Valve's user review system overhauled; scores now based only on games bought directly from Steam

By midian182 ยท 8 replies
Sep 13, 2016
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  1. Valve is overhauling Steam’s user review system in an effort to remove submissions for games that were acquired using Steam product keys. The company says the reason for the move is to stop those developers who “are willing to employ deceptive tactics to generate a more positive review score.”

    Additionally, a new set of filters that have been introduced that will let users view reviews by language, purchase source (Steam/Key activation/both), and whether it is positive, negative or both.

    While it is still possible to see summaries from those who acquired a game using a product key from either a third-party website or a developer, the overall review score will now be based only on purchases made directly through Steam.

    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.

    But in many cases, the abuse is clear and obvious, such as duplicated and/or generated reviews in large batches, or reviews from accounts linked to the developer. In those cases, we've now taken action by banning the false reviews and will be ending business relationships with developers that continue violating our rules.

    For many titles, the smallest difference in the review score can see their rating change from positive to mixed.

    As noted by, the move has already resulted in a change of the review score category for around 14 percent of games on Steam, and could spell bad news for honest indie developers such as Simon Roth, whose Maia game has seen its score drop to 45 percent following the update.

    Valve also plans to filter out joke reviews that get marked as “helpful" simply because they are funny. The company says these posts do not give an indication of whether or not you should buy the game, and therefore aren’t actually helpful.

    Permalink to story.

  2. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    I'm sorry Valve, but Hodor is the only game reviewer I trust anymore. You start filtering his reviews simply because they're funny.
    alabama man likes this.
  3. Duckeenie

    Duckeenie TS Booster Posts: 80   +62

    I believe the new system is better for consumers, a half finished game like Maia is unlikely to be a better product than many final games. Crowdfunders aren't the best people to be judging a game because they have a vested interest in it being a success which makes them biased, I mean nobody is going to want to back a game that the dev's gives up on because of lack of interest and funds.

    A solution to Simon Roth's problem would be if Steam did away with ratings for early access titles but still allowed people to leave feedback, said feedback could probably be replaced by the classic rating system once the game hits final.
  4. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    The joke reviews are the only ones I read, without those they might as well get rid of the service altogether, the actual "user" reviews are usually not worth crap as it is.
    Reehahs and alabama man like this.
  5. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    I agree completely. It's a shame that he needs money from alpha sales to continue making the game, but there are so many indie and early access games on Steam that separating the wheat from the chaff is really important. Reviews from players who really want the game to succeed should not be taken into account at all.

    Crowdfunders can be really rabid and irrational in their support of their chosen product.
    Duckeenie likes this.
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,738   +3,757

    *cough*Star Citizen*cough*
  7. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    I didn't want to say it outright, but yes.
  8. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Stop being logical and making sense - this is Valve we're talking about, the company that can't count to three.
  9. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 268   +39

    There goes my ability to impact review score on 90% of the games I own (bought via game bundles like Humble or on third party sites like Greenmangaming), just because some people use key redeemed games for fraudulent reviews.

    What's that saying? Oh yeah: This is why we can't have nice things.

    Imbeciles.. Both Valve and the people doing this.

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