Valve has asked developers with games listed on Steam Greenlight to stop trading game keys for votes, saying it puts them "in a really uncomfortable position.
"We do not think these votes accurate reflect customer interest," Valve said in a message sent yesterday, "and it makes our job harder in deciding which games customers would actually buy and play on Steam."
Steam Greenlight is a crowdsourced project whereby the Steam community helps choose new games to be listed in the Steam store. Developers post details about their games, including early builds, to attract interest. Greenlight launched in 2012.
"Additionally, when you give away copies of your game for votes, then every other developer on Greenlight thinks that is now the thing they need to do in order to get noticed," Valve said. "We don't think that is healthy for the system or really what customers want."
Valve warns that if the practice continues, then the process of certifying titles for listing on Steam could take a lot longer "as it is much more work for us to try and understand customer interest in a title that has collected some unknown number of votes in this manner."
Valve noted that some developers may consider giving away copies of their game or running promotional contests are a legitimate form of marketing. Still, for purposes of Steam Greenlight, Valve said doing so for votes doesn't accurately represent real consumer interest.