It seems that Valve simply can’t catch a break at times. Ever since the company introduced user reviews to Steam, it’s been one thing after another. More recently Valve has noticed a huge amount of users abusing the system by review bombing games without merit. Such as getting upset that a game didn’t do what they wanted, or that a specific game wasn’t coming to Steam, so they would review bomb other games. As such, Valve has made yet another change to the review system.
In a recent update, Valve has stated they are implementing a change that will be used to identify off-topic review bombs. Once identified, those reviews will no longer count to the review score of a specific game.
a review bomb is where players post a large number of reviews in a short period of time, aimed at lowering the Review Score of a game. We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score
It’s worth mentioning that they aren’t going to outright review those reviews. Instead, they’ll negate any chance of them affecting a review score.
Of course, Valve is aware that this could cause some parity here and has admitted there is a margin of error here. To which they’ve outlined a few things they’re going to use to implement these changes. Such as things that aren’t apparent in the game, or outright affect the game will only be counted. So things like DRM (Denuvo for an example) being added to a game will fall under the off-topic review bomb criteria. EULA changes are also subject to this.
That said, it seems this has already upset more a large number of Steam users. Which makes sense, as they feel this could be handicapping legit reviews. Thankfully, for those people, Valve has added an option to opt out of this new system. Which will take account of those review bombs and contribute them to the overall review of a title. I’m not sure why someone would want that, but at least the option is there.
Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Valve here. A review of a game should be just that, of said game. Not any outside factors, not because your favorite company decided to do something you don’t agree with. However, I feel that Valve needs to be a bit more flexible when it comes to this. A good example of this would be completely trashing a game over microtransactions. Something that Valve could easily consider something that doesn’t affect a game, even though we all know they definitely can.
It’s going to be interesting to how long this is going to last and if Valve loses up here or if they stand their ground. Either way, the company definitely has an uphill battle trying to stop something that been an issue on Steam for quite some time. Something that other companies have been still trying to figure out for their own review systems.