First off, I'll give some background on why I'm asking this: I enjoy Steam achievement hunting, so I have no intention of unlocking all achievements.

However, there are several games (E.g. Spiral Knights) where I have every achievement but one. This wouldn't bother me, except these achievements are no longer achievable due to changes in the game, making it impossible for me to get the 100% stat on a game that I have actually completed.

Is it against Valve's policies/rules to use an achievement "cheat"?

Ideally I'm looking for some official documentation. (Chances are I won't actually use anything, but I'd like to know the possible ramifications if I did)

I have seen this quote from a volunteer moderator on the steam forums, but it is only regarding VAC (The in-game anti-cheat), Ideally I'd like to know about any other possible issues.

Valve Anti-Cheat does not ban people who use steam achievement managers, nor will he be manually banned. I guess you could report him as a suspected cheater.

  • I have used SAM, and know many others who have used it. No ban. I heard that people had one specific game "reset" once, but they unlocked everything again without a ban. If you are worried about VAC then only use the tool when a game is not running.
    – user101016
    Dec 5, 2015 at 14:45
  • @CamelCase the question is not about if it is safe to use, it is about the rules/terms. While it is safe to use it doesn't comply with the Steam Subscriber Agreement.
    – ave
    Dec 5, 2015 at 14:50
  • There is no policy stating a ban (or not) for modifying achievements. Xbox Live directly state they do act on achievement modifications. It is not a ban but a gamerscore reset. If Steam did act specifically against achievement modifications then they would state so.
    – user101016
    Dec 5, 2015 at 15:12

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is against the Steam Subscriber Agreement.

It is against Steam Subscriber Agreement which you agreed by creating a steam account, buying a game or buying/selling something from/on the Steam Community Market.

You may not use Cheats, automation software (bots), mods, hacks, or any other unauthorized third-party software, to modify or automate any Subscription Marketplace process.

Steam Achievement Manager counts as a bot or cheat (TF2 Wiki considers it as hacking), if not just an unauthorized third-party software, therefore is against the Steam Subscriber Agreement.

If you use this software, your account may be terminated:

Valve may cancel your Account or any particular Subscription(s) at any time in the event that (a) Valve ceases providing such Subscriptions to similarly situated Subscribers generally, or (b) you breach any terms of this Agreement (including any Subscription Terms or Rules of Use).

In past, the TF2 "Announcer" took the items that were obtained through hacked achievements back for one week, which shows that Valve doesn't accept them. This also shows that it is not authorized by Valve.

  • 5
    While that is accurate for the "Subscription Marketplace", it is rather vague on what the "Subscription Marketplace" actually is. You're probably right, it just seems like a bit of a grey area in their rules.
    – DBS
    Dec 5, 2015 at 13:05
  • @DBS I suppose Subscription Marketplace means Steam. I couldn't find anything that explains what they mean by that.
    – ave
    Dec 5, 2015 at 13:14
  • 2
    Hm.. I've got friends doing this for years, none have gotten banned.
    – aytimothy
    Dec 5, 2015 at 14:23
  • @aytimothy yes, but valve has the right to ban. However, 30 mins ago I ran through a VPN (game is not available in Turkey) and got the Black Rose using Achievement Editing. I also edited achievements of HL2 before, as they are broken and earning them is just pure luck, but I'm not banned.
    – ave
    Dec 5, 2015 at 14:36
  • 7
    @ardaozkal Your answer is incorrect.
    – aytimothy
    Dec 5, 2015 at 15:31

Is it against Valve's policies/rules to use an achievement "cheat"?

There is actually nothing in the lengthy User Agreement that specifically mentions achievements. Sure, you could assume a specific line or section covers achievements, but this is just an assumption. The word "achievement" does not appear in the agreement last updated June 2015.

This question appears all over the Steam forums, and none of these direct you to an official word. That is because there is no official word. It simply is not specifically covered in the user agreement.

Will Steam ban you? Reset your achievements? Who knows? If history tells us anything, then no, you will not be punished. I have used SAM (Steam Achievement Unlocker) and know of many others who have used it. There are plenty of stories in the Steam forums too.

Scouring the Steam forums for mentions of punishments when using an achievement unlocker pretty much leads to discussions on VAC bans. These discussions are concerned with using the achievement unlocker on a VAC server. You will find plenty of people saying they use the achievement unlocker on VAC without ever receiving a ban, myself included.

The official Steam Achievement Manager site does mention that the only time achievements were reset was during the TF2 medic update. However, this did not stop people from using the tool to re-unlock the achievements.

Also in the same site, it states that games can now manage achievements server side. This means that achievement unlockers no longer work for all achievements (i.e. cannot unlock server-side achievements).

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