These days, you can’t seem to escape reports of major corporations being “taken down” by phishing schemes (“Hello, Sony”) or ordinary spam. Valve doesn’t want its hugely popular Steam digital distribution service (or its users) to fall victim to such attacks, so it’s taking a rather unusual step to help weed out accounts that could possibly be used for nefarious purposes.
Valve has adopted a new policy that requires users to spend at least $5 before they are able to access a wealth of features that Steam users normally take for granted. Thankfully the threshold is rather low and it is pretty easy to surpass if you’re a heavy Steam user. In fact, if you’re a Steam user that hasn’t already spent at least $5, you’re doing it wrong.
As Valve explains, “Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do.” Valve goes on to state that users who are up to no good have no interest in spending money on Steam, and are only looking to cause trouble and spam accountholders that are more heavily vested it the service. “One of the best pieces of information we can compare between regular users and malicious users are their spending habits as typically the accounts being used have no investment in their longevity,” Valve adds.
Until $5 has been spent within the Steam store, users will be unable to access the following features:
- Sending friend invites
- Opening group chat
- Voting on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items
- Participating in the Steam Market
- Posting frequently in the Steam Discussions
- Gaining Steam Profile Levels (Locked to level 0) and Trading Cards
- Submitting content on the Steam Workshop
- Posting in an item's Steam Workshop Discussions
- Accessing the Steam Web API
- Using browser and mobile chat
However, please note that games that are gifted to your account do not count towards the $5 minimum. In addition, if you receive a refund for a game which then puts your Steam spending below $5, you will lose access to the above-mentioned features.
When all is said and done, this new restriction really does nothing to hamper the ability of everyday Steam users from accessing community features. However, it does put a financial roadblock in front of nefarious parties that are only looking to cause trouble. So we applaud Valve’s efforts, even if they are a bit unconventional.