Steam Reviews Change Once Again
Steam reviews have long been the bane of developers. Often this section of a game is filled with trolling, circle jerking and other general interneting. However Steam is attempting to curb the ‘abuse’ in the current system with new changes. Developers and consumers both had a part to play in these new changes to Steam reviews.
A little while ago, Steam implemented some of new changes to the review system. Instead allowing anyone to review games on the platform, users now need to have purchased the game through Steam. This means gifted or third party keys would not apply to a games overall score. Steam gave their reasoning behind the Steam reviews changes saying,
“Steam keys have always been free for developers to give out or sell through other online or retail stores. That isn’t changing. However, it is too easy for these keys to end up being used in ways that artificially inflate review scores.
An analysis of games across Steam shows that at least 160 titles have a substantially greater percentage of positive reviews by users that activated the product with a cd key, compared to customers that purchased the game directly on Steam. There are, of course, legitimate reasons why this could be true for a game: Some games have strong audiences off Steam, and some games have passionate early adopters or Kickstarter backers that are much more invested in the game.
As a result of this, we are making some changes to how review scores are calculated. As of today, the recent and overall review scores we show at the top of a product page will no longer include reviews written by customers that activated the game through a Steam product key.”
With this change in place, Steam has decided to revert back to a system similar to what existed earlier, but with a few tweaks. Allow reviews will now be accepted irregardless of source, however there will now be a means of filtering between review sources. Users will now have better control over the Steam reviews they see.
“One frequent piece of feedback we’ve heard regarding the recent changes is that it has become more difficult to find and read the helpful, articulate reviews written by customers that obtained the game outside of Steam,” wrote Valve. “We want to make sure that helpful reviews can be surfaced regardless of purchase source, so we’re making a change to the defaults.
“Starting today, the review section on each product page will show reviews written by all users, regardless of purchase type.”
This seems to be a good middle ground between what was in place earlier and the original review system. Now power is put into the hands of the purchaser in order to determine what games deserve their money.