A clear message to all game developers out there: Do not review your own game in Steam. Valve has recently cut ties with a Malta-based developer Insel Games due to the CEO asking their staffs to review the company’s latest game.
On February 15, 2018, a post on Reddit by nuttinbutruth showed a leaked email from Insel Games CEO, Patrick Streppel, to its staffs. The email encouraged them to buy reimbursed copies in order to submit positive reviews of their newest game, Wild Buster.
What’s more shocking is that Streppel threatens his employees of their jobs saying:
Neglecting the importance of reviews will ultimately cost jobs. If WB fails, Insel fails, IME fails and then we all will have no job next year.
Insel Games is a minor game developer based in Malta also known for its previous game, Guardians of Ember. Wild Buster itself is not a huge market game and the reason for that is because of the minimum reviews submitted.
But it’s never a good idea to self-review the game if you work for the company. Valve has noticed this and took action. In its official Steam Community Forum, they announced that they are ending business relations with Insel Games due to this matter.
It has been recently reported on Reddit that the publisher for this game, Insel Games Ltd., have been attempting to manipulate the user review score for their titles on Steam. We have investigated these claims, and have identified unacceptable behavior involving multiple Steam accounts controlled by the publisher of this game. The publisher appears to have used multiple Steam accounts to post positive reviews for their own games. This is a clear violation of our review policy and something we take very seriously.
For these reasons, we are ending our business relationship with Insel Games Ltd. and removing their games from our store. If you have previously purchased this game, it will remain accessible in your Steam library.
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Although many developers and publishers should have known, this is a serious issue and can’t be tolerated by Valve. If you ever have a game that is in jeopardy, please do not ever use this kind of method. There are other methods you can use such as promoting to your friends and families, creating a press release, etc.
Source: Kotaku. Edited by Devi