A problem that happens when people sell products is the fact that anyone can leave a review of it. This may even include employees and friends of the same company that is selling the product. This is against Steam’s policy and Valve is not beating around the bush about it.
As noted by Kotaku, a company by the name of Insel Games developed a little known game called Wild Buster. Well someone on Reddit posted an email where the CEO Patrick Streppel urged his own employees to buy Wild Buster and give positive reviews for it on Steam.
Basically the email said that Wild Buster did not meet sales expectations so the company could be in jeopardy. Before the game only had 6 reviews on Steam. Streppel wanted the game to get more visibility so encouraged employees to make a review.
The email may seems kind of harmless, but it is kind of scary if you were a developer. He said: “Neglecting the importance of reviews will ultimately cost jobs. If WB fails, Insel fails, IME fails and then we all will have no job next year“. Some of them may have had no choice but to comply. He even wanted to talk to every employee privately on the matter to see if they left a review or not.
Obviously, manipulating reviews goes against Valve’s policy on Steam so they removed Insel Games’ entire catalog from the digital store. Valve posted on Steam: “The publisher appears to have used multiple Steam accounts to post positive reviews for their own games. This is a clear violation of our review policy and something we take very seriously”
All Insel Games have been removed from Steam so new buyers are unable to play their games. If you already purchased one of their games on Steam, you can still play them in your library.
Insel Games’ CEO Patrick Streppel reached out to Kotaku and wants to appeal the decision. He feels there was no threat to employees about leaving their own positive reviews. He feels it was misleading wording since according to him, nobody was punished for not giving out reviews on Steam.