A BUG in PC gaming platform Steam caused acclaimed indie game Wandersong and others to be flagged as 'fake' for months.
Since September last year, the game wasn't given the legit seal of approval through Steam's use of automated 'confidence metrics', which limits the visibility of a game until the Steam's algorithms can figure out if the game is real based on user feedback.
Such action tends to take a couple of days but in the case of Wandersong, and according to the game's Twitter account, affected other games as well and the process took months. This meant the games were 'perma-restricted' and essentially stuck in a form of software limbo, neither real or fully fake.
While games in this state aren't yanked from the Steam platform they don't get access to a suite of Steam features, such as being able to offer trading cards to the games' players.
Valve hasn't publicly acknowledged the bug but contacted Wandersong developers to inform them that the mislabelling of the game was a bug and is being fixed by the gaming giant. Valve did then confirm the existence of the bug to Kotaku, highlighting that a fix would be ready in the evening following the company's correspondence.
UPDATE: Valve emailed us directly to say that this was actually a bug, and that us and many other games were perma-restricted by mistake. because we brought attention to it, they're now fixing it! hooray! https://t.co/GWqszcdj4N— WANDERSONG (out now!!!) (@Wandersong_game) 9 January 2019
The effect of this on Wandersong isn't clear, but at least the game has been marked as legit. But others, such as Lucah: Born Of A Dream, flagged by Rock Paper Shotgun, are still in the limbo state of Steam learning more about them.
Naturally, such a situation can be frustrating to small game developers looking to tap into Steam's vast user base.
But it also serves as an example of how automated systems are still far from infallible, despite the bleating of Google, Microsoft and pals, and can still mess up things that a human would easily solve if put to the task. µ
A hard pill to swallow
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