Steam: Rails to Riches and Eight-Minute Empire pulled from PC after developer banned for fake reviews


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09 May 2018
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8_minute_empire2-38917.jpg Eight-Minute Empire (PC)
Acram Digital currently working on port of Istanbul

The digital versions of several board games have been pulled from PC platform Steam after one of their developers was found to have posted fake positive reviews.

Acram Digital is the studio behind the PC ports of Martin Wallace’s Steam: Rails to Riches and Ryan Laukat’s Eight-Minute Empire, both of which were also released on mobile for iOS and Android.

At the beginning of May, Acram Digital’s games suddenly vanished from the Steam store, with the studio’s developer page also disappearing.

Steam clarified the situation with a post stating that it had decided to remove all games and DLC published by Acram as the result of developer Grzegorz Kubas allegedly manipulating the games’ user rating by posting multiple positive reviews

“This is against our policy, and something we take very seriously,” Steam wrote, adding that it “will no longer be doing business with him”.

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Although both Steam: Rails to Riches and Eight-Minute Empire are no longer available to buy, existing owners will still be able to download and play the games.

In a response to the post, Kubas apologised and admitted that he was “guilty”, saying that none of the reviews had been paid for and he had posted them from six fake accounts as the result of being “very frustrated”.

“It came from my frustration of few bad, unfair reviews on Valve's Steam only,” he wrote. “It was stupid action, not something planned. This is my individual, bad behavior, not the team, so I would like to blame me, not the devs. It's a lesson for the rest of my life and it will not happen again, ever.”

Kubas added that Acram had emailed Valve in an attempt to overturn the decision, but is still waiting for a reply.

As well as meaning that both Steam: Rails to Riches and Eight-Minute Empire are seemingly unavailable to buy on PC at all at the moment, the removal of Acram from Steam leaves the future of its upcoming adaptation of Istanbul on the platform in doubt.

The digital version of Rüdiger Dorn’s 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres winner was planned for release on PC, iOS and Android in the second quarter of 2018, before the summer – whether that’s still the case given recent events is unclear.

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