Originally posted on 04/02/14 at http://playing.global.vladstrukov.com/
Steam is a gaming distribution and play platform, available across the world and in a multitude of languages. Since accounts can contain up to hundreds of dollars worth of software and games, as well as the market for virtual goods in exchange for real cash, the software is particularly attractive to scammers.
One group often under fire for scamming and phishing attempts are Russian and Eastern European users, with the more elaborate schemes being featured on mainstream gaming websites. But why has Steam scamming almost synonymous with Russian users, potential victims deliberately avoiding Russian players?
Distrust and dislike of Russian users can also reach the point of open and unapologetic racism;
What is it that prompts such distrust and antagonism towards Russian gamers in the Steam community? Russia is home to the world’s second-largest gaming community (after the United States), with the gaming market expected to reach $1.5 billion in the next two years. These numbers suggest that there will be larger number of scammers based in Russia as opposed to, say, India, where internet penetration is at 16.5% compared to Russia’s 53.3%. It also stands to reason, then, that Russians comprise a large proportion of the legitimate gaming and trade community on Steam.
It is possible that the answer has something to do with offline politics. The largest amount of Steam traffic comes, unsurprisingly, from the United States, followed by Europe, and then Russia.
Though the Cold War is decades over, U.S.-Russia relations can often be tense, the two countries butting heads over LGBT rights, the crisis in Syria, and US whistleblower Edward Snowden, amongst other issues. With Russia being presented as an opponent in U.S. media, is it inconceivable that Russians should also take the place of the opponent in the online gaming community? While Russian scammers represent a minority of users from that region, the Steam community, dominated by North American inhabitants, has largely outcast them as untrustworthy and unenjoyable to play with.