Valve has announced they’re changing up how Steam reviews work in a bid to help fight against users manipulating them with bots to positively or negatively affect their favorability.
The company noted that reviews currently allows “a small group to manipulate reviews to a degree that is clearly decreasing the value of Steam for many other players.”
The company is making two main changes to how this system works:
- 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.
To recap, they’re going to weigh reviews that are “far outside the norm” differently compared to reviews that are presumably from human accounts. This means bots spamming game pages with review votes will have their ratings equal less and less.
Furthermore, if a game is scored more favorably a higher percentage of favorable reviews will be sorted on top. Valve noted a game with an 80% rating will have eight of its top ten reviews will be favorable.
It’s worth mentioning the changes are currently in beta, with users able to toggle them on or off by scrolling down a game’s review section and toggling on the “review beta” option.