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.
I will contact the support to clarify Steam position on Very Positive Developer. Will keep you posted!February 13, 2021
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.