Valve Officially Condemns Steam Item Gambling

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Valve Officially Condemns Steam Item Gambling

Steam trading cards

Valve has distanced itself and condemned the rising trend of Steam item gambling.

Gambling with Steam items has become a big trend in competitive titles such as DoTA 2 and CS:GO. It essentially works by having players watching a competitive match "bet" items from their Steam inventory to a third party website. Betting and gambling on sports has been something that's been around as long as we have had sports and money, but today Valve has made it clear that gambling using its Steam item trading system is not OK.

"In 2011, we added a feature to Steam that enabled users to trade in-game items as a way to make it easier for people to get the items they wanted in games featuring in-game economies," stated Valve in a blog post. "Since then a number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there's been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. We'd like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites."

It continued to condemn the whole practice, stating that "[Gambling] is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements. We are going to start sending notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through Steam, and further pursue the matter as necessary. Users should probably consider this information as they manage their in-game item inventory and trade activity."

This is a fairly big move from Valve. It could have simply blocked API access from these websites but with this public statement it makes it clear that this kind of activity will no longer be tolerated. I expect most of the major gambling sites to fall apart within the next few weeks.

Source: Valve

Permalink

Ah that sucks. I enjoyed doing big bets on The International Dota games.

Though, I imagjne this statement was probably caused by the issue sith the Counter Strike players.

This is what they say. What they are thinking is:

"Well, since this whole thing blew up so big we're doing something about this. We really wish we didn't have to - anyone who's not completely stupid is aware we knew about gambling websites the entire time and let them do their shit because it was making us money (we even got sued but lmao who cares, loopholes in gambling laws are sweet), but now that a popular youtuber and reddit are on the case we don't have much of a choice. Remember when Gabe was enough to guarantee good publicity for the entire studio no matter what we did? Sigh, good old days. Anyway, because we're completely ham fisted when it comes to interacting with anything our community wants or does, we're going to drop our entire nuclear arsenal on this issue to make sure every single party involved - except us, of course - gets fucked in the ass. We've already got our two biggest dildos out of the drawer - one for the people who built up and invested in gambling websites with our go ahead, one for the people who used said gambling sites and now have to watch those sites run away with their deposits, some of which are worth several thousand dollars - so we really hope you enjoy getting fucked in the ass. Fuck you.

Oh, just a reminder: obviously we had absolutely NOTHING to do with ANY OF THIS. Just because we own, develop and oversee a game and massive service doesn't mean we have any responsibility for those two. We'd like to clarify the revenue received from people who use gambling websites to earn REEL MONEY while using our services - something we could have stopped at any time - through publicity and millions of people opening cases do not profit us in any way. None. No business relations and all that. What are you gonna do, sue us?

Your favourite ass fucking service,

Valve.

PS: Sorry for taking like a full week to respond to all the allegations, our entire team was busy working on something which is not Half Life."

Ahh public condemnation statements. The equivalent of frowning disapprovingly while saying "naughty naughty, that is not good etiquette now, is it?" Then looking around to see if anybody else is doing anything about it, before finally tutting in disappointment and returning back to reading the newspaper.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
This is what they say. What they are thinking is:

"Well, since this whole thing blew up so big we're doing something about this. We really wish we didn't have to - anyone who's not completely stupid is aware we knew about gambling websites the entire time and let them do their shit because it was making us money (we even got sued but lmao who cares, loopholes in gambling laws are sweet), but now that a popular youtuber and reddit are on the case we don't have much of a choice. Remember when Gabe was enough to guarantee good publicity for the entire studio no matter what we did? Sigh, good old days. Anyway, because we're completely ham fisted when it comes to interacting with anything our community wants or does, we're going to drop our entire nuclear arsenal on this issue to make sure every single party involved - except us, of course - gets fucked in the ass. We've already got our two biggest dildos out of the drawer - one for the people who built up and invested in gambling websites with our go ahead, one for the people who used said gambling sites and now have to watch those sites run away with their deposits, some of which are worth several thousand dollars - so we really hope you enjoy getting fucked in the ass. Fuck you.

