In Anti-Spam Efforts, Steam Locks Features to Paying Customers Only

Valve is set to introduce a new set of restrictions on Steam accounts in an effort to reduce the occurrence of spam & phishing on their service. One of which includes making group chat exclusively for those of whom have spent at least $5 in the store.

Now let’s be clear, it appears non-paying customers will still be able to participate in one-on-one chats inside of the Steam client, albeit not in the browser or on their mobile device. They also won’t be able to send friend requests but theoretically others can add them and then engage in a one-on-one chat.  This is the complete list of features which are being locked off for accounts which have spent less than $5 in the store:

  • 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

Valve states “Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts that have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do. 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.”

To regain access:

  • Adding the equivalent of $5 USD or more to your Steam Wallet
  • Purchasing game(s) that are equal to $5 USD or more from the Steam store
  • Adding a Steam Wallet card to your Steam account
  • Purchasing a Steam gift that is equal to $5 USD or more from the Steam store (Receiving a Steam gift from a friend doesn’t count)

The concern I have is that so long as phishing or spam remains profitable, $5 may actually prove too low…. It’s a difficult balancing act though as casual users who use Steam legitimately should absolutely have access to all features.

Source: Valve