Developer booted off Steam for putting its name as 'Very Positive'

(Image credit: Valve)

When you open a game's Steam page, do you find yourself instinctively glancing at its review ratings? If so, you're just the kind of person one developer tried to fool by naming their studio 'Very Positive,' an impressively brazen ploy that's since seen them booted off the platform.

The deception was first spotted by the GameDiscoverCo newsletter. Banking on the fact that both the reviews summary and developer/publisher fields use the same blue font, the creator of Emoji Evolution came up with a shameless plan to trick prospective buyers into thinking they'd stumbled across a popular hit.

The anonymous creator emailed Vice reporter Patrick Klepek to explain: "I knew that reviews have a huge impact on the customer's decision. I noticed that the publisher/developer name is located really close to the reviews and has the same colour, and I decided to use it for my purposes."

As the ruse spread, the developer rather boldly declared they didn't think there'd be much of an issue with Steam. No prizes for guessing what happened next.

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In a follow-up to the ban, the dev tweeted that they were only guilty of releasing "a really bad game", lightly jabbing at CD Projekt Red for committing the same crime.

Before being binned Emoji Evolution had a "Mostly Positive" rating—though GameDiscoverCo reckons there may have been some manipulation happening with the game's actual reviews. The game came to the newsletter's attention after gaining 7,900 Steam followers in December, suggesting the ploy worked: to a point.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.