Valve’s Steam Greenlight program has been coming under fire a lot lately. Since the program’s inception we’ve seen plenty of great games released on Steam Greenlight, and we’ve seen our fair share of stinkers. Most recently, we saw one that encapsulated everything that’s bad about the program, and one developer who bent or broke the cardinal rule of being honest in the marketing of their game: Earth: Year 2066.
Highlighted by Jim Sterling last month, Earth: Year 2066 was a shell of a game that offered Early Access for $19.99 on Steam. The developer was apparently dishonest with using art which he did not own the rights to, attempted to mute all criticism of his game on the Steam forums, and created accounts on Steam to paint Earth: Year 2066 in a good light. Apparently it was all to sell a “game” to unknowing consumers on Steam.
As a bad a game may be, Valve doesn’t often remove games from the Steam marketplace because of quality issues. After all, Early Access titles on Steam are largely works in progress, sometimes they are very crude representations of what they aspire to be. While it may have taken a little time, Valve has decided to take action against Earth: Year 2066, removing it from Steam and offering refunds for the game until Monday, May 19th.
According to a post on the Steam Community Forums, “On Steam, developers make their own decisions about promotion, features, pricing and publication. However, Steam does require honesty from developers in the marketing of their games. We have removed Earth: Year 2066 from Early Access on Steam. Customers who purchased the game will be able to get a refund on the store page until Monday May 19th.”
While Steam users should always be wary of misleading marketing about content in an Early Access title, it’s nice to see that Valve is offering some protection from developers who are looking to pray on those looking to fund the next big thing.