Oh, just a reminder: obviously we had absolutely NOTHING to do with ANY OF THIS. Just because we own, develop and oversee a game and massive service doesn't mean we have any responsibility for those two. We'd like to clarify the revenue received from people who use gambling websites to earn REEL MONEY while using our services - something we could have stopped at any time - through publicity and millions of people opening cases do not profit us in any way. None. No business relations and all that. What are you gonna do, sue us?

Your favourite ass fucking service,

Valve.

PS: Sorry for taking like a full week to respond to all the allegations, our entire team was busy working on something which is not Half Life."

Holy crap. And to think I thought I was filled with piss and vinegar. I tip my hat to you for that post, because it was a beautiful thing to read and the perfect summation of the entire debacle. Gamers are often a considered a group of people who dislike big business and faceless asshole corporations, but Valve have been bastards for a long time and everyone always gave them a pass. Even if this doesn't sink Valve (and honestly I don't think anything really could), it will at least deal them a big enough blow to wake some people up to their unrepentant douchebaggery.

Translation

"Quick! Gabe! Make hide the key money!"

Honestly how Valve's rep has SLIPPED HARD in recent years.

Now if only they would do away with the whole heres a crate, buy a key BS. I'd love to open all mine, but I refuse to pay for what should be free things.

If Valve was truly against gambling, then opening crates in TF2 or CS:GO wouldn't give you a random item with the small chance of getting a super valuable item. Because opening those crates is all a gamble.

OT: I don't actually understand why Valve is condemning Gambling, or why it's demanding Steam Gambling sites to de-link from Steam. Unless Professional Players were starting to rig the system in tandem with these Gambling Sites (Which, in all honesty, isn't impossible), Valve seems to simply be acting prudish, and considering certain games that Valve has allowed on Steam, they shouldn't be acting like prudes when it comes to Gambling.

I'm still gambling with my friend mano a mano over show outcomes. And by gamble I mean lose terribly to.

Fite me Valve.

I don't care about Valve's involvement, to them it was likely just an experiment. Whatever revenue that Valve saw from that 2-3 billion business was probably chump change compared to other things they have going on.

Anyway, I don't care because you need to be 18 to own CS:GO. Whether that extends to the boxes you can get outside the game, I don't know, but they've already established an age rating and covered their ass in that department. And yeah, while I don't take age ratings seriously, there's nothing else any developer can do to limit access.
In general though, I hate loot boxes. Cheap ass way to mess with players.

Congratulations Valve, you literally did the least you could do.

meirol:
Congratulations Valve, you literally did the least you could do.

That's the Valve way of business practices. They'll do what needs to be done, but not a single thing more.

Yeah! I mean before they were driving tons and tons of money for us BUT NOW THAT SOMEONE GOT CAUGHT? "Oh its so horrible!"

meirol:
Congratulations Valve, you literally did the least you could do.

And even then it only took a lawsuit for them to pull their fingers from their asses. Typical Valve.

thewatergamer:
Yeah! I mean before they were driving tons and tons of money for us BUT NOW THAT SOMEONE GOT CAUGHT? "Oh its so horrible!"

Smilomaniac:
I don't care about Valve's involvement, to them it was likely just an experiment. Whatever revenue that Valve saw from that 2-3 billion business was probably chump change compared to other things they have going on.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Snip

The statement given by Valve states that they received no money from such sites, which I'm sure in the literal "handing over wads of cash" sense is true.

I guess you could argue that such sites encouraged users to buy stuff to gamble, but even then the influence is hardly something that could be measured. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they benefited from such sites, but as has been said it was probably chump change, and probably not something a court could hold them accountable for.

(Probably. I ain't really a lawyer)

Infernal Lawyer:

meirol:
Congratulations Valve, you literally did the least you could do.

And even then it only took a lawsuit for them to pull their fingers from their asses. Typical Valve.

thewatergamer:
Yeah! I mean before they were driving tons and tons of money for us BUT NOW THAT SOMEONE GOT CAUGHT? "Oh its so horrible!"

Smilomaniac:
I don't care about Valve's involvement, to them it was likely just an experiment. Whatever revenue that Valve saw from that 2-3 billion business was probably chump change compared to other things they have going on.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Snip

The statement given by Valve states that they received no money from such sites, which I'm sure in the literal "handing over wads of cash" sense is true.

I guess you could argue that such sites encouraged users to buy stuff to gamble, but even then the influence is hardly something that could be measured. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they benefited from such sites, but as has been said it was probably chump change, and probably not something a court could hold them accountable for.

