Valve has deleted almost 200 games developed by Silicon Echo Studios, including the entire Zonitron and Silicon Echo catalogues.
It’s the latest step in Valve’s quest to improve the quality of titles available on their Steam platform, while cutting down to developers who “flip” assets to profit on cheap, poorly made games.
Along with the Zonitron and Silicon Echo series, Clickey, Grim Banana and SHAPES have been removed without a trace. If you’re unfamiliar with those titles then, well, lucky you.
Each of the 173 purged games by Silicon Echo Studios were made using pre-made Unity assets, allowing the developers to churn the games out quickly and cheaply through the Steam Direct platform. Multiple games were pushed through under one Steam Direct application, allowing the studio to avoid paying the $100 fee other studios pay to submit their games.
Those who bought the titles didn’t do so for the incredible stories or tight gameplay mechanics; the titles were designed to be bought by players who wanted to boost their user level and collect some easy trading cards to resell on the gray market. Players could bulk-sell the trading cards to earn their money back, earning Silicon Echo Studios a cut in the process. There’s a reason Valve consider games like these to be “fake” games.
Valve has removed similar games before, but never on this scale. It’s also interesting to see Valve target one studio in such a fashion. Owners can still access the deleted titles in their personal collections, but will be unable to collect trading cards, going forward — which was the only point in purchasing them in the first place.