Valve bans Steam curator groups identified in key reselling scam

Valve has banned several Steam curator groups, after it was alleged that they were owned by a small number of people who were using the system as a means to resell keys.

On Sunday (August 28), developer Cowcat alleged that its latest game, Brok The InvestiGator, was being targeted with negative reviews. This was due to Cowcat issuing Steam curators who had requested a key with a prologue version of the game, which could not be finished.

Cowcat’s logic was that while legitimate Steam curators would get in touch and be issued with a regular key, scammers would resell the key without playing it – causing them to leave angry reviews when their buyers complained about the unfinished game.

Shortly after Cowcat brought attention to the influx of negative reviews, a Reddit user found that every curator who left a negative review had their accounts created within the same two days, and all shared the same main admin.

Brok The InvestiGator. Credit: Cowcat.
Brok The InvestiGator. Credit: Cowcat.

Since the key re-selling scam was uncovered, all groups that targeted Brok The InvestiGator have been banned from Steam. While the resellers once had over 200,000 combined followers, trying to access one of the groups now gives the message “This group has been removed for violating the Steam community rules and guidelines.”

Prior to the groups being banned, Cowcat said it was “unacceptable from Steam to let those fake reviewers continue their activity of harassing indie devs for keys.”

“Never buy keys on grey sites, folks,” continued the developer. “Indie devs get no money at all from them. They are stolen keys. You’re only giving your money to leeches!”

In other gaming news, Ubisoft has announced that Rocksmith+ is launching next week following a lengthy delay, with a catalogue of over 5000 songs featuring the likes of The Clash, Eurythmics, and Alicia Keys.

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