New Steam policy limits low-spending accounts to curb spam

Steam logo

Valve has implemented a new policy they hope will cut down on spam and phishing attacks on Steam. Until now, it's been easy enough to set up a new Steam account for the purposes of scammy behaviour, but as of this weekend, current and new users will find their accounts have been heavily restricted—that is unless they've historically spent $5 or more in the store, or have $5 sitting in their Steam wallet.

(If you don't buy things using US dollars on Steam, your purchases will be converted from your local currency, and into $ using daily exchange rates.)

If you're not a big Steam spender, you'll be prevented from doing the folllowing:

  • Sending friend invites
  • Opening group chat
  • Voting on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items
  • Participating in the Steam Market
  • Posting frequently in the Steam Discussions
  • Gaining Steam Profile Levels (Locked to level 0) and Trading Cards
  • Submitting content on the Steam Workshop
  • Posting in an item's Steam Workshop Discussions
  • Accessing the Steam Web API
  • Using browser and mobile chat

Although you can still play games, thankfully.

If, like me, you have some 200 Steam games currently sitting in your game library, then you'll be well safe of these restrictions, but I can imagine this new policy affecting people that only use Steam with disc-based retail games, many of which rather sneakily require players to use Valve's service as a form of DRM. Activating a retail game on Steam won't lift account restrictions, nor will playing demos, trials or free-to-play games, or accepting games as gifts.

Happily, as mentioned above, you won't be limited from playing games.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.