(Probably. I ain't really a lawyer)

See, what baffles me about the whole 'Well, they got money indirectly!' thing, is by that logic, anything that could ostensibly be tied to a crime shouldn't be sold, because criminals buy them too to do illegal stuff.

Can't sell guns, because criminals may use them to hold up people or banks, so the gun company indirectly earned money from crime.
Can't sell cars, because criminals may use them to escape the scene of a crime, do a hit and run, etc, so the car company indirectly earned money from the crime.

The entire point of legal culpability is proving they directly had a hand in the illegal activities. Merely providing a product to anyone, and some people use to do questionable/illegal activity isn't in and of itself enough.

That, and if loot crates are gambling, then card game packs are gambling too. And I don't see any calls to throw Magic the Gathering, Yu Gi Oh, etc into the fire for 'encouraging children to gamble'.

Mind, I think loot crates are stupid, but calling them gambling feels like a bit of a reach.

Xsjadoblayde:
Ahh public condemnation statements. The equivalent of frowning disapprovingly while saying "naughty naughty, that is not good etiquette now, is it?" Then looking around to see if anybody else is doing anything about it, before finally tutting in disappointment and returning back to reading the newspaper.

But Valve's hands-off nature is a feature, not a bug!

Areloch:

See, what baffles me about the whole 'Well, they got money indirectly!' thing, is by that logic, anything that could ostensibly be tied to a crime shouldn't be sold, because criminals buy them too to do illegal stuff.

Can't sell guns, because criminals may use them to hold up people or banks, so the gun company indirectly earned money from crime.
Can't sell cars, because criminals may use them to escape the scene of a crime, do a hit and run, etc, so the car company indirectly earned money from the crime.

The entire point of legal culpability is proving they directly had a hand in the illegal activities. Merely providing a product to anyone, and some people use to do questionable/illegal activity isn't in and of itself enough.

I do think there's a point to be made that if you know your goods are being used for illegitimate means you should do something about it... but like you said it's probably not something you can be held legally liable for.

That, and if loot crates are gambling, then card game packs are gambling too. And I don't see any calls to throw Magic the Gathering, Yu Gi Oh, etc into the fire for 'encouraging children to gamble'.

Mind, I think loot crates are stupid, but calling them gambling feels like a bit of a reach.

From my understanding, the loophole is that as long as you're not putting money on the table, it's not strictly gambling (Hmm... correct me if I'm wrong guys). That and Trading cards, digital crates and whatnot DO give you something, even if it's a roll of the dice. I do still think it's borderline gambling, though it's far less insidious and the company can always say "Hey, you got what you paid for".

I was gonna post something, but between WhiteWolf's tirade and several other people pointing out the hypocrisy of Valve, the company that basically pioneered the "Pay for a (key to a) Lootbox with random contents!" system condemning gambling any comment I could make has already been made.

Infernal Lawyer:

Areloch:

See, what baffles me about the whole 'Well, they got money indirectly!' thing, is by that logic, anything that could ostensibly be tied to a crime shouldn't be sold, because criminals buy them too to do illegal stuff.

Can't sell guns, because criminals may use them to hold up people or banks, so the gun company indirectly earned money from crime.
Can't sell cars, because criminals may use them to escape the scene of a crime, do a hit and run, etc, so the car company indirectly earned money from the crime.

The entire point of legal culpability is proving they directly had a hand in the illegal activities. Merely providing a product to anyone, and some people use to do questionable/illegal activity isn't in and of itself enough.

I do think there's a point to be made that if you know your goods are being used for illegitimate means you should do something about it... but like you said it's probably not something you can be held legally liable for.

I'm not expressly versed in how the third party skins market works, admittedly, so I'm not exactly sure what steps they can take to do something about it. But you're right, if there is some feasible remedy, then they really probably should do it.

That, and if loot crates are gambling, then card game packs are gambling too. And I don't see any calls to throw Magic the Gathering, Yu Gi Oh, etc into the fire for 'encouraging children to gamble'.

Mind, I think loot crates are stupid, but calling them gambling feels like a bit of a reach.

