Valve is overhauling Steam reviews to combat review bombing

Valve is overhauling Steam reviews to combat review bombing

As explained in a blog post, Steam will try to minimize the number of "off-topic review bombs" on the user score displayed at the top of a game's store page by letting users opt-in through their account preferences to see all reviews counted.

As outlined in a new blog post, Steam will soon be implementing a feature that checks for unusual review activity-such as sudden spikes in negative reviews-across all Steam games.

After the tool has identified possibly troublesome reviews, it will inform Valve and the company will then begin an investigation.

Complaints about DRM and EULA changes are considered off-topic under this rule, with Valve defending its reasoning that "the "general" Steam player doesn't care as much about them, so the Review Score is more accurate if it doesn't contain them". This is a broad enough definition of irrelevant reviews that it could include many things, but Valve has confirmed that it includes those complaining about digital rights management (DRM) like Denuvo.

In a news post, Valve described a series of planned changes to Steam's review system aimed at minimising the impact of review bombs.

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Valve has announced it's revisiting user reviews on Steam in order to combat review bombing. As the review bomb filtering system just excludes a certain cluster of reviews from counting towards the overall score, this will also filter out any legitimate reviews during that period, but at least it will be across a period decided by real flesh-and-blood humans. Should instance of review bombing be found, the team marks the time period it encompasses, and reviews from said time period will be removed from the score calculation.

According to Valve, however, data has shown that review bombs are "temporary distortions", so the overall review score will remain accurate even if some well-meaning reviews get caught up in Valve's net.

Steam's review and rating system is a key part in many gamers' decision-making when they are on the hunt for a new title to play. One such flaw is that any genuine reviews posted during what Valve deems to be a "review bomb" will be filtered out alongside the off-topic posts. It is worth noting that the reviews themselves will not be removed, but rather made hidden so that those who are still interested in them can still find them.

It also committed to ensuring that users can continue to use the review system as they see fit, including "to react to deception or discovering something they've been sold is sub-par". And, again, people will apparently still be able to look at reviews that have been removed.

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