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Steam introduces Limited User Accounts to prevent spammers, spend $5 to unlock full features

Steam introduces Limited User Accounts to prevent spammers, spend $5 to unlock full features

by AshwinApril 18, 2015

Online game distribution service, Steam has announced that it is implementing a new feature to restrict spammers from causing trouble at its website and services.


Steam has introduced a new system which divides its users into two groups: Regular Users and Limited User Accounts (LUAs.).

Digital Trends says that Steam, which has millions of users, has recently seen a rise in the number of accounts which are used for spamming and scamming other users. Most of this occurs in the form of friend invites being sent to users from strangers, aka the spammers.

According to Steam, spammers never spend any money on the website. So it is going to use that practice against the scammers. It will be limiting the user accounts in a rather odd way.

This is what a statement from Steam says:

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.

User accounts which do have not made $5 worth of purchases on Steam, are Limited User Accounts. They will have the following limitations:

LUAs cannot send friend invites, open a group chat, vote on Greenlight, Steam Reviews, Workshop. They cannot participate in the Steam market or post often on the support forums. View the full list of limitations on Steam’s support portal.

You can remove these limitations by purchasing games for $5,  this will change the account to a Regular one. You can  also remove the limitations by spending $5 to add the amount to Steam Wallet, or a gift, or adding a Steam Wallet to your account. And it gets worse for non-US accounts. The $5 is not calculated according to the currency you use to purchase content. It will be converted to the currency’s equivalent of the $ USD.

This doesn’t mean users can’t sign up for free on Steam. Anyone can still sign up without spending any money, but your account will be limited until you spend $5 on Steam.

This move is going to affect people who play free-to-play games. There are many gamers who play free games like Path Of Exile, Dota 2. Steam fails to understand that not everyone can afford to spend money on games.

The worst part is that these restrictions cannot be removed by adding CD Keys, retail purchases, and gifts. You will have to spend money on Steam itself.

So if you buy game keys on Humble Bundle, Indie Gala or other such websites, you are definitely not going to like these new restrictions. Such websites sell steam keys for very low prices, and are often involved in donating to Charity too.But most people buy them solely because the games are dirt cheap.

In fact, this gives rise to suspicion, whether Steam is actually trying to boost its own sales with these odd limitations.