Wandersong is a charming side-scrolling rhythm adventure game and one of the big indie games of 2018. Unfortunately, due to a strange bug involving Steam’s confidence metric system, the game was considered ‘fake’ for four months.
The confidence metric system is part of Steam’s attempt to weed out ‘fake games’ that infest the shop. Basically, if a game doesn’t pass the metric, various features, like achievements and trading cards, will be limited or disabled. It’s designed to stem the tide of cheaply-made games where you can earn heaps of achievements for doing basically nothing.
With a game as popular as Wandersong, it would likely only take a matter of days for the game to be confirmed as real. However, months after the game’s September 2018 release, the sidebar on the game’s store page still said: “Steam is learning about this game.”
The game developers first assumed the percentage of positive reviews (98% out of 200 at the time of writing) was so large it confused the algorithm:
Wandersong's steam reviews are so good that Valve doesn't necessarily believe it's a real game, and still haven't enabled many basic features for us in case it's a bot trick. BUT IT'S REAL. https://t.co/wRZVo1LKtL pic.twitter.com/XqEzQKKP5x
— WANDERSONG (out now!!!) (@Wandersong_game) January 8, 2019
As funny of a story as that would be, that wasn’t the case. After talking about the problem on Twitter, Wandersong creator Greg Lobanov heard from Valve. According to the message, which Lobanov passed to Kotaku, Wandersong should have passed the confidence metric easily.
The real problem was a bug that prevented store pages from updating. Wandersong and some other games had passed the confidence metric’s parameters, but the store page didn’t update. Steam rolled out a fix last evening and Wandersong’s store page no longer has the warning.
Lobanov told Kotaku he’s relieved that they brought the issue to light and got it fixed. He would have liked for a human to intervene before it “the problem grew to comedic proportions,” but the problem didn’t affect too much, so he’ll keep laughing about it.
Greg Lobanov is currently working on another game tentatively titled Drawdog.