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Valve is trying to fix Steam user reviews. Again. Having already taken steps to prevent groups from review-bombing certain games, Valve is once again making changes aimed at making Steam user reviews more helpful. And this time it’s employing cold, hard math and a dose of logic.
Steam user reviews were meant to offer users a simple way of seeing whether a game was good or not. Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad apples to turn the whole pie into a stinking mess. Thus, thanks to the actions of a few, review scores can become skewed wildly one way or another.
Trolls Gonna Troll
Some of these campaigns to ruin review scores are run for the right reasons. However, many are nothing but trolls trying to ruin a game’s review score for a laugh. And that clearly needs fixing. Valve’s latest efforts to stop the trolls from trolling are twofold…
First, the reviews displayed on a game’s page will reflect its overall score, lessening the effects of review-bombing. So, if a game has an positive rating of 80%, eight out of the 10 reviews shown will be positive, with the other two being negative. Which sounds fair.
Secondly, the helpfulness of each review will be weighted in order to stop bot armies waging war on other Steam users. You can mark reviews as helpful or unhelpful, and some Steam users mark thousands one way or the other. This new weighting system will see these ratings count for less.
Valve sees this as the start of a process, with more changes to its user reviews coming down the line. With that in mind it’s looking at “how review scores on games change over time as games develop or languish” and considering creating a “personalized review score for each player”.
Not All Gamers
User reviews are never perfect. Just look at the Amazon reviews for any product for evidence. However, the Steam user reviews seem to be particularly bad at reflecting most gamers’ enjoyment of individual titles. So we wish Valve luck in trying to fix them. And they’ll need it.
Do you buy games on Steam? Do you pay attention to the user reviews? If so, do you use them to make decisions on games? Or do you look elsewhere for advice? Do you think Valve’s new efforts will help improve Steam user reviews? Please let us know in the comments below!