for someone or put money in their Steam Wallet will likely be in the clear.

The new policy targets those abusing their Steam account for spamming, phishing and more. Anyone who creates an account without spending at least $5 will be blocked from the following features:

  • Sending invites to friends
  • Using group chat
  • Voting in Greenlight, reviews, etc.
  • Contributing to the Steam Market
  • Posting within Steam Discussions
  • Collecting Trading Cards
  • Upgrading Steam Profile Levels
  • Submitting content into the Workshop
  • Gaining access to Steam Web API
  • Using chat in the browser or on mobile

One common technique by spammers in Steam involves the Greenlight system. In this community, developers pitch their ideas. These can be voted on, with Valve allowing the most popular to be sold in the future on Steam. With multiple spam accounts, an individual can vote more than once on a particular title, skewing it in their favour.

Valve explained the change, saying they wanted to protect their customers from spammers. As these accounts generally have no spending habits or investment, their owners aren’t at risk by signing up multiple times. With the new policy however, the added cost will raise the stakes for those who want to maliciously use Steam without putting any added pressure on more general users. This was seen as a way to ensure a fairer community environment on this popular distribution platform.