Steam: Friday Night’s Shovelware Massacre

Over 100 games “retired” from Steam.

Valve cleaned up Steam Friday night, and I say Valve because I don’t believe that 130 games were all pulled by separate publishers who all appear to be out of business during the same two hour time span on the same day at the end of the same month. Specifically these games were retired, not banned. And as I went down the list of games I noticed something very familiar about virtually every one of them; the overwhelming majority released in 2018/2019, almost none of them had received content update news posts, and almost all of their news posts consist of 2019 and 2020 summer game sale notices.

In short, these are all shovelware garbage titles by companies I’m pretty sure are fake, and I never feel bad seeing fake shovelware companies go bankrupt. I did a trek to all of the websites of the major developer/publishers listed and they are all defunct. Almost every single one throws back a DNS error except for one, which is just a blank landing page. The kind you use when your company is fake and releasing nothing but garbage asset flips. I also have a heavy hunch that these games are all made by the same network of shovelware devs, because their operations are very similar down to the habit of only posting news pieces announcing Steam sales.

We’ve seen Valve seemingly swoop in before and forcibly retire games by bankrupt and thus inactive developers, like with Population Zero. Now I have no information, but my Game Theoryâ„¢ is that the same thing happened here. In a perfect world, Valve would have used the Steam Deck as a way to ping developers who haven’t been active in a while and start taking down games from companies no longer in business. Because holy damn there’s a lot of those on Steam.

Not a single developer apart from Kritika: Reboot even had the decency to post an announcement, if we’re going off the theory that they were removed at the same time due to coincidence. The average review score for the whole list was 32%, so don’t feel like you’re missing a hidden gem or something.

Some stats:

  • Action Portal:
    • 5 titles
    • Avg Score: 16%
  • Art of Adventures:
    • 16 titles
    • Avg Score: 32%
  • Gamenesis:
    • 23 titles
    • Avg Score: 30%
  • Music Breath:
    • 14 titles
    • Avg Score: 44%
  • Music Paradise:
    • 5 titles
    • Avg Score: 48%
  • One Tap Games:
    • 11 titles
    • Avg Score: 19%
  • Real Fighting:
    • 9 titles
    • Avg Score: 27%
  • Simulators Live:
    • 6 titles
    • Avg Score: 28%
  • Tap by Tap:
    • 13 titles
    • Avg Score: 31%
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