Viewing Platform : Steam

Steam is a digital software marketplace owned by video game and hardware developer and publisher, Valve. Steam offers a catalog of more than 3,500 PC, Mac, and Linux titles through the Steam interface which provides a social network of friends, leaderboards, community forums and user-generated content.

marvelheroesomegaDigital Release:PC (Steam)
June 03, 2013 (as Marvel Heroes)
June 04, 2014 (as Marvel Heroes 2015)
January 28, 2016 (as Marvel Heroes 2016)
June 07, 2016 (as Marvel Heroes Omega)

PlayStation 4 (as Marvel Heroes Omega)
April 26, 2017 (US)
May 23, 2017 (EU)

Xbox One (as Marvel Heroes Omega)
June 30, 2017 (EU, US)
Delisting:December 31, 2017
Developer:Gazillion Entertainment
Publisher:Gazillion Entertainment
Available On:Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (AU, EU, FR, DE)
Links:Marvel Heroes homepage
Kotaku news post
Massively Overpowered news post

deadpoolDigital Release:PlayStation 3
June 25, 2013 (AU, EU, US)
July 22, 2015 (AU, EU, US) - RELISTED

Xbox 360
July 30, 2013 (AU, EU, US)
July 22, 2015 (AU, EU, US) - RELISTED

PC (Steam)
June 25, 2013
July 15, 2015 - RELISTED

PlayStation 4
November 17, 2015 (AU, EU, US)

Xbox One
November 17, 2015 (AU, EU, US)
Delisting:December 31, 2013 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Steam)
November 16, 2017 (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Steam)
Developer:High Moon Studios
Publisher:Activision
Available On:Retail (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
PlayStation 4 download code
Steam download code
Links:Polygon delisting news (2014)
Polygon relisting news (2015)
Delisting Announcement (2017)
Deadpool homepage

news-zonitron

Valve has offered an official statement to Polygon in response to their original story on the sudden removal of 173 Steam games with the following explanation:

“Yes, we have a full-time team monitoring reports and they identified an issue that lead to the removal of some titles from a few different Steamworks accounts. These accounts were generating a lot of reports and frustration from customers and other developers. It turns out that the bad actors were all the same person operating under different accounts.

What we found was a set of extreme actions by this person that was negatively impacting the functionality of the store and our tools. For example, this person was mass-shipping nearly-identical products on Steam that were impacting the store’s functionality and making it harder for players interested in finding fun games to play. This developer was also abusing Steam keys and misrepresenting themselves on the Steam store.

As a result, we have removed those games from the Steam Store and ended our business relationship with them.

The Steam platform is open, but we do ask developers to respect our customers and our policies. Spamming cloned games or manipulating our store tools isn’t something we will tolerate. Our priority is helping players find games they will enjoy playing.”

These titles were attributed to 12 separate publishers which turned out to be headed up by the person in question above. They included:

  • Anteater Games
  • Broadplay Games
  • Cubecumber Games
  • Digital Airony
  • Digital Airony Studios
  • Digital Carrot Productions
  • Floop Productions
  • GooCubelets Games
  • Netfork Studios
  • Pixberry Studios
  • Silicon Echo
  • Zonitron Productions

In their initial story, Polygon explained that Valve themselves referred to these titles as “fake” games, utilizing pre-made assets from resources like Unity to release numerous titles in short order. As Polygon explains, the scheme goes something like this:

“These were often given away in either free or low-cost bundles. Anyone on Steam interested in boosting their user level and collecting some easy trading cards to resell on the gray market could pick up [these] packages for little cost, earning back some cash with minimum effort for both themselves and the developer. Although trading cards typically go for as little as 25 cents, racking up a number of them can help users pay off a cheap game bundle purchase. Since developers get a cut, it’s a win-win situation.”

This behavior is harder to nail down when the offending party isn’t so egregious about it. In this case, however, research by members of the Steam groups Guardians of Greenlight/Sentinels of the Store revealed that this one publisher’s titles amounted to approximately 10% of the games released on Steam in both July and August.

In their own post, the Sentinels of the Store’s iDuL added that anybody who has a code for these games will have them removed from their account the next time they activate a key or buy a game. While anyone who previously purchased these games will retain them in their library, all Steam marketplace items (cards, etc) have been disabled.

For the time being, this post will serve as the page for these 173 titles which were identified through this Steam Tools page. The names can be found below and individually searched through the search bar at the top of the site.

virtuatennis4Digital Release:Steam
June 24, 2011 (Steam)

PlayStation Vita
December 17, 2011 (JP) [as Power Smash 4]
February 22, 2012 (AU, EU, KO, US) [as World Tour Edition]

Xbox 360
December 4, 2012 (AU, EU, JP, US)
Delisting:April 23, 2015
Developer:Sega
Publisher:Sega
Available On:Retail (Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita)
Links:Playstation.com page
PlayStation Store page
SteamDB page
Virtua Tennis 4 homepage [Archive]
Destructoid news
VideoGamer.com news