Valve makes further changes to Steam reviews

Valve makes further changes to Steam reviews

Further changes are coming to Steam game reviews.

In a post on the Steam blog, the team said that it was making alterations to the way the helpfulness of each review is calculated.

Moving forwards, the storefront will be changing how it counts helpful ratings on reviews depending on how close they are outside of the norm. Meanwhile, the helpful positive and negative reviews will be displayed in proportion to the rating the game has from the community; if a project has an 80 per cent rating, that will mean eight positive reviews and two negative ones.

"Up to this point, we've tried to maintain just showing the simple math behind how we calculate whether a review is helpful or not - the percentage and number of people who indicated a review as helpful," the team wrote.

"We like systems that are transparent and easy to understand, as they are also easier to believe and trust. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a system that allows a small group to manipulate reviews to a degree that is clearly decreasing the value of Steam for many other players. So we're making two main changes.

"Firstly, our system will use a new method of calculating the helpfulness of each review, taking into account the users that are trying to manipulate the system. One way we're doing that is 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.

"Secondly, store pages will now show the default helpful positive and negative reviews in a similar proportion to that of the overall review score for the game. For example, if the game is reviewed positively by 80% of reviewers, then the ten reviews shown by default on the store page will be 80% positive, showing eight positive and two negative. 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.

"We're rolling out both of these changes as a beta today. You can turn the new method on and off to see how it impacts the default display of reviews on any given store page. Note that these changes only impact the default listing of reviews (Called "Summary") and the "Most Helpful" display option."

This is the second change that firm has made to its reviews system this year. In September, in an effort to combat review bombing - when massive groups of consumers vent their frustration at a game or developer but giving the title low reviews - by adding graphs showing a project's review score over time.

Valve has also made changes to its Curators system, too.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.