You might remember Wandersong, the cute little indie platformer from developer Greg Lobanov, when it came out last year. We did a review on it. It’s neat. Valve is, for some reason, currently investigating whether it is a real game.
When Valve threw the doors open on the Steam store last June, they said they plan to remove games that are “illegal, or straight up trolling.” The latter descriptor is intentionally broad and, in the ensuing six months, has come to include games that may exist simply so Steam cards can be mined and sold from it. When a game like that is being investigated by Valve, a little message appears on their store page saying that certain features, like earning cards or getting achievements, will be limited or turned off. The game will appear in your library, but won’t add to the total number of your games, either.
Basically, if something is weird with your game, Valve’s algorithm wants to know why.
These restrictions have been on Wandersong since the game’s release and still seemingly ongoing, for reasons that haven’t been explained to Lobanov. He tweeted about it being a strange aberration in October, but it still remains an issue today.
“We’re just so statistically anomalously popular with users, Valve’s algorithm thinks we might be a scam game that hacked hundreds of accounts to make it look like we’re this popular,” he told Polygon. “It’s a good-ish problem to have.”
Lobanov says that it’s Steam’s algorithm that decides this and there’s no chance of getting someone to look at it until the algorithm declares it fine. It’s not clear if a person ever looks at each game Steam flags or if some number has to pass a certain threshold to fix it. Until then, Wandersong can still be sold and still remain so popular that Valve’s software can’t really figure out if it’s a bot.