From my understanding, the loophole is that as long as you're not putting money on the table, it's not strictly gambling (Hmm... correct me if I'm wrong guys). That and Trading cards, digital crates and whatnot DO give you something, even if it's a roll of the dice. I do still think it's borderline gambling, though it's far less insidious and the company can always say "Hey, you got what you paid for".

Yeah, I mean, you could definitely say that card packs are a form of gambling, and probably wouldn't really be wrong. It just strikes me as bizarre that there's a double standard. Digital loot crates are a form of gambling and we right now have a ton of people flipping out about it and basically have been since it was thrown in TF2, but I don't think I've ever seen a peep about how terrible the exact same system is in action for CCGs.

So this means Valve will abandon their skeevy crate system, right? Right???
image

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
snip

Here, you earned this:

LysanderNemoinis:
Gamers are often a considered a group of people who dislike big business and faceless asshole corporations, but Valve have been bastards for a long time and everyone always gave them a pass. Even if this doesn't sink Valve (and honestly I don't think anything really could), it will at least deal them a big enough blow to wake some people up to their unrepentant douchebaggery.

I'd like to think I saw this coming long ago. As an avid TF2 player, I've had a front row seat as Valve unabashedly turned the game into a twisted test subject for their shadier practices.[1] It's like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, complete with actual canary:
image

Needless to say, I haven't thought very highly of the "praise Gaben" brigade for quite some time.

[1] I can hear the groans of "Neverhoodians' bitching about TF2 again."

My first thought when reading this was more or less:

meirol:
Congratulations Valve, you literally did the least you could do.

However, I am a firm believer in clumsiness over malice, so I wonder. Could it be that valve is just rather understaffed and doesn't really have the manpower to pay attention to these sort of things. That would explain a lot of things. It would have been far easier to stop this early before it became a scandal and before lawsuits got involved. Maybe they thought this would make them money and that they could get away with it. (how exactly they make money of this is not entirely clear to me, though)

Maybe the reason that they won't develop half-life 3, won't curate their storefront, won't pay attention to shit like this, etc is because they don't want to hire more people, even though they could and probably should. I know that this is all entirely speculative. I haven't the foggiest what goes on at valve but I expect that their general hands off, slow approach to things is not entirely calculated cynicism and also just plain incompetence of some variety.

Pseudonym:
My first thought when reading this was more or less:

meirol:
Congratulations Valve, you literally did the least you could do.

However, I am a firm believer in clumsiness over malice, so I wonder. Could it be that valve is just rather understaffed and doesn't really have the manpower to pay attention to these sort of things. That would explain a lot of things. It would have been far easier to stop this early before it became a scandal and before lawsuits got involved. Maybe they thought this would make them money and that they could get away with it. (how exactly they make money of this is not entirely clear to me, though)

Maybe the reason that they won't develop half-life 3, won't curate their storefront, won't pay attention to shit like this, etc is because they don't want to hire more people, even though they could and probably should. I know that this is all entirely speculative. I haven't the foggiest what goes on at valve but I expect that their general hands off, slow approach to things is not entirely calculated cynicism and also just plain incompetence of some variety.

It would certainly explain things if Valve were understaffed, yes.

It would also, however, beg the question "Why is one of the biggest, most profitable and most far-reaching game companies in the world being run by a skeleton crew?"

The answer is simple: "we're making a shit-ton of money and people will forgive us for anything, so why the hell not". It's not clumsiness so much as deliberate negligence.

Mr.Mattress:
If Valve was truly against gambling, then opening crates in TF2 or CS:GO wouldn't give you a random item with the small chance of getting a super valuable item. Because opening those crates is all a gamble.

OT: I don't actually understand why Valve is condemning Gambling, or why it's demanding Steam Gambling sites to de-link from Steam. Unless Professional Players were starting to rig the system in tandem with these Gambling Sites (Which, in all honesty, isn't impossible), Valve seems to simply be acting prudish, and considering certain games that Valve has allowed on Steam, they shouldn't be acting like prudes when it comes to Gambling.

They were. There have been numerous cases in the pro gaming scene where teams have deliberately altered the results to rig the gambling. It's impossible to notice if you're at all tied into the scene, just a couple of months ago a massive verdict was delivered to a team who'd done exactly that. Thousands have changed hands.

