Valve has taken down a game called Emoji Evolution from the Steam store after banning its developer for trying to manipulate reviews. The developer in question had changed their company name to Very Positive in an attempt to try and trick consumers into buying the game.

Courtesy of GameDiscoverCo

The issue was first discovered by GameDiscoverCo and made public via a newsletter by the same, later picked up by Euro Gamer.

For the uninitiated, every game on Steam has an info panel which displays user ratings in two categories: all reviews and recent reviews. The overall rating score is sometimes marked as ‘Very Positive’, in blue letters, for games that are really good or popular with people. The info panel also contains information about when the game was released, its developer and publisher. The feature could be abused to deceive carefree customers if a publisher or a developer suddenly changes their name to that of the rating score.

Steam info panel of a different game used as an example

Talking to Vice via email, Mike, who happens to be the developer of the game stated: “I knew that reviews have a huge impact on the customer’s decision. I noticed that the publisher/developer name is located really close to the reviews and has the same color, and I decided to use it for my purposes.”

“I don’t think this will be an issue with Steam. Valve fully understands how minor this trick is. It’s more important to have a famous brand name like Obsidian there,” he continued, somewhat admitting that he knew what he was stepping into.

GameDiscoverCo has also flagged their concerns around the game receiving Very Positive reviews on Steam. According to a discussion thread, shared by the same, people have accused the developer for using bots to give the game a positive score.

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