[NM] Valve Cuts Off Another Shady Developer Over Fake Reviews

In a world where curation on Steam Greenlight is virtually nonexistent, shady developers seem to be getting more and more prevalent. Introduce Matan Cohen’s Studio, an indie developer consisting of two people (one of whom is probably named Matan Cohen) who released the game Art of Stealth. It wasn’t well received by a lot of people, with the only positive reviews suspiciously coming from accounts that are private and only seem to own one game (Art of Stealth). Before long, accusations of the developer deleting posts, flagging negative Youtube reviews, and flagging negative Steam reviews as “abusive” naturally came to light.

So what is wrong with Art of Stealth? It may be in the reviews of players claiming that there aren’t any actual stealth elements present within the gameplay, or the off-the-shelf Unity store graphics, the developer’s fragile ego, or the suspicious looking positive reviews. It didn’t take long for Valve to step in and swiftly remove the game from Steam outright, posting this announcement via a certified Valve Employee account:

We (Valve) have identified unacceptable behavior involving multiple Steam accounts controlled by the developer of this game, Matan Cohen. The developer appears to have created multiple Steam accounts to post a positive review for their own game. 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 Matan Cohen and removing this game from sale. If you have previously purchased this game, it will remain accessible in your Steam library.

Luckily Valve’s forensics team didn’t need to do much work, the developer admitted the reviews were posted by friends.

A few friends of mine who study computer science with me in the university have decided to join Steam in order to support this game by posting positive reviews. My friends love Art of Stealth and they told me that some members from this forum post annoying comments on their reviews, only because they are positive.

The rise of shovelware games on Steam coupled with the lack of curation by Valve has only spurred the growth in watchdog groups constantly searching the shadows for games like the Art of Stealth trying to sneak in unnoticed among the virtual waterfall of games entering the marketplace on a daily basis. If anything, placing bad games on Steam has only become more dangerous as unscrupulous behavior is now more likely to be widely reported and ultimately do more long lasting damage to said developer’s reputation.

(Source: Steam)

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