Among PC gamers, Steam has earned great popularity for adequate price tags, generous discounts, rich functionality and, of course, for the widest selection of games, of which at the beginning of this year there were about 30 thousand. The assortment is impressive, but if you, like me, sometimes postpone the purchase of a certain game in the hope of snatching it at a discount at the next sale, then over time you may not find it on Steam. And the thing is that Valve quietly, without publicity, without a drop of pity, periodically removes games from its platform for several reasons.
PC Gamer has analyzed in detail why Valve is removing games from Steam and we, in turn, will provide the main points of the article.
1. Overuse of Steamworks Tools
At the end of November, perhaps the largest purge of games on Steam happened: in a few hours, about 1000 different projects were removed from the service. As you might guess, mostly low-quality indie games went to the trash can, most of which were published on Steam by publisher Dagestan Technology. However, along with them, projects like Electric Highways with more than a thousand positive reviews fell under the distribution.
A little later, Valve made an official comment on the massive purge of games and reported that the crackdown was directed at a number of publishers who abused Steamworks tools. More details could not be obtained from a Valve representative.
2. Publisher stops paying for SecuROM DRM
One of the main problems of DRM anti-piracy protection systems is possible system malfunctions or the publisher's refusal to pay DRM developers to renew protection. The best and saddest example of such a case is the game TRON Evolution, which, due to Disney's refusal to pay for the renewal of anti-piracy protection, stopped launching from buyers of the licensed version. Of course, due to inoperability, the game was immediately removed from Steam.
3. Epic Games Deal
Since the end of last year, Epic Games has begun to lure game developers en masse to its Epic Games Store platform, offering them a number of financial bonuses. It is not surprising that some of the developers followed the lead of Epic Games and preferred a new platform instead of Steam, which, of course, was perceived by many players without enthusiasm. Most notably, Metro Exodus was removed from Steam by its publisher two weeks prior to release, sparking a flurry of gaming outrage.
Over time, of course, Metro Exodus will become available for purchase on Steam, like many other games with temporary EGS exclusive status. But there are also projects that don't even think to return to Steam. For example, the Satisfactory Engineer Simulator.
4. Links to Winnie the Pooh
Oddly enough, the image of Winnie the Pooh has become one of the main symbols of the protests in Hong Kong. And while some developers are trying with all their might to distance themselves from scandalous protests and suppress political expressions of will (remember Blizzard), others, such as the creators of the horror Devotion, support the protests by inserting a link to Winnie the Pooh and other events in China into the game. The publisher of the game did not like the amateur developers so much that he removed Devotion from sale on Steam.
5. Copyright Fight
Copyright infringement is a fairly common reason for deleting projects from Steam. One of these games was Star Control: Origins, when the developers of the original Star Control for MS-DOS sent a DMCA violation report to the game creators. A copyright lawsuit followed, and to the delight of space adventurers, Star Control: Origins was re-available on Gabe Newwell's platform a few weeks later.
6. Music License Expiration
When licensing songs for any game, the developer always buys the right to use the tracks in the game only up to a certain time. After the expiration date, he either renews the license or removes the music, and along with it, often also games, which happened at one time with Alan Wake, Dirt 3, F1 2013, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and many other projects. Fortunately, after deleting the desired tracks, the publisher almost always returns the deleted game to Steam.
7. Fake reviews
Writing fake reviews is a fairly common way to promote products and services, which has been fully mastered by some unscrupulous developers on Steam. One of the creators of the game, Acram Digital, was especially noted, who wrote positive reviews for the game from different accounts on Steam. Valve did not appreciate such a marketing find and removed the project from the site.
8. Pornographic content
Despite the fairly liberal rules on Steam, Valve is still removing some games due to pornographic content. One of these games was House Party, which returned a week later to the open spaces of the store with minor changes: from now on, especially piquant places were closed by censors. Most often, the accusations of pornography are directed by Valve representatives to Japanese games, but in fairness it should be noted that the wording of "pornographic content" in Valve is rather vague.
9. Replacing the original with an updated version
When remasters, updated or expanded editions are released, they often replace the original versions of games. For example, after the release of Dark Souls: Remastered Edition, the vanilla version disappeared from Steam. But there are other situations as well. The original version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim does not appear in store search results. Only the VR and Special Edition versions are available to choose from, however, if you search well, you can still find the original 2011 version in the store.
10. Technical problems
Often publishers and developers personally remove games from Steam after a technical failure of the game launch. The most famous example is Batman: Arkham Night, but Five Nights at Freddy's World can also be noted, the creator of which, after disappointing reviews and statements about serious technical problems, decided to withdraw the game from Steam. In addition, he volunteered for everyone to reimburse the amount they spent on the game, regardless of the time played.
In September 2017, the Steam administration removed 173 games that were created by the same developer. The problem with all the remote projects was that instead of games, they were primitive applications that mined trading cards on Steam. Also worth mentioning is the game Active Shooter, which was blocked for trolling customers, manipulating reviews and using copyrighted materials.
12. Bad game
Let's be honest. Not all games on Steam can be called good, and for some of them the epithet "bad" will be a compliment, but not all of them are removed. An exceptional case is Afro Samurai 2, which, after devastating evaluations by journalists and gamers, was removed from the sale by the developers in Steam.
13. Game not finished
Buying games from Steam Early Access has always been a lottery, because apart from the honest word of the developers, we have no guarantees of getting a completed game. Of course, some projects reach the release state, other games have been in early access for 7 years, and some games are completely removed from Steam after many years of problematic development. Survival sandbox Under The Ocean is one such game.
14. The developer threatened to kill Gabe Newell
Threats towards someone's life is always a bad act, regardless of whether it is said with complete seriousness or in jest. And bad deeds are always punished, so it's not surprising that in 2014 the Paranautical Activity project was removed from sale on Steam after threats to kill Gabe Newell, said by one of the game's creators. But what was most unexpected, after the scandalous statement, the developer left the studio, returned to it, resold the rights to the game to another publisher, and over time the game could be bought again on Steam.
15. Out of digital copies
Don't try, but the 2006 shooter Prey cannot be bought on Steam, and as of now, neither the publisher, Valve, nor the developers have commented on the game's disappearance. As one of the possible options, every digital copy of the game on Steam used keys from unsold physical copies. This assumption is hinted at by Kotaku's statement that in 2009 during a sale, players sold out all copies of Prey on Steam, which is quite an unusual situation for games sold online.
See also: The best games of autumn 2019.
The Topic of Article: Pornography, threats to kill Gabe Newell and 13 more reasons why games are disappearing from Steam.