How much do you rely on the Steam review system when you are considering purchasing a game from the service? I know I use it. Last September, Valve began tweaking the system to combat what it saw as inflated scores. Now, it has changed it even more to eliminate the inclusion of unpaid games when the time comes to calculate its score.
Back in September, Valve found that game developers could inflate their scores by offering free game keys to players. So, Valve stopped allowing reviews from games that came from review copies, giveaways or those purchased from other retailers. This change was met with a mixed reaction from gamers and developers, especially when it came to review copies.
Over the last few months, Valve has tweaked the system. After their first round of tweaks, reviews could still be written and seen by players, but the scores wouldn’t factor into the actual review score seen by gamers. Now, they have made even more changes, by eliminating and form of freely received game from its total review score. People can still post their thoughts and they can be read, but they won’t factor into the final score the game receives.
“The review score (shown at the top of store pages and in various places throughout the store such as search results) will no longer include reviews by users that received the game for free, such as via a gift, or during a free weekend,” Valve said in a post. “Reviews can still be written by customers that obtained the game in any of these ways, but the review will not count toward the overall review score.”
Valve has been working on this system for sometime as they want the reviews to accurately represent the quality of the game, but many aren’t sure if this is the answer to the problem. Game developers will no doubt be upset by these changes, as they won’t be able to improve their scores by offering free weekends. This could even mean we will see fewer free weekends from some game developers. But how this change will affect things remains to be seen.
Hopefully, it will at least improve the relevance of the reviews so gamers can make better decisions when looking for high quality games. These changes won’t impact free games, either. But you can expect these changes to begin impacting the ratings of paid games pretty soon, although it may take a little time for it to make a huge impact on the overall ratings for many games.
What do you think about these changes to the review system on Steam? Do you think these changes are a good idea or would you like to see Valve do something different with their review system? Sound off in the comments below with your opinions about these changes? Do you think it will make a positive impact on the reviews? Personally, I think it will, although I’m sure many game developers won’t like the change.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.