Wednesday, March 6th 2019

Upcoming Release List On Steam Sees Abuse By Developers

Valve's popular "Upcoming Release list" within Steam has become a bit of a hot button topic as the abuse of the feature becomes more widespread. As pointed out by Mike Rose, founder of indie game publisher No More Robots, on Twitter, the system behind the upcoming release list can be easily rigged by developers themselves. For context, the release list is created by Steam when it checks the release date for each title set in the Steam back end. Once it has verified the release date, the system then lists all titles that have been found on a fair number of wish lists, and displays them in the order they will be released. At this time, developers can continuously change the back end release date, thus keeping their games at the top of the list. This makes it easy for already popular titles to remain at the top, soaking up even more views. Meanwhile, if you take a gander at the games store page, you will see the proper release date which differs from the back end date the system currently uses.

Worse yet, there are currently no consequences for developers that are partaking in this practice. While in some ways I can appreciate the devs noticing these loopholes and taking advantage, the fact remains that it hurts the general user base. It also shows another flaw in Valve's various systems, showing how vulnerable they have become in recent years as their omnipotence has been steadily fading. For now, Tom Giardino from Valve's business team has made it clear that they are looking to fix and or resolve the problem, but do not wish to give an ETA for when a said fix would come. This is likely because they don't want to mess with the developers' ability to control their games release timing. It seems Valve can't catch a break between this, the Epic Games Store, and other problems. You can check the thread linked below for a full look into Mike's findings and thoughts on the issue.
Sources: thread reader, Twitter, Twitter
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15 Comments on Upcoming Release List On Steam Sees Abuse By Developers

#1
spectatorx
Solution to the problem seems to be fairly simple: just limit number of changes to, for example, one per month and state the reason behind it. If someone does this too often flag such dev and set with it date of business meeting to personally explain situation by providing proper evidence.
Posted on Reply
#2
silapakorn
This wouldn't happen on Epic Store.
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#3
ZoneDymo
silapakorn said:
This wouldn't happen on Epic Store.
oh snap, he went for it!
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#4
ixi
ZoneDymo said:
oh snap, he went for it!
Grabs some popcorn!
Posted on Reply
#5
Tartaros
silapakorn said:
This wouldn't happen on Epic Store.
Not sure if that's a compliment...
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#7
ShurikN
Don't think that in 14 years I've been on Steam, I have ever clicked on the "upcoming" tab
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#8
lexluthermiester
ShurikN said:
Don't think that in 14 years I've been on Steam, I have ever clicked on the "upcoming" tab
This. I haven't either. I've only had my account for 10 or so years though. Then again, I'm not a big fan of Steam and prefer GOG's way of doing things. Their upcoming list isn't easily abused; https://www.gog.com/games?page=1&sort=popularity&tab=coming

Steam needs to fix that problem as it is very unfair to the rest of the devs.
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#9
Ferrum Master
Childish bug/exploit, and yet some tech sites make an article from it... slow news day? Why you just don't report it to Steam? Ask other devs about it and consolidate.

Understandable that his game Hypnospace Outlaw is below some Hentai Crush...

Considering the amount of rubbish in these lists, I also don't even click those lists... for the same quality issues, waste of time.
Posted on Reply
#10
lexluthermiester
Ferrum Master said:
Childish bug/exploit, and yet some tech sites make an article from it... slow news day?
Irony much? It's a news article because it's news that affects part of the gaming world in a negative way, is a form of abuse and needs to be highlighted for public awareness. Seems easy to understand to me..
Posted on Reply
#11
Ferrum Master
lexluthermiester said:
Irony much? It's a news article because it's news that affects part of the gaming world in a negative way, is a form of abuse and needs to be highlighted for public awareness. Seems easy to understand to me..
To me it looks like mere hidden advertisement. Intentionally or not? It is not the mature way of solving such problems.
Posted on Reply
#12
DeathtoGnomes
ShurikN said:
Don't think that in 14 years I've been on Steam, I have ever clicked on the "upcoming" tab
i dont see any tab....
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#13
lexluthermiester
Ferrum Master said:
To me it looks like mere hidden advertisement. Intentionally or not? It is not the mature way of solving such problems.
While that's an interesting point, just doesn't seem likely. It's far more likely to be exactly what it's described as, devs taking advantage of an unintentional loophole in Steam's system.
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#14
moproblems99
Ah, human ingenuity at its finest. I really do appreciate when people think outside the box as it shows humanity still has the capacity to use that gray matter in times when less and less of it are being used. Now if only we could channel that to important things...
Posted on Reply
#15
xorbe
Remove the future release date feature. Problem solved. Title is released, or not released.
Posted on Reply
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