Steam has been working behind the scenes on improving their review system for a while now, and there are now wheeling out the newest big change that could impact the scores of several games. Under the current model, all reviews are counted towards the “score” a game receives, telling players whether the majority of reviews are Positive, Mixed, or Negative. This is used by many players to determine whether a game is worth buying. Many have pointed out though that some developers abuse this feature using the free keys Steam provides. In the past, some developers would use free keys in order to generate positive reviews and increase their score artificially. Under the new model, this will no longer be possible.
Valve announced today that they will be altering how review scores are calculated by making it where reviews written by those who activated the game with a key will not be counted in the final score. This includes not only players who received the game for free but who received a key from any outside website or source. Players who receive a key outside of Steam itself will still be able to write reviews and rate the game, but those ratings won’t be applied to the final, average score. Steam clarifies this includes games purchased from retail stores which offer Steam code in lieu of physical PC copies such as Metal Gear Solid V did last year. The estimates indicate that this will have a noticeable effect on about 14% of games. About 200 titles will no longer have an average score until someone who purchased the game through Steam writes a review.
This is not the last change Steam will be making to their customer review system. Steam says they are also looking into ways to fix issues with how reviews are marked as “Helpful”. Steam notes that often reviews that are marked most “helpful” don’t reflect what the majority of players think, and that often players mark reviews as “helpful” because they are entertaining, but not actually helpful as a review of the game. They also note another exploit some developers use, by marking certain reviews which reflect positively on the game as “helpful” in large numbers to keep it at the top of the page.
Along with the major update to customer reviews, Steam also implemented a new way of searching reviews. Players will now be able to filter reviews by their score, purchase type, and the language of the review. The default filter is set to include both positive and negative reviews, in your language, that were steam purchases.
What do you think of this change? Do you think it will help solve some problems, or just introduce new ones in the review system? Share your thoughts in the comments below!