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Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:26pm 20/09/17 | 1 Comments
After the recent controversy with YouTuber PewDiePie and the makers of indie hit Firewatch taking actions against his use of their game, the Steam reviews for Firewatch saw a huge uptick in negative responses. A practice known as 'review bombing' where the only explanation is a targeted campaign to adversely affect a game's review presence on Steam.

A problem that Valve are well aware of, and are now addressing as highlighted in this new post.

In the end, we decided not to change the ways that players can review games, and instead focused on how potential purchasers can explore the review data. 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.

It also has the benefit of allowing you to see how a game's reviews have evolved over time, which is great for games that are operating as services. One subtlety that's not obvious at first is that most games slowly trend downwards over time, even if they haven't changed in any way. We think this makes sense when you realize that, generally speaking, earlier purchasers of a game are more likely to enjoy it than later purchasers. In the pool of players who are interested in a game, the ones who are more confident that they'll like the game will buy it first, so as time goes on the potential purchasers left are less and less certain that they'll like the game. So if you see a game's reviews trending up over time, it may be an even more powerful statement about the quality of work its developers are doing.


It's a rather lengthy post so be sure to check it out, but the idea seems to be not to invalidate User Reviews or individually address review bombing. Instead, simply add tools for Steam users to quickly see review trends that will highlight radical shifts like we saw with Firewatch.



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Latest Comments
Hotcakes
Posted 09:53am 21/9/17
I think this is probably the smartest way Steam could have handled this, surprisingly.
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