No more messing around with release dates on Steam. Now, developers will have to obtain Valve’s approval before they can move the launch of their game.
A Reddit user HeadlessIvan, who works at an unnamed indie publisher, shared the screenshot of the message he received when trying to change the release date on Steam:
According to Gamesindustry.biz, with this update Valve intends to put an end to a widespread abuse of the Popular Upcoming list. Steam developers often set the release dates of their games as imminent so that the store system automatically places them Popular Upcoming list. They do this to attract the users’ attention, while the actual imminent releases getting less exposure.
This issue was earlier put in the spotlight by the head of No More Robots, Mike Rose. He cited a “manipulated mess” happening on Steam, with developers abusing the system to appear over and over again on the list.
It’s likely though that Valve has another reason to toughen up its rules. Recently, a number of developers have signed contracts for the temporary exclusivity with the Epic Games Store. At the same time, they have moved their games’ release dates on Steam to a later time, from six months to a year (depending on the period specified in the agreement with EGS). Obviously Valve has an issue with devs signing with another store while still enjoying all the exposure on Steam. So the new measure will probably make developers think twice before migrating to another platform.