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Unless you’ve spent $5 on Steam, you’ll now find your social options limited.

Valve has introduced a $5 spending target on its Steam digital gaming platform that unlocks certain features previously available to all. If you haven’t spent $5 on Steam, you can no longer send friend invites, start group chats, or buy and sell items in the community market. Valve says the move is intended to curb malicious accounts that people use for spamming or phishing activity.

Steam is the world’s largest digital game distribution platform, and it’s seen numerous reports of phishing bot accounts that target Steam users in an attempt to access to their digital goods — including digital wallets with funds in them. Valve’s response is intended to reduce the problems its users experience by neutering potentially fake accounts.

Unfortunately, it also means that Steam users who’ve been gifted games or bought them at retail can’t get the full Steam experience until they spend some cash in the actual store. Valve likely thinks it’s worth limiting such accounts in the interests of the larger community.

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It’s unclear how this affects players of free-to-play titles like Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 — both Valve games — but never pay a cent. We’ve contacted to Valve to try and get clarification.

“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,” reads Valve’s Steam support page. “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 USD in Steam.”

The full list of functions limited until you spend $5 is as follows:

  • Sending friend invites
  • Opening group chat
  • Voting on Greenlight, Steam reviews and Workshop items
  • Participating in the Steam Market
  • Posting frequently in the Steam discussions
  • Gaining Steam profile levels (locked to level 0) and trading cards
  • Submitting content on the Steam Workshop
  • Posting in an item’s Steam Workshop discussions
  • Accessing the Steam Web API
  • Using browser and mobile chat

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