User reviews are meant to be a way for gamers to share their experience with a game and while many folks use this tool responsibly, many more don’t.
Sadly review bombs are common and even a good game can be drowned out by a chorus of negative reviews which get rated as “useful” by other gamers. The result of this is that users see mostly negative reviews when searching for a new game.
Valve has acknowledged that its system is flawed numerous times and it has announced the next step in cleaning up Steam.
“Up to this point, we’ve tried to maintain just showing the simple math behind how we calculate whether a review is helpful or not,” said Valve’s Steam Team in a blog post.
“Unfortunately, this has resulted in a system that allows a small group to manipulate reviews to a degree that is clearly decreasing the value of Steam for many other players, ” the team added.
So moving forward Steam will weight user ratings of reviews differently. For those of us that follow “normal” patterns of rating nothing will change but for folks that excessively rate reviews their ratings will count for less and less.
The way user reviews are displayed will also change.
“Store pages will now show the default helpful positive and negative reviews in a similar proportion to that of the overall review score for the game. For example, if the game is reviewed positively by 80% of reviewers, then the ten reviews shown by default on the store page will be 80% positive, showing eight positive and two negative,” explained the Steam Team.
These changes are being beta tested and Valve is considering additional changes to the user review system including how review scores change over time.