Valve recently removed nearly a thousand games from Steam, which initially raised quite a few eyebrows. That is, until the brunt of the titles were traced back to a single Russian publisher, which Valve claim abused some Steamworks tools.
The publisher in question is called Dagestan Technology, and although it wasn't immediately apparent, some clever digging by developer Alexandra Frock cleared that up pretty quickly.
“A good chunk of them are linked to a single publisher in Russia (I think "Dagestan Technology" is the first name they use) going under a very large number of different names", she wrote in response to PCGamer's tweet.
She also provided this link , showing developer-publisher relationships by support contact info and indeed - Dagestan Technology seems to have been swapping names almost as often as they published games.
Their catalogue, which is now empty but can be viewed from the cached version, lists 48 games and 4 DLCs, but most of the titles in the above list can be traced to Dagestan - it's just a matter of how many jumps you have to make.
Valve, on the other hand, said that the purge was a result of questionable practices by multiple publishers, rather than a single one. "We recently discovered a handful of partners that were abusing some Steamworks tools’, they said, adding that the parties were notified.
Unfortunately, it seems that the actions of these publishers resulted in taking down of some regular, non-asset-flipping games. One person who claims to have had a game published by Siberia Digital commented on Reddit , "Steam sent a letter that the account was banned due to the discovery abuse of the sale of bundles ... but I never abused this. But that was exactly what my previous publisher did over a year ago."
Complaints about Steam becoming a landfill of shameless asset flips and lousy excuses for games have lasted for a while now, not least for causing visibility issues for indie studios. Could it be that Valve finally decided to clean up their platform?