You want friends on Steam? You'll need to spend $5

In an effort to combat spam, Valve has started separating its users into two different tiers and granting different access to features based on how much money the accounts have spent on the platform.

Users who have purchased games and content on Steam won’t even notice the difference but those who have spent less than $5 on the gaming service will suddenly find their accounts to be ‘restricted’.

What does a restricted account entail? Some important loss of functionality, as those who have yet to spend money on Steam will not be able to send friend invites, participate in groups chats, or use the Steam Market. Here’s the full list of restrictions:

  • 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

Interestingly, receiving games as gifts or registering product codes on the platform won’t count toward your $5 total as Valve is adamant that it wants your money directly. If this works at stopping spam and phishing attempts on the platform then that’s great, but many users are viewing this move as a worrying precedent from the company.

Source: Steam

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