Steam user reviews will no longer count 'off-topic review bombs'

Steam “off-topic review bombs” will no longer count towards a game’s Review Score

Steam “off-topic review bombs” will no longer count towards a game’s Review Score

KitGuru Says: Depending on how the team conducts their investigation, there could be a major flaw in the new system - what's stopping players from disguising their review bomb to make it look relevant when it's brought about by something off-topic? By using a tool they built, the goal is to "identify any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible", and then notify "a team of people at Valve, who'll then go and investigate".

Over the past few years, review bombs - people organising en masse to post negative reviews to a game's store page to tank its review score - have become one of Steam's most visible issues.

That definition of "off topic" is predictably as vague as it gets.

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".

Off-topic content will include obvious things such as storefront changes and exclusive publishing deals, and also complaints that are related to, but not actually about, games, including the presence of DRM and changes to EULAs.

Unfortunately, any legitimate reviews submitted during this time period also won't be included in the review score.

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In a news post, Valve described a series of planned changes to Steam's review system aimed at minimising the impact of review bombs. Again, the reviews aren't being removed, they just won't be factored into the overall score.

Should it find a slew of what it considers reviews unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be unhappy if they buy the game, it will not count toward the review score. Because review bombs tend to be "temporary distortions", all reviews will be caught in the net.

Valve has announced it's revisiting user reviews on Steam in order to combat review bombing. At this point, however, the user reviews will still be live. Those with comments on the actual game should be aware of other reviews before deciding to post as a result.

"We had long debates about these two, and others like them", Valve said. 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.

Review bombing has been a serious issue for devs, with Devotion being the latest game to be hit. "It's the same reason that we decisively ban partners who engage in review manipulation-customers need to be able to trust the system for it be valuable".

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