The review process for Steam has changed. The overall score is changing. How reviews are presented is changing, and attempting to game the system is changing.
Over on the official Steam page, Valve updated users on how they’re addressing user reviews. The major change is that there are now filters for user reviews.
You can now filter reviews based on what’s positive and negative, as well as reviews that are from legitimate Steam purchases and what was activated by a key. There’s also a customization option for the language (but that has been there for a while).
The new review scores also have been modified. If you picked up a game outside of Steam and leave a review, or if you get a free press copy, or if you use a key activation, your review will not count toward the review aggregate anymore.
Recently we wrote about odd user reviews for ARK, and part of the overhaul from Valve seems to address the very issues brought out in the article, as they write…
“The majority of review score manipulation we’re seeing by developers is through the process of giving out Steam keys to their game, which are then used to generate positive reviews. Some developers organize their own system using Steam keys on alternate accounts. Some organizations even offer paid services to write positive reviews.”
It wasn’t just ARK: Scorched Earth, though. Other games have also been pointed out for having skewed scores that didn’t quite match up with the actual sentiment of the community.
But what happens when a small contingent of gamers have an axe to grind and have the most helpful review as something negative? Or what happens when a small contingent of gamers fanboy for a game and make the most helpful a positive one even though majority of the reviews are negative? Well, Valve doesn’t quite have an answer for that yet.
There are still some changes to be made but ultimately they’re trying to make the user reviews a good guide for potential customers, so that people have a sound idea of whether or not a game is worth purchasing. Given that so many games out there from some developers have what appears to be fixed reviews or paid reviews or padded reviews, it’s nice to know that Valve is at least attempting to fix some of these issues.