I don't agree with the crate drop method, it's just another form of gambling. However, it is very different from what's happening. It's about $2.50 to open a crate, and that's a ripoff and an awful microtransaction system that overwhelmingly hurts young gamers getting into it. But that then ties onto the gambling outside the game, because the skins aren't necessarily worth $2.50, they can be worth a lot more. And that raises the stakes dramatically, while simulatneously distracting people from the money they're betting. And again, there have been many cases where underage people have gotten into it. In a lot of places, CS:GO, among some of the other titles with a gambling scene, aren't age restricted to adults, and there have been numerous issues of young people wasting their savings, or worse, using their parents credit card.

This isn't a bad move. This is just the first step they need to take to clean up. Getting rid of the shady gambling sites using their storefront and item system is only the first step. They need to sort out the literal slot machines they've installed in their store. They already have a market for trading the items which is far better. Instead, it's just a system of microtransactions and slot machines which exploit the user. It's very unlikely to happen though. People have already invested in these systems, and it'd be hard to do without ripping them off, and they have no incentive to do so. And worse, they've already messed up their own games doing it, as was already pointed out, TF2.

Let's go through the checklist:

A Bogos-written news article on the Escapist? Check.
Article involves a topic related to Valve? Check.
Article makes a vague statement about the topic but leaves out MANY critical details? Check.

Oooh, boy. We've hit all three. We're primed for a lot of hyperbolic yelling and gnashing of teeth. Will that pan out?

Yep! It certainly did.

Never change, Escapist.

Granted, I could attempt to explain to everyone how this public statement likely involves the recent CS:GO:LOTTO fiasco. I could also explain how Valve's been actively pursuing these issues for some time now, and only made this public statement recently because of recent dissemination of misinformation. I could even explain how this move is beneficial for Valve and the community. But, I'm not sure anything I say would be heard over the din, so I'll just say that I'm glad Valve is finally stepping up and taking action, and then I'll take my leave of this thread.

LegendaryGamer0:
I'm still gambling with my friend mano a mano over show outcomes. And by gamble I mean lose terribly to.

Fite me Valve.

They might've, but if you lose that frequently it's probably punishment enough.

So why is it that Valve is allowed to push crates and keys which is LITERALLY gambling, but other people aren't allowed to have websites that let you gamble your items away?

I ask because this is starting to stink of Valve trying to stamp out the gambling competition rather than actually do something ethical. If they want to win REALLY major points with their customers, Valve will drop the cancer that is crates and keys.

Fucking hypocrites. Can never get away from them no matter where you go.

Cid Silverwing:
So why is it that Valve is allowed to push crates and keys which is LITERALLY gambling, but other people aren't allowed to have websites that let you gamble your items away?

I agree. Why is valves slot machine gambling OK while the other sites e-sports betting not? Any reason that the key/crate slot machine would be legal/illegal is equally valid for gambling on match outcomes.

Vigormortis:

They might've, but if you lose that frequently it's probably punishment enough.

I'll let myself be the one who determines if I've been punished enough by my own stupidity, thank you very much!

Vigormortis:
[double post]

Don't think I'm not onto you and your attempts to impersonate said friend in order to beat me and get free things!

It's a conspiracy!

Took them this long to condemn it, huh?

thethain:

Cid Silverwing:
So why is it that Valve is allowed to push crates and keys which is LITERALLY gambling, but other people aren't allowed to have websites that let you gamble your items away?

I agree. Why is valves slot machine gambling OK while the other sites e-sports betting not? Any reason that the key/crate slot machine would be legal/illegal is equally valid for gambling on match outcomes.

Actually, no. Crates have something that gambling doesn't: Guaranteed payout. You spend that $2.50 for a key and you're guaranteed -something-, wheras if you bet your skins on these gambling sites you've got good odds you're going to lose them and see nothing in return. When there's a 100% chance of a payout, however minor it may be, it's not gambling anymore, hence why you've got stuff like Pachinko machines in Japan (where gambling is illegal).

Cid Silverwing:
So why is it that Valve is allowed to push crates and keys which is LITERALLY gambling, but other people aren't allowed to have websites that let you gamble your items away?

Because their chests aren't really gambling.

You pay ?1.50 for ?1.50 worth of items, with RNG that is pretty controlled.

You are always guaranteed to receive ?1.50 of items. Any of the rare items you get are a bonus.

