A developer who named their company “Very Positive” has been banned from Steam for “review manipulations”.
The game, Emoji Evolution was released to Steam in December, a take on the classic Alchemy game where elements are combined to produce a new one. The developer has changed both fields for Developer and Publisher to “Very Positive”, meaning at a glance these appear to be the aggregate score for the game.
The actual review aggregate remains at “Mostly Positive”, a rating which implies the game has more good than bad reviews, but several of each. The developer spoke to Vice, asking to remain anonymous, and admitted the move was an intentional attempt to use Steam’s UI for their own benefit.
“I knew that reviews have a huge impact on the customer’s decision,” he said. “I noticed that the publisher/developer name is located really close to the reviews and has the same colour, and I decided to use it for my purposes.”
He argued that it was more important to “have a famous brand name like Obsidian there”, and that he didn’t think Valve would mind the trick. He referred to the game as “cheap and attractive”, saying “I don’t think this is a great game.”
I believe Emoji Evolution would have scored 8 out of 10 on PC Gamer https://t.co/rhFM8xcsAo
— Very Positive Developer (@verypositivedev) February 18, 2021
The developer has since taken to Twitter to share memes and jokes about the banning, even promoting other indie games with his new platform. In one Tweet he said, “I’ve made a really bad game – this is the only thing I’m guilty of. If making awful games is not allowed on Steam, why haven’t they already suspended the CDPR account”, referring to Cyberpunk 2077’s troubled launch.
I've made a really bad game – this is the only thing I'm guilty of. If making awful games is not allowed on Steam, why haven't they already suspended the CDPR account?
— Very Positive Developer (@verypositivedev) February 16, 2021
They have also stated they disagree with the ban, and will be in contact with Steam.