Valve has revealed that it’s going to reassess user reviews on its digital game market, Steam, in order to ensure developers products are not being review bombed. In a post on the Steam blog, Valve stated that it will now “identify off-topic review bombs, and remove them from the Review Score.”
“We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score,” Valve continued. The company admits there’s still a bit of a grey area with this definition, so it’s developed a tool that “identifies any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible.”
After the new tool finds reviews that pose a problem, it will alert Valve who then will launch their own investigation into the matter. If Valve then finds the user reviews are malicious and not real, the developer of the title will be notified that every review within the time period of the review bomb will be removed from the game’s overall score on Steam. After all of this, the developer will have to go through the reviews and decide which ones will be deleted.
Unfortunately, the new tool is unable to make the distinction between a good and bad review so even the real ones will be deleted in this new process. “But as we mentioned back in our first User Review post, our data shows us that review bombs tend to be temporary distortions, so we believe the Review Score will still be accurate, and other players will still be able to find and read your review within the period,” Valve wrote on the blog. Negative comments that pertain to DRM or EULA changes will be considered off-topic review bombings.
If developers don’t want their game included in the new algorithm, they are able to opt out of the process when putting their game on the Steam Store. The company is also working on a number of new updates for User Reviews but those won’t be revealed until a later date.
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