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Most of us have spent ungodly amounts of money purchasing games on Steam, but if you only use it to play free-to-play games, you might now be shut out from gaining full access to Valve’s gaming platform.

In an effort to combat people who make and discard free accounts for illegal activities like phishing, Valve has now instituted a restriction on accounts until they spend at least $5 with Steam. Among the features you’ll be locked out from include sending friend invites, participating in the Steam Market, voting on Greenlight games, and opening group chat. Activating a game on Steam that you purchased elsewhere or received as a gift will not remove these restrictions — you need to spend money directly with Steam.

Valve’s rationale for making this change is explained thusly:

Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do. One of the best pieces of information we can compare between regular users and malicious users are their spending habits as typically the accounts being used have no investment in their longevity.

Like I said, I’d imagine that just about every legitimate player using Steam meets the $5 requirement, but there will be outlier cases. Is this going to affect you?

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

46 Readers Commented

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  1. Trok on April 23, 2015

    steam = scam. you do not wn the game you buy, you cant reurn them even when they do not work, you can not sell them, trade them, cunstomer support is a joke, it is full with garbage free to play, facebook, early access scam games
    censorship on forums, fake reviews , overpriced games = digital download even more expensive then hard copy etc.
    steam is a joke

    • Raide on April 24, 2015

      I know that steam has some issues, like crappy Early Access features (but let’s be honest, thats the fault of the developers of those games, not Valve, necessarily)
      But overpriced games? Seriously? Steam is famous for having a lot of great sales.
      Fake reviews? Source please.
      Customer support isn’t that bad. I had an issue because I accidentally spent an additional 25$ on my steam wallet that I didn’t want, and they refunded me within a day.
      A lot of free to play games are crap, but there are some good ones as well. Also, why are you complaining about free to play games on a site that’s all about F2P?

  2. ama8o8 on April 22, 2015

    People over react over $5 the hell…but idk if its enough….these people can easily make an account and spend $5 easily. I say they should make it like “spend $60 to use all features”.

  3. aegnosis on April 21, 2015

    I want to play Skyforge because it seams kinds next gen mmo n i wanna try that so hard

  4. Nashah on April 21, 2015

    This seems pretty fair overall. People are making a big deal out of nothing. They are limiting you from doing what? Sending friend invites, using the steam market, using the greenlight feature (woopdedoo, in fact this may keep some underhanded developers from making multiple accounts and voting for their game), and opening a group chat.

    I imagine the two most annoying things for most legitimate players would be being unable to send friend invites or opening a group chat. The thing is if you have friends you could just have them send you a friend invite or have them add you into a group chat. While this may be annoying this by no means will keep you from being in contact with your friends.

  5. MMOGirl on April 21, 2015

    Even steam went p2w now ! All going down the drain ! Dumb a-holes.

    • LordOfGaming on April 21, 2015

      how in the world is this p2w? It’s not like you “win” anything by paying, and you should at least put down a few bucks to support the devs, out of respect. I’ve spent over a hundred dollars on steam and I don’t regret a dime. The only thing I dislike about the new setup is that you can’t send people friend invites.

  6. Jellopy on April 21, 2015

    Hate to say it but I 100% back valves decision, my account was hit for 240 bucks by one of these a-holes about four months ago. Fortunately it was resolved and the money put back in my bank but I am glad to see them taking action to lock them out for good.

    • Jellopy on April 21, 2015

      Replying to my own post here but I know how they do it. If you get random invites on steam reject it unless you are 100% certain you know the person. This is how they got me added, thought it wax someone id played Borderlands 2 with.

  7. Lizzo on April 21, 2015

    Its not like they stop you from playing the game, but then again five dollars doesn’t seem like enough to fix the problem. Which kind of makes it look like a more of a …… quick little cash grab. With that being said something definitely needs to be done about this problem, so all and all I agree with the idea.

  8. commanderhavoc on April 21, 2015

    Well as long as it leads to less of those annoying scammers and bots, then I don’t see any problems with this at all.

  9. cakabawz on April 21, 2015

    Steam is the malicious user, not the people. If you pay attention, they introduced a gambling system where purchasing and playing games on their platform, unlocks virtual loot. In your profile inventory you can sell these items or play/gamble with them. By setting up a p2w internal gaming system, they invited this to themselves. THIS IS WHY PEOPLE SELL ACCOUNTS. Not because of your games or friendlist. Steam is a horrible over priced platform. Gamefly has less expensive games.

    • cakabawz on April 21, 2015

      Also, back in the day, I purchased Far Cry 2. At end game, the last mission giver door was bugged and shut. My progress of playing for months…destroyed. I couldnt finish the game. I went online looking for fix. It was a known bug on SOME copies and a rare patch was given. Steam sold me the bad copy, and since steam doesnt support official patches (they have to code updates for their platform), I lost out. They have a toxic community as well.

      • Dub on April 21, 2015

        All get the Same Copy idiot. Patch it!

        • Anon on April 21, 2015

          Most likely someone who’s hired to advertise by gamefly. Remember that one guy that kept spamming how grewat PWE is?

