Last year, Valve put limitations on Steam trading cards to stop sketchy developers from making a living leeching money from the user-powered trading card economy. Now it's doing something similar with Steam achievements.
Illustration: Sam Woolley
In a post in Steam's private developer-focused Steamworks group, Valve announced that achievements - like trading cards - will now be subject to a "confidence metric" that prevents features from kicking in until it's been determined that a game is legit.
Until games reach that point, they will be limited to a maximum of 100 achievements. Those achievements won't count toward your total achievement count and can't be displayed in Steam profile achievement showcases. In addition, those games won't show up in your library's total game count, nor will they be visible in profiles' game collection showcases.
Over the past year, achievement spam games have become a genre unto themselves on Steam. On Steam, achievements can be used to decorate your profile page and create the illusion that you're an unstoppable MLG 420 pro, and games with a ton of easy-to-earn achievements make that easy to do.
They're often exceedingly simple, hastily assembled from preexisting assets, and loaded with thousands of achievements that players can earn for doing things such as walking, jumping and breathing. Some Steam users revile them, but plenty of others see them as a fun way to deck out their Steam profile pages.
Valve, apparently, didn't like the impact achievement spam games were having on the store - or on its precious algorithm.
"As you can guess, fake games were inflating achievement and game counts for users to display on their profiles," Valve wrote in the Steamworks group. "Our data shows us that an insignificant number of users were taking advantage of this, but the existence of these fake games still confuses our algorithms and users."
From now on, if a game falls under the new constraints, its store page will display a note about it.