Valve is trying to make it harder to review bomb Steam games

    
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No, you can't be quite this evil.

Hate how Steam reviews work? Maybe you’ll hate them a little less now. Valve says it’s changing how review scores are calculated, so it’s a little bit harder to maliciously review bomb games.

“With the changes we are making now, the review score (shown at the top of store pages and in various places throughout the store such as search results) will no longer include reviews by users that received the game for free, such as via a gift, or during a free weekend,” says the company. “Reviews can still be written by customers that obtained the game in any of these ways, but the review will not count toward the overall review score.”

Expect the rollout to continue over the next few days, but don’t expect it to help much with free-to-play games, for obvious reasons.

The changes are part of a series of review tweaks begun back in September, when Valve stripped review scores from gamers who applied game keys rather than purchased from Valve and tweaked colors and review sorting features.

Source: Valve
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kgptzac

Lol. Steam review scores have always been skewed toward fanboyism, and now they are removing more ways that a legitimate negative review could have been posted.

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Solaralune

I’d rather see metrics like average time played, percentage of active players in the past week/month, ratio of purchased games to refunded games. At this point and the way the internet’s become voting something down is just a game anymore.

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Erik Heinze-Milne

So they are now discounting the reviews of legitimate owners who made the terrible “error” of buying from somewhere other than Steam? Even though it was a steam key? Yep, that’s not shady at all…

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socontrariwise

The biggest problem are people who buy a game, write a negative review, refund it immediately – for the motivation of bashing a game. I’ve seen this quite a few times now. In my opinion people with refunds should not be able to write a normal review (they did not play it more than 2 hours max anyway) but have a separate section with a poll summary (give points for stability/performance, graphics, feature depth etc).
And reviews should be at least 100 words with a report-feature for those who are just copy and paste stuff or pictures. None of this has any value or is a “review”, those are mere statements of opinion without detailing why or what.

ceder
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ceder

The reverse is also true that review padders buy and refund to prop up a game as well.

Reviews are opinions not necessarily fact filled critiques with statistics and other things. That’s always been the case with reviews since reviews have existed so wanting them to be something more/different is a bit silly.

I also disagree with the 100 word review requirement. I mean, even movie reviewers can give reviews in fewer words. One can express like/dislike for something without being a Shakespearean soliloquy.

Alex Js.
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Alex Js.

Meh. Most of the reviews will still be overfilled with some tryhards desperately trying to say something amusing in a couple of sentences, including people who actually disliked the game but who would still give it a “tumbs up” just to give more “weight” to some sarcastic comment they’ll write in their “review”.

If you want to actually know whether the game is worth playing – the only reliable way to do so is just by playing it yourself, or at the very least by watching someone else play it (if you’re not afraid of potential spoilers) on sites like YouTube or Twitch.

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Rumm

Make it so that you have to meet a certain time threshold before you leave a review. Boom problem solved.

Excluding people from affecting the overall score because they were given it as a gift is absurd.

semugh
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semugh

There are steam game idlers. What’s moar they can idle multiple games side by side.

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agemyth 😩

I am a Steam game idler.

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agemyth 😩

An arbitrary time threshold is also absurd.

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Rumm

If Steam gives me 2 hours to play a game before I can decide that I want a full refund, I should have a similar threshold for reviewing said game.

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Jeremy Barnes

I get your sentiment, but it’s a bad idea. If a game is utterly awful, why require people to play it for 2 hours before they can say so? You may have noticed a lot of crap on Steam and I, for one, don’t want to rely on people playing some of the complete and utter trash for 2 hours before they can share that information

quark1020
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quark1020

Not to mention pointless. You don’t have to actually play for steam to register time played. The game just needs to be on.

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Erik Heinze-Milne

Ummm… no? If you don’t like the game to the point of having it refunded, other consumers definitely deserve to have access to that information just as much as knowing someone loved it.

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Dean Greenhoe

Personally I do not look for games on steam. I go to steam to buy a game after hearing about it from friends or reviews on my normal sources like MassivlyOP. Only, once I am on steam for a particular game will I read the reviews there.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

i don’t even bother with steam reviews anymore except for comedic purposes but otherwise i’m the same.

and increasingly i think twice about buying games on steam at all if there’s alternative store fronts selling them.

