It’s a sad, albeit understandable, decision.
Valve has decided to institute a change to how it deals with requests from developers for generating Steam keys, confirming that developers who seem to abuse the functionality and request more Steam keys than seems to be appropriate for their level of Steam sales may not have their requests honored automatically.
The reason for this change is that Valve does not take a cut from any Steam keys generated to sell a game via other means, such as in Humble Bundle, or on a developer’s own website. This means that while Valve is still incurring server and upkeep costs, they are not getting anything for those sales- an issue for developers who just use Steam to get on the storefront and have keys generated, but then proceed to sell games elsewhere to keep a bigger cut.
The change itself came to light on the Steam forums, highlighted by popular Steam sales tracker SteamSpy on Twitter (you can check out the tweet, which also includes the original forum post outlining the change, for yourself below). Valve’s reasoning confirms that they are trying to combat developers trying to leverage Steam’s infrastructure, while bypassing costs.
While this is undoubtedly a loss for several smaller games, who now have to vie for the spotlight on an increasingly crowded Steam storefront- in the end, Valve can’t be blamed for essentially trying to protect their interests against what can charitably be termed only as freeloaders.
Valve will no longer automatically fullfill key requests from the developers to combat game sales outside of Steam. pic.twitter.com/Gp1TyivEeO
— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) August 17, 2017