  10. E on April 21, 2015

    Confused how adding this 5 dollars is going to help with anything. With the amount of money people make phishing information or stealing account or whatever, why would 5 dollars stop them? I don’t get it.

    • Anon on April 21, 2015

      Some people will stop, and Valve makes more money, its still a win-win situation

  11. kori228 on April 21, 2015

    I don’t like this at all. I haven’t payed anything for any games but I do play games and yet I’m getting restricted. Sure I don’t pay, but at least there should be a system for playtime or something for free players.

    • Melwinder on April 21, 2015

      It’s $5.00… How hard is that? Just buy a few DLC packs on your favorite free to play game and boom, unrestricted…
      It’s not like they are asking for $50 or $500…

  12. click73s on April 20, 2015

    i think it good plan
    90% of steam users have spent money on games from steam
    i also think it will cut down on scams ,fake invite, spam and so on
    $5 buck to help stop this is worth it to me

    • commanderhavoc on April 21, 2015

      I agree there.
      Been getting a lot of friend requests as of lately from what are clearly bots of some kind, they all have level zero in their Steam level.

  13. Chirpes on April 20, 2015

    On average I get 5 invites from “[Unassigned]” bot scammers every single day, so yeah, anything to reduce that number without having to disable invites altogether is something I would pay any price for… Even $5. (Which has been paid for me waaaaay long ago.)

    Let ’em pay $25 a day to contact me, I won’t even be mad then.

    • commanderhavoc on April 21, 2015

      Urgh, I know that feeling.
      Sometimes the invites come one straight after another, its so bloody annoying to say the least.

  14. hawkfun on April 20, 2015

    Well i dont see the problem with the $5 plus less cheap scammers adding trying something they wont get.

  15. fromhelll on April 20, 2015

    I seen so many dumb ass complains about this since the news came out a couple days ago, people just like to over react everytime any changes are made to anything, always coming up with some BS story about how the one thing that was changed was the only thing they actually enjoyed, and their lives will now be ruined because of it. Yes it may be fair for some (very few i suspect), but some thing had to be done to try to control the Greenlight voting, and the scamming, which honestly is really your own fault, i don’t see how people get scammed with the way Steam trades are made, and if you’re dumb enough to give out your password then you deserve to get screwed.
    I’ve spent well over $5 so it won’t affect me, I was pretty annoyed with all the random invites I receive each week, and with all the shitty games that get Greenlit so I think it’s for the best. This may not end up fixing everything, but you won’t know unless you try, it’s better than not doing anything.

  16. Henry Lu on April 20, 2015

    This will only punish legit players. Scammers will know just deposit 5 dollars into their account and keep on scamming people.

    • elli on April 20, 2015

      A lot of scammer aren’t going to spend 5$ to be eventually banned. That makes no sense to a scammer. The whole point of scamming is to make money, not spend it.

      • Chirpes on April 20, 2015

        I believe he (and correct me if I’m wrong, Henry,) means they might add $5 to their Steam wallet through the many anonymous payment service providers, which acts like an anonymous bank, and then they will initiate charge back.

        Many Paypal phishing scammers use this to essentially launder stolen Paypal credit anonymously and would work just as well for this.

    • Chirpes on April 20, 2015

      Is there even a lot of Steam-only free-to-play games? I’m curious to see exactly how many (Below $5) players are using the Steam client opposed to the free games’ launchers and how many actually use the friends list.

      I just can’t imagine there’s many.

      • thsscapi on April 21, 2015

        That’s a good point. I was only thinking of how this group of people (who play only f2p games on Steam) might be affected. There really aren’t many such games that I know of.

        There are, however, cases where some players are gifted paid games and have thus never spent anything (as seen in other comments). I imagine they’d be affected by this. $5 is a small price to pay though.

        • LordOfGaming on April 21, 2015

          That’s what I’m wondering. I have like 25 games, but a lot of my games were gifted to me, so I’m not certain how that will affect my “number”. Pretty sure I’ve still spent enough for it to be worth it though.

  17. idontlikemyname on April 20, 2015

    What about the people who already spend more then 5$? before they set up this you will get full acces? or do you need to spend another 5$?

    • Adan on April 20, 2015

      Are you an idiot? It applies to all accounts that have NEVER spent 5 dollars before.

      If you have spent 5-5million dollars you are fine.

      • Seng on April 20, 2015

        Lel… I think i have only spent one dollar on steam c: and that was for Gmod and then the rest i just played elsword for about 4000hours like the no life i am

        • Anon on April 21, 2015

          g-mods full price is 10 bucks so you may be an exception

    • TORK on April 20, 2015

      You’re really stupid .

      • LJ on April 20, 2015

        guess im gonna have to have people add me cause i play cs:go and a few other games my friend gift me had my account 4 years about to be 5 and never spent a dime

  18. Swiffty on April 20, 2015

    I Started using steam back in 2009 since then i have spent well over 5 dollars maybe $500 lol anyways if its what they need to do to stop spammers and hackers on steam so be it. Plus i don’t know how much more of those’s fake friends invites i can take good lord .

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