Valve have introduced a new ruleset to Steam to try and combat phishers. You now need to spend $5 for your Steam account to become a fully-functional account, until then it will be a limited account, unable to send friend requests, chat with other players, or even vote in Steam Greenlight and on Steam reviews.
They hope this will drastically reduce the number of spam accounts that are skewing the numbers in the Steam Store and bothering actual users with invites to trade.
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“We’ve chosen to limit access to these features as a means of protecting our customers from those who abuse Steam for purposes such as spamming and phishing,” Valve wrote in a recent post.
“Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do. One of the best pieces of information we can compare between regular users and malicious users are their spending habits as typically the accounts being used have no investment in their longevity. Due to this being a common scenario we have decided to restrict certain community features until an account has met or exceeded $5.00 USD in Steam.”
A new Steam user can fully activate their account by adding $5 to their Steam Wallet, buying a game worth $5 or more, or even by gifting a game worth $5 to another account – though the person receiving the gift will still need to spend $5 themselves.
Until you’ve done that there’s a whole batch of actions your account is locked out form:
▪ Sending friend invites
▪ Opening group chat
▪ Voting on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items
▪ Participating in the Steam Market
▪ Posting frequently in the Steam Discussions
▪ Gaining Steam Profile Levels (Locked to level 0) and Trading Cards
▪ Submitting content on the Steam Workshop
▪ Posting in an item’s Steam Workshop Discussions
▪ Accessing the Steam Web API
▪ Using browser and mobile chat
Those are some significant limitations and ones that point to issues Valve might have discovered spammers have been taking advantage of. I’m particularly intrigued by the Greenlight, Steam Reviews, and Workshop item votes. Have people been organising uproots through Steam Greenlight using an army of spam accounts?
You’ll likely have already spent at least $5 on Steam and so won’t be affected by these changes. What you might notice is far fewer (if any) friend invites by strangers.