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Valve has a bit of an issue when it comes to new features in its ever-present Steam client. Whenever something new like user reviews shows up, everyone is excited to try it out and speculates about how it improves or harms the PC gaming experience. Usually, obvious flaws are discovered, and then they are widely reported by gaming enthusiasts. The next logical step would be a quick fix to these issues, but Valve operates on Valve Time, which means that any updates to these systems will be released at seemingly random times years after the problems first presented themselves.

So here we are in 2016 and Valve has released a major upgrade to its user reviews system, which was first implemented and has remained relatively unchanged since late 2013. Unless you count the addition of a “Funny” button to be a major upgrade.

steam user reviews

 

In any case, Valve released a news post detailing the changes, and they are all mostly smart upgrades that will make the system much more useful. On the right-hand side of the user reviews section, there is now a column that shows you the most recent reviews posted. In addition, games now have two user ratings, one summarizing recent reviews and the other taking all reviews into account. Smaller changes include the addition of a checkbox to alert readers that the reviewer received the game for free and the ability to see reviews in different languages if you so choose.


Quick Take

I’m very happy personally to see the addition of an official way to denote when you have been given a game for review, as this will help everyone separate out professionals, regular users, and those reviewers caught in the middle who work with Steam groups and developers directly. This will obviously also be helpful for games that go through Early Access and change often before release, as well as MMOs and other games that might put in microtransactions after an initial launch.

Do you use Steam reviews? Do you trust the rating summaries that Valve gives front and center? Why do I gravitate towards games that are “Overwhelmingly Negative” in my free time? Answer in the comments below!


Alex Santa Maria

Reviews Editor

TechRaptor's Reviews Editor. Resident fan of pinball, Needlers, Rougelikes, and anything with neon lighting. Owns an office chair once used by Billy Mays.



  • webkilla

    fair enough – this should reveal stuff like devs filling the reviews up with shills

  • Garbagio Dumpsterino

    This is smart. There are a lot of outdated reviews, especially on early access titles, that are no longer relevant. It’s also very important IMO to know whether or not the account reviewing the title had to purchase it or not.

    Giving us the tools to weight the reviews ourselves is a smart move.

  • DukeMagus

    My news tip was accepted? Nice

  • Dindu Nuffin

    Receiving a game to review isn’t a bad thing since indie devs want publicity. Receiving the game on a $2000 “complimentary” laptop is, however.

    Disclosure should be the number one priority. Your reputation number two.

  • Dindu Nuffin

    With allegations of rampant cronyism and ideological bias continuing to dog the gaming press Steam User reviews are needed more than ever. We just need to keep it as open and verifiable as possible.

    So no private account reviews. Steam already tells me you OWN the game, but a private profile doesn’t tell me you played it.

    There’s enough gaming frauds being exposed on youtube as it is without bringing that to Steam too.

  • Galbador

    On your question why you go to overwhelmingly bad games, I tell you this.

    Reviews are just opinions, nothing else. Just because someone says “this game is 10/10” or “what a piece of shit this games is”, is just the option of the one, who wrote this review. In fact, a bad game could end up into a great game for you, even though so many people screamed at the devs for how they could make such a horrible thing which they call game. I saw this for the “AWESOME” as like the “UGLY” games and for so many times, I could not understand why people love or hate those games. This is why I also dislike grades (0-10 or A-F). It says nothing about the game or let you feel the game for yourself. The thing is, devs should make demos from their games (and please, no pre-order demos because they fail their purpose). Like that, you can get a feeling for the real deal and how the finished game could be.

    Just don’t make a early access and then scrap it, because this is the worst thing you can do as a dev. Those “demos” cost money, for once, and if those games are canceled, you make a fool out of the customer, which will won’t put you under a good light.

    But yeah, tl;dr: Don’t trust or read reviews at all and devs should make more demos for us to test them ourselves.

  • GrimFate

    Awesome. User reviews are a very important part of my process of deciding if I want to wishlist or buy a game, so this pleases me.

    I sort of wish users could also give a rating out of 10 (officially, so Steam could average the score) so it was possible to tell if the overwhelmingly positive recommendations meant the game was 10/10, or if they thought it was alright (worth a 6/10, perhaps) but that it wasn’t bad enough to not be recommended, but I guess there are probably issues with allowing this.