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Tanek

Once again, this seems to go a step too far. Receiving a game as a gift will now exclude you from reviews?

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mcsleaz

No, it will only exclude your review counting towards the games score, you can still write a review.

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Tanek

Look at what people are saying, though. Excluding you from influencing the score will affect more people than the actual review will. That is why they are doing this in the first place.

The only real “solution” I see is to just not have a score at all.

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BalsBigBrother

I rarely look at steam reviews unless I am really bored or looking for something to laugh at and even then they are a last resort /shrugs

Veldan
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Veldan

Well, given the enormous amount of games on Steam nowadays, you need some way to judge the quality of a game before buying. Personally, if I’m interested in a game, here’s what I do:

– if it’s very positive or overwhelmingly positive, I buy it
– if it’s negative, I don’t buy it
– if it’s mixed reviews, I read the actual reviews and/or check reviews outside of Steam

I find this very useful.

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Tanek

Except you should probably read the actual reviews no matter what. Anyone who bought it outside of Steam (using a retail key from another vendor) or who received it as a gift won’t be represented in that score. I don’t know what percentage that would be overall, but just going by the score now, who knows what is being left out.

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BalsBigBrother

I buy based on game play footage I have seen, my own perception of the dev team (if I know them) and price.

It is kind of like movie reviews I have seen some movies get panned by reviewers that I have absolutely loved and vice versa ones that have been praised I hated. So using the opinion of randoms who I don’t know just seems well a bit random to me.

If they are useful to you then good but they offer no value to me personally :-)

Veldan
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Veldan

For me, the difference is that I’ve seen plenty of movies with terrible reviews that I still enjoyed watching, but I’ve never seen a game with terrible reviews that I found enjoyable to play.

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BalsBigBrother

Um let see Arkham Knight was pretty much universally panned for crashing and was even removed from steam for a time while the dev team attempted to fix it.

At launch it was rated mostly negative by the reviews for that reason, even now going on the overall user review it is still a mixed rating though recent reviews are now very positive.

However as a result while it was rated mostly negative I managed to snag it for less than the cost of my lunch, had it crash once during my play through and I found I really enjoyed it as a game. If I had given the reviews any credibility i would never have played it.

I am sure that if I put some thought into it I could come up with other examples but that is one that jumps immediately to mind :-)

As I said if you find reviews useful then good for you I hope whatever changes are made make them work better for you. I don’t and don’t see that changing either.

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quark1020

It really depends on what the reviews are about. People will put a negative review on a game for something like selling dlc for too much money, while in early access, or because they don’t like the dev. All good reasons, but doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality of the base game.

Granted, all the games I’ve seen with those problems generally get “Mixed” reviews. I’ll go through my steam library, see if I find something with negative reviews that I liked.

quark1020
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quark1020

Got nuthin. All the games I liked that aren’t popular have mixed reviews. The rest, either I didn’t like and/or the store page is missing :/

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StonerMk2

Alpha Protocol had terrible reviews and i absolutely loved the game lol generally i just find a lets play and decide if thats something id spend money on and enjoy. I personally dont put too much stock into user reviews.

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Castagere Shaikura

some of them are not even reviews.

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Greaterdivinity

Huh, I thought this policy change was already in place, but guess it was just flagging those that received the game for free etc.

Not a bad first-step, IMO. I just wish Valve would stop with their relentless march towards making Steam completely hands-off for them. Human curation and eyes/judgement are always going to be necessary to a certain extent, but it seems like Valve is doing everything possible to eliminate any human interaction on their side. And it’s making Steam more and more frustrating to browse/use : /

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Armsbend

Valve’s entire development philosophy is to do as little work as possible. They are almost at zero work.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

for some reason there are people who act like this is a positive. i’m sure it’s great for valve employees being able to get richer and richer while doing less and less labour with a poorer and poorer quality product, but is it good for us the consumer?

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Arktouros

They are making games. 3 of them.

All VR titles :)

deekay_000
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deekay_000

are they themselves making them? or are they outsourcing again like “their” recent games?