The gambling sites have you put in rare items, and you have a **chance** to get more items back. But it's extremely easy to scam players using the said gambling sites. As was shown in a recent case.

Those shitting on Valve for only just stepping up are just looking for someone to complain about, in my opinion. The only reason they're only now condemning it is because it's only just now showing how harmful it is to the players.

Xorph:

thethain:

Cid Silverwing:
So why is it that Valve is allowed to push crates and keys which is LITERALLY gambling, but other people aren't allowed to have websites that let you gamble your items away?

I agree. Why is valves slot machine gambling OK while the other sites e-sports betting not? Any reason that the key/crate slot machine would be legal/illegal is equally valid for gambling on match outcomes.

Actually, no. Crates have something that gambling doesn't: Guaranteed payout. You spend that $2.50 for a key and you're guaranteed -something-

I'm sorry, that's not true. As someone who's played TF2 a lot, most of the time you open crates, you get simple weapons you can get for free, can't trade for anything worthwhile, and can't sell via the Steam Market. Other crates, especially holiday themed crates, can give you items that are either less then the value of the Key itself, or cannot be traded or sold at all. You're guaranteed nothing by opening crates, which is why I usually avoid opening crates.

Kibeth41:
Because their chests aren't really gambling.

Yes, they are, especially when they look like this.

Mr.Mattress:

Yes, they are, especially when they look like this.

Refer to my previous comment.

But I should correct myself. Crates are ?1.50 for ?1.50 worth of items (plus possible bonus) which are available on the marketplace for cheap since they've been devalued by whales buying absolute hoards of the boxes in search of the rare drops.

Kibeth41:

Mr.Mattress:

Yes, they are, especially when they look like this.

Refer to my previous comment.

But I should correct myself. Crates are ?1.50 for ?1.50 worth of items (plus possible bonus) which are available on the marketplace for cheap since they've been devalued by whales buying absolute hoards of the boxes in search of the rare drops.

I'm not too sure about CS:GO's crate system, but on TF2, Crates are free, while the Keys costs $2.99. For $3, the fact that most of the time you'll end up getting something that's either <$3, or worth $0, with only the slight chance of getting something worth over $3, does indeed make crates a gamble; a small gamble, sure, but a gamble none the less. I'm certain that Crates in CS:GO are cheap, but how much are CS:GO's keys worth? What are the chances of getting an item that is worth more then $1.50+The Keys cost?

Sure, they aren't as big a gamble as actual Steam Gambling sites, but regardless of whether the gamble is worth $3 or $200, it's all still gambling!

Kibeth41 point is you get *something* basically that you can put up a slot machine if it is guaranteed to at least hand out cracker jack prizes every time. (even if the only reason anyone is actually playing is the 1/100000 chance of getting a big pile of money) As long as you can look the other way and say "Oh yeah, they are paying a dollar for some stickers, 87 times in a row" you are in the clear.

It's worth remembering that Valve has about 330 employees. Compare that with EA (8,500) or Activision (9,000) or even Blizzard alone (4,700). It's easy to forget that, given Valve/Steam's enormous influence within the industry.

But consider the ridiculous level of difficulty those other companies have had on occasion with networking issues of a single game like Diablo III or SimCity.

I think there's an argument to be made that most of Valve's recent problems can be related to a "hands off" approach not merely chosen but necessitated by its relatively small size. Whereas a larger company could throw a dozen moderators at a social problem or form a significant sub-committee to brainstorm ideas on how to resolve it, Valve can't just throw manpower at an issue at will. Not without a significant change of corporate culture.

Now, all of this said, I don't mean to let Valve off the hook. They've made some bad decisions- some obvious, some less so. It's taken a while to truly comprehend just how badly some groups are willing to jimmy the system, whether it's items with real-world values or "astroturf-roots" groups tilting what are supposed to be "popular vote" mechanisms.

I'm just not sure, aside from tearing out all the offending systems by the roots (and weathering an enormous wave of anger and undoubtedly more than a few lawsuits as "real money" assets abruptly vanish) what Valve could do about some of these problems. Perhaps, in hindsight, they shouldn't have been in place in the first place, yes... Though in many cases there wasn't an outcry among the throng until the rot became widely apparent. But what should they do, now, aside from statements of condemnation with dubious value?

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