Steam Review Bombing Being Combated With New Features From Valve

The practice of Steam review bombing has become rather popular over the past year or so, leaving Valve to find a fix. As of late, when a developer makes an unpopular decision, users take to Steam and leave negative reviews by the hundreds in an attempt to show their outrage at said choices. For example, Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky didn’t get off to the greatest of starts on the digital platform, but after an unfavorable decision was made, the reviews tanked to “Overwhelming Negative” with the quickness. Not only does this negatively affect the games’ creators, but it also provides a false look at titles for the players who wish to purchase them. Valve previously implemented measures to combat this practice, but with the introduction of two new features that aim to take it a step further, they are showing that they mean business.

In a new blog post, Valve goes into detail about what is new to combat Steam review bombing. First, they are looking to tackle what qualifies as a helpful review by monitoring users’ ratings. They are doing this “by counting the helpful ratings on reviews differently for users that are far outside the norm. Ratings from users that follow normal patterns of rating will continue to be counted the same way that they have, whereas accounts that rate an excessive number of reviews on an individual game will see the weight of each individual rating count for less and less.”

Steam Review Bombing

Second, the 10 featured reviews on a game’s store page will now proportionally reflect the title’s overall score. If a video game is at 70% positive, that means seven of the reviews shown on the store page will be positive, while the other three will be negative. According to Valve, “This should keep the reviews shown on a game’s page from being so easily manipulated by a few determined players and should more accurately represent the overall sentiment of the people playing the game.”

The beta version of these features is currently available and can be enabled or disabled in the drop-down box seen in the image above. Valve has recognized that their previous attempts to rid the digital store have been exploited by a handful of manipulative users. Even though players can only submit one review per game, there is no limit to how many they can mark as “helpful” or “unhelpful”. Here is what they found:

Of the 11 million people that have used the helpful buttons, most follow a reasonable pattern of usage: Typical players rate a few reviews as helpful or unhelpful while deciding whether to make a purchase. However, we found a small set of users on the far extreme that are clearly trying to accomplish something quite different from normal players, and are rating more than 10,000 reviews as helpful or unhelpful on a single game. This behavior is not only humanly impossible, but definitely not a thoughtful indication of how ‘helpful’ each of those reviews were. These users also tend to rate up just the negative reviews while rating down the positive reviews (or vice-versa) in an attempt to distort which reviews are shown by default.”

By implementing these new features, Valve is hoping to get rid of those manipulating the system. While this likely won’t be the last stand against the Steam review bombing problem, it is another step forward in combating it. Keep it tuned to Don’t Feed the Gamers as this story develops, and for other gaming news, check out the following:

What say you, gamers? Do you find the practice of Steam review bombing to be petty and ridiculous, or does it have a place in the community? What would a developer have to do in order to get you consider taking action? Sound off in the comments section below, and be sure to follow DFTG on Twitter for live gaming and entertainment news 24/7!

Eric Garrett2269 Posts

Eric is an editor and writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he is not staring at a computer screen filled with text, he is usually staring at a computer screen filled with controllable animations. Today's youth call this gaming. He also likes to shoot things. With a camera, of course.


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