There are two types of people in this world – those that collect Steam Trading cards to create badges for their profile and those that sell them off to add funds to their wallet.

The latter of the two seems rather questionable given that trading cards are given away for free but can be sold for a monetary gain. Valve does recognise this and rather than take away a source of income for many gamers, it makes do with a small percentage of the sales of trading cards.

The trouble is that trading cards can also be used to game the system.

“After the release of Trading Cards, the number of players interested in them grew significantly, until it reached the point where the demand for cards became significant enough that there was an economic opportunity worth taking advantage of,” a post on Valve’s official blog reads. “And that’s when our group of bad actors arrived, aiming to make money by releasing ‘fake’ games on Steam.”

The Steam creator explains that these “fake” games are given to bots on the platform which proceed to farm trading cards which can be used to make money.

In light of this problem and Valve’s reluctance to can trading cards out right another solution has been employed – a confidence metric.

Simply put trading cards in a game will only become available once a game has proved that it has been bought – and more importantly played – by a real person. Once a game has reached the required confidence metric trading cards will be released including any cards players may have acquired during their play time.

It’s important to note that games and trading cards that are already in the Steam ecosystem will not be affected by this change

Of course the obvious solution is to simply stop these games from getting on to the store in the first place. The trouble with this Valve says is that many of these games come through Greenlight and there’s simply not enough data and too much noise to sift through.

“Greenlight is used by a tiny subsection of Steam’s total playerbase, producing far less data overall, which makes it more easily gamed. In addition, Greenlight only allows players to vote and comment, so that data is narrow. Steam at large allows players to interact with games in many different ways, generating a broad set of data for each game, and that makes identifying fake ones an easier task,” writes Valve.

Simply put, Valve is still not keen on sifting through the mess that is Greenlight even with the platform drawing its final breath. This change is being implemented to protect Valve’s algorithm which suggests games to users. The reason being that the aforementioned “fake games” can be labelled as popular by the algorithm because a large number of people are seemingly playing it.

The crux of the matter is that now gamers will have to wait to earn trading cards which isn’t all that bad since you’ll still be able to sell them to add funds to your wallet.



Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.