Indie developer and publisher Acram Digital’s board game adaptations have been removed from Steam following an announcement (opens in new tab) from Valve confirming that the company engaged in review manipulation. Acram had two games on Steam: Eight-Minute Empire and Steam: Rails to Riches, both adaptations of well-regarded board games. Frustrated with negative reviews, it appears that a member of Acram’s staff, Grzegorz Kubas, took it upon himself to post multiple positive reviews for their games.
Per Valve’s announcement, existing owners will still have access to the removed games. All of Acram’s titles are still available via other platforms but it’s unlikely that they will see a return to Steam any time soon—Valve’s statement is quite clear on that: “we have removed all games/DLC developed by Acram from our store, and will no longer be doing business with [them].” Acram was due to publish a digital version of popular Rüdiger Dorn economic strategy board game Istanbul (opens in new tab) later this year.
Kubas himself posted a statement (opens in new tab) to several reddit threads acknowledging the event, saying that he was “very sorry” for what he did and asking players to blame himself, not the developers of the games. “It was stupid action, not something planned. This is my individual, bad behavior, not the team, so I would like to blame me, not the devs,” Kubas said. He added that he posted reviews using six fake accounts he registered and paid for himself. He said it was because he was “very frustrated” with a few “bad, unfair reviews” on Steam.
Kubas said Acram has sent Valve an email regarding the incident and is awaiting an answer.