Valve has removed nearly 1000 games from their online storefront Steam within the last 24 hours. People first began to take notice when over 980 games and soundtracks were added to Steam Tools’ list of banned apps. In the past, Steam has deleted a few games at a time, sometimes weekly or monthly, but never quite at the rate of this latest purge, according to PCGamesN. Gamesindustry.biz noted that the most recent removals before this were six days ago.
None of the freshly removed titles are particularly mainstream or well-known outside of the indie gaming community, but many of them have been available on Steam for several years now. Some examples include Glasswinged Ascension, which has been listed on Steam since mid-2017, Electric Highways, which had over 1300 very positive user reviews before its removal, and Masha Rescues Grandma, which first released in 2016.
At first, not much was known about why these games were removed, until developer Alexandra Frock noted that many of the removed games were linked to a single publisher based in Russia, Dagestan Technology, that also operates under other names, as seen in the “related apps” section of individual listings.
A good chunk of them are linked to a single publisher in Russia (I think “Dagestan Technology” is the first name they use) going under a very large number of different names. Here’s a tool that points out dev/pub relationships by support contact info: https://t.co/EqJQN9F2n1
— Alexandra Frock (@ntigravities) November 26, 2019
Eventually, a Valve representative spoke to PC Gamer, and, without naming names, implied that multiple developers—not just Dagestan Technology—are to blame for not following the rules. The rep stated: “We recently discovered a handful of partners that were abusing some Steamworks tools. We emailed all the affected partners.”
Valve has been making interesting moves lately, such as announced a new installment to the Half-Life franchise—not the highly anticipated Half-Life 3 fans have clamored for since Half-Life 2 fifteen years ago, but a new VR project titled Half-Life: Alyx, which will be set in-between the first and second Half-Life games.