Steam is a really big platform with a massive userbase that is constantly buying and playing new games. That is why other companies, like EA’s Origin, want a piece of the pie. Yet being so popular has it’s problems. Like spam, and more spam. There is no doubt that Steam has this issues, especially when buyers of certain games get “gifting options” and leechers somehow get notified of it. This means an endless list of “friend” requests by users that just signed up an hour ago.
To combat this, Steam has decided to lock some of the features for new users such as: friend requests, group chats (and web and mobile chat), voting on greenlight, reviews on new games, participating in Steam Market, posting too frequently in Steam Discussions, and the web API.
This will all be locked until you “spend” $5 through Steam, and this will adjust according to your region. The payment has to be through Steam which means adding money to your wallet, buying a digital game for $5 or more, or adding/sending a Steam gift card from your account. Physical games, Steam keys from other services, and gifts will NOT count as spending $5.
“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 $5.00 USD in Steam.”
So there may be a small community of Steam that only buys physical or only plays F2P titles, but the global majority of the userbase shouldn’t have a problem at all. Overall it’s a small request to prevent some harassment from spammers, and if all else fails at least Steam will make a few bucks off the spammers.