Steam Review Bombing Addressed With New Feature From Valve
The recent controversy over PewDiePie’s remarks during a stream has had fans divided about how we use language in the public eye. One side can be reflected in the recent decision by Firewatch developer Campo Santo when they said they would issue takedown notices for all of the streamers videos containing the game. In response and on the other side, some fervent fans took to review bombing the game on Steam, plunging its review score down to mixed.
In response, Valve issued a statement in regards to review bombing and a solution they feel will at least help inform users if not end the practice. The focus was that this kind of attack often has nothing to do with the game itself, but with decisions made by developers, or stances they take on issues. Often, these negative reviews don’t actually reflect how a user might enjoy a game, and may, in fact, detur them from purchasing a game they would otherwise enjoy. Here are Valves words on the topic:
It might be that they’re unhappy with something the developer has said online, or about choices the developer has made in the Steam version of their game relative to other platforms, or simply that they don’t like the developer’s political convictions. Many of these out-of-game issues aren’t very relevant when it comes to the value of the game itself, but some of them are real reasons why a player may be unhappy with their purchase.”
While there may be several ways to solve the problem of review bombing, Valve wanted to preserve the integrity of their system while still giving potential buyers a chance to discern actual reviews from biased opinion. According to the post, most games recover relatively quickly from review bombing whether it be on their own or by changes from the developer. Their response, then, was to add a new feature that would let people review the entire history at a glance:
Starting today, each game page now contains a histogram of the positive to negative ratio of reviews over the entire lifetime of the game, and by clicking on any part of the histogram you’re able to read a sample of the reviews from that time period. As a potential purchaser, it’s easy to spot temporary distortions in the reviews, to investigate why that distortion occurred, and decide for yourself whether it’s something you care about. This approach has the advantage of never preventing anyone from submitting a review, but does require slightly more effort on the part of potential purchasers.”
Whether or not this will completely solve the problem remains to be seen, and the issue surrounding review bombing is multifaceted. Ultimately it may be that the simplest solution, letting fans look over the entire history without restricting posts and ranks, is the best one. Time, as always, will tell whether or not this decision is sound.
Is review bombing as a sign of protest a fair practice, or should gamers find a way to show their dissatisfaction without misleading other gamers? Join in on the conversation in the comment section below! Don’t forget to follow DFTG on Twitter for live gaming and entertainment news 24/7!
Charles Douglas734 Posts
Deep in the mountains of the south west lives a man who writes game editorials, makes YouTube Videos, and is an overall mega nerd. An avid believer in Unicorns, and your new all star line backer, Number 34, CHARLES DOUGLAAAAAAASSSS!!!!