×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Developers Are Allegedly Manipulating Steam’s Popular Upcoming List

Some developers are allegedly taking advantage of an exploit that lets them keep their games on Steam’s Popular Upcoming list and increase their visibility on Valve’s digital storefront. Mike Rose, founder of the indie publishing label No More Robots, raised the issue in a Twitter thread on Tuesday.

“The Popular Upcoming list on Steam is a great spot on the Steam front page for upcoming games to be noticed. Unfortunately, it’s a (sometimes accidentally) manipulated mess,” he said.

Steam generates its Popular Upcoming list by looking for titles with decent wishlist numbers and ordering them by their supposed release dates, which are set in the platform’s backend, according to Rose. But, he said developers can set any date they want and change it later without consequences. “You can set a date, and let it go by. Then you can set another date, and let it go by again,” he said. “Setting this date has no meaning — except for appearing in the Upcoming list.”

Rose uses Eugen System’s upcoming real-time strategy game “Steel Division 2” as an example. While its store page lists its release date as Apr. 4, the developer listed the date as Mar. 6 in the backend, Rose claimed, so it appeared on the Popular Upcoming list a month early, pushing out other titles with more immediate launches.

Eugen Systems disputed Rose’s claim on Twitter. “We didn’t manipulate the system. The release date has been set on Apr. 4, 2019 in Steam backoffice for a long time,” it said. “We have no idea why ‘March 5th’ is still popping. We’re obviously in touch with Steam about this matter. Please double-check before writing this kind of stuff.”

In an email to Variety, Rose said he spoke with Eugen privately and the studio is adamant the release date error was accidental. “So, I have to take them at their word on that. But, there are other devs/publishers who are 100% playing the system,” he said.

Some Valve employees also weighed in on the issue on Tuesday, lending credence to Rose’s claims. “You have great timing,” said Tom Giardino, who works in business development and marketing at Valve. “This was a big topic of discussion yesterday, and it frustrates us for the same reasons it frustrates you. But, it’s also super important that devs get to control their own release timing, so we don’t want to mess with that.”

“We’ve seen it happen a couple of times and are looking at various solutions,” said Valve product designer Alden Kroll. “We want to allow devs flexibility to change release dates in case something comes up, but not to manipulate the system.”

Rose told Variety he doesn’t blame Valve for the issue, saying it’s a matter of developers manipulating or misunderstanding a system that’s designed to be as flexible as possible.

“It’s useful that devs can set whatever date they want, and change it if they like,” he said. “But, there always have to be bad eggs who ruin it for everyone else.”

More Gaming

  • Slakoth Featured for "Pokemon Go" June

    Slakoth Featured for "Pokemon Go" June Community Day

    The “Pokemon Go” Community Day is returning next month, and Niantic is urging players to not slack off and to be sure and nab a Slakoth, the featured pokemon this event, as seen in a new promo video. The video, shown above, features the augmented reality version of the normal-type pokemon who will appear more [...]

  • Valve Launches Steam Chat Mobile App

    Valve Launches Steam Chat Mobile App

    Steam Chat is now available for iOS and Android devices, Valve announced on the Steam Blog on Tuesday. The app functions similarly to the Steam desktop chat, allowing users to see which of their friends are online and what games they’re playing. The app also supports “Rich Chat,” meaning users can send GIFs, emoticons, tweets, [...]

  • Tencent, Riot Games May Be Developing

    Tencent, Riot Games May Be Developing 'League of Legends' Mobile Game

    A mobile version of the massively popular “League of Legends” could be in development, three sources tell Reuters. “League of Legends” is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed and published by Riot Games for PC players. Tencent Holdings is China’s most powerful gaming company, and is behind “Honour of Kings,” a mobile game [...]

  • 'Mario Kart Tour' Looks Like it

    'Mario Kart Tour' Beta Locks Powerful 'Rare' Characters Behind Paywall

    “Mario Kart Tour” seems poised to have several monetization elements, including for-pay “rare characters,” based on leaked info from its current beta period in Japan, as shared on ResetEra. The mobile game will be free to play, so of course Nintendo needs to make money from “Mario Kart Tour” somehow. Still, some fans are concerned [...]

  • Why a Major Hollywood Talent Agency

    Why a Major Hollywood Talent Agency is Betting Big on Gaming Influencers

    The entertainment industry has changed a lot in the last few years. Newer mediums like esports, streaming channels, and influencer content are challenging more traditional outlets like film and TV for fans’ limited attention spans. Professional gamers are making millions while achieving levels of fame previously reserved for Hollywood celebrities — which means they also [...]

  • Activision Share Details on 'Call of

    Activision Share Details on 'Call of Duty: Mobile' Battle Royale Mode

    Activision just dropped a ton of details about the battle royale mode for its upcoming free-to-play iOS and Android game “Call of Duty: Mobile.”. Like “Black Ops 4’s” Blackout mode, it features iconic locations from the “Call of Duty” universe on one large map, the publisher said in a blog post on Tuesday. Those locations [...]

  • Ubisoft to Discuss 'The Division 2'

    Ubisoft to Discuss 'The Division 2' Plans Wednesday

    Ubisoft will spend some time outlining the current status and the future of its online shooter “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2” during a State of the Game livestream on Wednesday, it announced on Twitter. The stream airs at 3 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. PST/11 a.m. EST. Ubisoft isn’t giving any details about what it will discuss. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content