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Arktouros

Yes. Here’s my go to video on basically why they’re doing VR and why they are in VR at all and why they are making VR focused games. The process he describes of the software developers giving feedback directly to the hardware developers seems like it’s a fairly internal process.

Bit of a giggle @ 15:20 :)

But if you watch the video you can tell they seem to be working on them directly a lot.

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Sray

1: they might be outsourcing them like CS:GO and Left for Dead 2, thus realistically only acting as publisher.

2. The likelihood of the games being exclusively VR is low; given Valve makes almost exclusively first peron shooters, that’s a genre that adapts to VR, and vice versa, very well.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

that and they’ve been teasing various in house games for years that never appear and eventually become jokes about valve’s work ethic.

l4d3 on source2 anyone?

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Arktouros

Are you guessing on both points or do you have a source that they are outsourcing the games and they won’t be VR exclusive?

Because, for example, in the video I linked below to deekay they seem to talk a lot about them not only being developed in house but also designing them to take advantage of VR over keyboard/mouse.

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Sray

It’s the “complete freedom” versus “walled garden” argument. There’s a large segment of people who want Valve and the developers to be as hands off as possible after a purchase has been made, and others who want something a few steps closer to the stability of the console platforms.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

steam is very much a walled garden. it’s the definition of a walled garden.

not curating the garden doesn’t mean it’s not one.

google’s android app store isn’t curated much either and it’s still a walled garden.

it’s part of what takes the piss out of gaben’s FUDing about windows app store.

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Sray

Whether Steam is actually a walled garden or not, those are the dueling philosophies.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

eh i’d argue that that might be true of windows or linux or w/e but not for something like steam.

it’s more like spending time money and HR on curation vs spending less time money and HR on letting customers curate for you.

which is kind of in a greater sense like say bethesda’s ethos of letting modders fix their games after they ship, ie getting customers to do work your company should be doing but can get away with offloading to the consumerbase.

which alot of valve’s development efforts that have gone anywhere in the past several years have been about getting other people to do work for them to profit off of – i mean just look at trading cards for example or how they fund their esports prize pools.

ultimately tho shopping on steam is a clusterfuck for the consumer now because of that ethos and stuff like this is just bandaids that doesn’t really even make a serious attempt at solving the fundemental problem or even the symptoms of the problem like review bombing.

and not like it stops internet gaming celebs from taking on the mantle of gatekeeper for steam games anyway.

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Sray

You wondered what people who like Valve’s hands off approach are thinking: that’s what they’re thinking; that’s what is going through their minds. Whether it’s right or wrong; applicable or not; legal or moral; peanut butter or chocolate… it doesn’t matter: that is how they look at it; that’s why they approve of Valve’s do nothing stance on everything.

For me, as far as I see it we’re saying the same thing.

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agemyth 😩

Nobody has solved the problems “app stores” and the like face with too many apps/games. To me it seems like Valve put more effort into this problem than the other comparable services I know.

These stores also all use their own kinds of user influenced ratings and curation systems. Personally, I don’t want Valve stepping in and hand sorting what they think are the good games from the bad. Use bad computer algorithms like everyone else and let the rest happen by people willing to seek out smaller games or by word of mouth.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

i mean apple literally tests every single app submitted to their app stores with humans but ok.

i mean i disagree with some of the lines along which apple curates their stores but they do far more work on their than steam does on theirs.

even google’s android app store has more guidelines and rules for apps than steam has as well and it has minimal curation.

if anything steam is the worst for this stuff among walled garden app stores of it’s kind.

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agemyth 😩

I disagree.

I would prefer no human testing to Apple’s oppressive approval process. This doesn’t make any noticeable difference when it comes to the problem of discovery and visibility of games/apps. That is specifically the issue I was referring to.

The discovery and curation tools in Steam, while flawed and reliant on user input, is still more than I get from other services.

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Jeremy Barnes

everything is ultimately a walled garden because you can only use within the Universe.

quark1020
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quark1020

To be fair…that wall didn’t do a god damn thing to stop garbage from going into the steam garden.

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Armsbend

After a purchase? Of course I want hands off post purchase – outside of delivering me my patches. It is the pre-purchase laziness that I despise.

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Jeremy Barnes

There’s not some sort of “Hey guys, fully automated now. You can go home and just collect your check!