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Valve launches Steam Reviews beta

Valve launches Steam Reviews beta

Tue 26 Nov 2013 8:23am GMT / 3:23am EST / 12:23am PST
Retail

"Steam users have written over 7 million Recommendations of games"

Steam Reviews are now in beta, offering users of Valve's online distribution platform a better way to share their opinions with the rest of the community.

"Steam Reviews is an evolution of the Recommendation system that has been a part of Steam since 2010," said the company in a statement.

"Over the past few years, Steam users have written over 7 million Recommendations of games and software to their friends. Those Recommendations have been upgraded to Steam Reviews."

Reviews are rated for helpfulness by other users, and only those who have bought or launched a piece of software can pass judgement on it. In an FAQ Valve also revealed plans to add an overall score or rating for games at a later date.

"Many products on Steam change significantly over time as the game or software is updated and new content is added. In order to form a score that accurately reflects the current state of a product, we first need to gather and evaluate the data from reviews."

Developers won't be able to delete negative reviews, but they can respond to them and their contributions will be highlighted.

11 Comments

Tim Carter
Designer - Writer - Producer

563 311 0.6
Scientism.

Posted:10 months ago

#1

Ruben Monteiro
Engineer

77 190 2.5
Reviews. The meaningless indicator of a game's quality based on personal opinion/taste, but still immensely popular amongst the herd behavior that infers that if the other sheep like this game, this sheep will surely like it too.

Posted:10 months ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll
Blogger & Critic

1,536 1,339 0.9
Or, alternatively...

Reviews. The meaningful indicator that tells you "No, don't buy Ashes 2013 or WarZ, they're not in a playable state, and are, literally, a waste of money. Also, whoaaaa... Watch out for the bugs in Skyrim and BG2:EE - if you're unlucky, they'll break your save games, and you'll lose a lot of progress."

:D

Posted:10 months ago

#3

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
Huh... so the restriction that you've bought or activated it is a bit rubbish. Some games I liked to play on console - doesn't mean that the review doesn't apply to the PC version as well - it's not like "proper" reviewers play through all the versions of a game, right?

Posted:10 months ago

#4

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

335 283 0.8
@James
I'd prefer that restriction to having to put up with "I heard this game features microtransactions - 1 star", "EA ruined my favourite childhood series with this title - 1 star", "CoD sucks, you should buy battlefield instead - 1 star". You should hopefully at least get a lot less spam and protest reviews if people have to actually buy the game.

I was actually really annoyed that I held off getting Dead Space 3 because of the wave of people screaming about micro transactions. I should have actually listened to someone that had played the game so then I would have realised that actually they didn't impact the experience at all.

Posted:10 months ago

#5

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
@ Thomas - Or they could just implement a rating system for reviews so that if you get a certain number of "unhelpful" ratings, that review will disappear?

Or Valve could curate the system... instead of just putting stuff out there and leaving it for the wolves (like they tend to do! ;) ).

Posted:10 months ago

#6

Ruben Monteiro
Engineer

77 190 2.5
@Morville
In a perfect world, all reviews would be as helpful as you mentioned.

@James
But a rating is a form of review. So who will review the reviewers who reviewed the reviews? ;)

Posted:10 months ago

#7

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
@Ruben:

Why, we can have reviewers who review the reviewers who rate the reviews! Genius idea! I propose the NSA: they're good at data collection and analysis! In fact, let's make them the new Metacritic! :D

Posted:10 months ago

#8

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

335 283 0.8
@James
I'd agree if I didn't think people would all band together in their hatred at times. If there's a small feature blown out of proportion across the internet you can bet users would come in significant numbers and upvote similar useless comments. If you ever go to a YouTube video about Call of Duty or some other divisive game you'll see what I mean. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't apply to the majority of games on Steam though, so maybe it wouldn't be all bad, but I think it'd happen more often than cases where someone had played the game on another platform and wanted to review it on Steam.

Posted:10 months ago

#9

Adam Jordan
Community Management/Moderation

113 65 0.6
@James:
Using ratings to determine whether to show or hide something is pointless a) purely because those that hold a grudge or strongly disagree with someone's opinion that differs from their own will use the system to abuse it and b) Most people don't bother rating something that they can simply scroll past or ignore.

Valve could indeed curate the system but I would assume that they probably wouldn't want to employ someone or a team just to handle that (As in they would probably place the man power in other places) and the fact, why would they do that when the community can and should police themselves? Not to mention the restriction is the easiest way and possibly smartest way in the most recent years of avoiding little runts from spamming pointless things. After all, I doubt we are going to see people buying games on Steam just to berate or try to force people away from buying it...if they do then I will seriously lose faith in this generation of humanity

Sure it sucks for those on console they own the same game but not on Steam but then again in a cold about way, maybe the console makers should create something similar for their communities to do the same thing (Granted there are a few loopholes such as trading, preowned and friends sharing games but nothing stops Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo from creating a general area for players to review and discuss the games played on their consoles)

This is the era of social interaction but this era also needs ground rules, otherwise there are those that will run amok. The Internet already gets a bad reputation as a foul mouthed play centre that doesn't respect things or people and if a simple restriction as "You must own or activate a game in order to publish a review about it" is the first step, then I am in to try and make this social era flourish

P.s I am also glad that the rule of "Developers can't delete negative reviews but can respond to them" has been made. It's never nice to see or hear someone beat the crap out of something you have helped create or something you like but if the negativity is given correctly and decently then it can in fact help...I have always believed that ranting and raving or insulting/harassing will never help or get your situation noticed, instead it will get it ignored but a well written piece of negative feedback can get you and the issue spotted and investigated or even fixed a lot sooner

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Jordan on 1st December 2013 4:15am

Posted:9 months ago

#10

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
@ Adam - I can see your point and agree with most of what you're saying, however, looking at comment reviews on various websites (Ars Technica, Kotaku, Joystiq etc) would put your point b) to rest. If anything, the page or two of comments are vigorously voted on, falling off the further along the comments are (i.e. page 4 gets hardly any reviews).

Make it so that new reviews pop up first (unless you pick to select only positive, neutral or negative reviews for that title) and they'll get a decent amount of voting. Sure, the system can be abused - but so can (/has) any system. Abuses in a closed system like Steam would probably be relatively easy to take notice of and track. Valve would be able to see who makes lots of negative/positive reviews or which reviews were voted on above a certain threshold figure (or which reviews received undue voting amounts within a set period (say 24-48 hrs) and then flag those rules as for review by a real person.

[edit]
Even the "own or activate" a game rule can be abused by loaning your steam games to other people. They can play a copy and not even get to play it properly and then put in their rote review. It's not complicated and it doesn't really prevent what you're worried about in the other situation.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 2nd December 2013 12:34pm

Posted:9 months ago

#11

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