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The Hilarious Reason Behind This Studio's Steam Ban

Recently, a developer tried to pull one over on Steam users and ultimately ended up banned from the platform entirely. Very Positive, the developer responsible for a game called Emoji Evolution, tweeted on Feb. 13 that its Steam account had been banned due to "review manipulations," and that the developer "absolutely disagree[s] with this accusation." The hilarious part of this story lies in the way Very Positive manipulated reviews: with its very name.


On Steam, reviews play a huge part in deciding what gamers will ultimately purchase. Good reviews can swing opinions, and "very positive" reviews are the highest mark of an excellent game. Very Positive's unnamed mastermind noticed that the box for overall review scores and developer information sit very close to each other on a game's Steam page, leaving an opportunity for the developer take the name of, say, a term one might use to refer to reviews. And so, the name of the developer behind Emoji Evolution became Very Positive Games.

The anonymous head of Very Positive tweeted that the company's name was "the best thing in the whole Emoji Evolution project," hinting that the game itself isn't anything to write home about. Very Positive also attempted to draw attention to another developer to experience recent failures: CD Projekt Red, whose Cyberpunk 2077 made gaming headlines for weeks after its botched release. Very Positive asked the Twittersphere, "I've made a really bad game – this is the only thing I'm guilty of. If making awful games is not allowed on Steam, why haven't they already suspended the CDPR account?" One gamer responded with, "This is a ridiculous take."


Vice's Patrick Klepek wrote about Very Positive and even managed to interview the secretive developer behind the trick. Very Positive's one-man team, who went by Mike in the interview, openly admitted to his plan, saying, "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." Very Positive also stated, ""I don't think this will be an issue with Steam. Valve fully understands how minor this trick is." Klepek, like much of the gaming community, greeted that statement with a healthy dose of skepticism. 

It's unclear when, or if, Steam will unban Very Positive's account. There's no way to know if Emoji Evolution will go down as one of the worst Steam games ever, but Very Positive has definitely caused a stir.