Opt-in review system in the works for Epic Games Store

Developers will be able to decide whether they want to allow consumers to leave reviews on their games

Epic Games is working on an optional review system for its new PC games store.

The revelation came via founder Tim Sweeney on Twitter, responding to complaints that the Epic Games Store is trying to "silence consumers" by not allowing them to offer any feedback on the marketplace or the games it sells.

When the Epic Games Store launched at the tail end of 2018, there was no way for users to interact with it beyond buying games. There is no system for reviews or ratings and no forums. This was a conscious choice to avoid the toxicity that has developed over the years on Steam, but it has still frustrated some of the store's customers.

"We're working on a review system for the Epic Games Store based on the existing one in the Unreal Engine marketplace," Sweeney tweeted. "It will be opt-in by developers. We think this is best because review bombing and other gaming-the-system is a real problem."

Review-bombing certainly seems to be the go-to tactic to express frustration on Steam -- just this week, 4A Games' Metro titles have received a wave of negative reviews off the back of the announcement that Exodus will be temporarily exclusive to the Epic Games Store (a move our Rob Fahey says is more than understandable).

In other discussions on Twitter, Sweeney assured that Epic is working to make the store operate offline and continued to defend the ethos behind the Epic Games Store from its critics.

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Latest comments (5)

Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia3 years ago
So any game where the publisher knows reviews will be mixed or negative will disable their review system. Anyone else would see no benefit in keeping good reviews a secret.
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TuxedoCruise Journalist & Developer, Self-Emplyed3 years ago
While I don't read Steam user reviews for an in-depth critique of a game. Steam user reviews are very helpful to see if a game has any technical issues with certain hardware, if a game has proper ultra-widescreen support, a 30 FPS cap, proper mouse/keyboard support, etc. usually within the first hour of a game's launch.

User reviews change over time, so it's also a good tool to gauge how a developer fixes any outstanding issues with their games down the road. This is especially helpful with early access games, as players give constant feedback on the current state of a game's development.

I can't get that type of insight from players when I go to the Hades early access page on the Epic Games Store.

Yes, games get review bombed. But that's pretty uncommon, and Steam's algorithm detects this and warns when there's been an unusually high volume of reviews. It gives the option to not take those reviews into account for the overall median.

You can view the Steam user reviews for Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light, or any game on Steam with all review bombing removed.

The benefits of user reviews outweigh the negatives. And Steam is actively trying to combat people who abuse it. It's not 100% successful, but it's good enough to be helpful overall.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
Just because customers are unable to easily voice an opinion, does not mean they do not have one they voice elsewhere, particularly word of mouth, the often quoted magic bullet of positive buzz works both ways.

Just because a point of sale does not expose user opinion, does not mean people only consumed marketing material before making their purchase. Even though some reviews may suggest the opposite, that is your true vocal minority right there.

Opt in is not a solution. Ask Amazon what sells better. Items with low reviews, or items with no reviews. More so in these days, when one game can severely impact the brand name of the publisher and by extension another game by the same publisher but a different developer. Look no further than the uphill battle EA enjoys right now with Anthem. Judging from some Youtube videos, they might start to wonder why they still bother with the Bioware name, or whether they should just remove their own EA branding Hollywood style.
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Alexander Sprague Freelance Writer/ Campaign Manager 3 years ago
@Hugo Trepanier: It is an anti-consumer practice. It will be a benefit for developers that know they are developing a bad product. I do not see any other way we could see this but a way to bring in shady developers.
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David Cornelius Software Engineer, Dire Wolf Digital, LLC3 years ago
@Alexander Sprague: If you feel strongly about it, you can choose not to buy games with reviews disabled. Boom, now it's pro-consumer!
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