You'll now see all Steam reviews by default, but they still won't all count towards a game's rating | PCGamesN

You'll now see all Steam reviews by default, but they still won't all count towards a game's rating

Valve shuts down paid mods

Update September 21, 2016: Last week, Valve made a number of changes to Steam's review system overnight and without warning, in an attempt to stop developers buying good reviews. This was done by making only verified Steam purchases eligible to write reviews that count towards a game's score, locking out Humble and Kickstarter purchases, among others.

Developers who have a large Kickstarter following or earn most of their cash by distributing to their customers direct were understandably annoyed, saying their most passionate fans were being banned from contributing their opinion.

If you’re just looking for something to play, here’s our picks of good free Steam games.

Valve have now tweaked this system so that it shows all types of reviews on a game's page, though third-party buyers still won't count towards a game's overall score. 

"One frequent piece of feedback we’ve heard regarding the recent changes is that it has become more difficult to find and read the helpful, articulate reviews written by customers that obtained the game outside of Steam," said Valve. "We want to make sure that helpful reviews can be surfaced regardless of purchase source, so we're making a change to the defaults. 

"Starting today, the review section on each product page will show reviews written by all users, regardless of purchase type."

We spoke to a bunch of games developers and asked them how they feel about Valve's decision. Click that link for some interesting perspectives.

Original Story September 13, 2016: Steam reviews are changing, Valve have announced. From now on, if a key is activated on Steam rather than bought through their store, reviews made for that game won’t count towards its rating, up or down. This is in an attempt to fight fraud, but it seems to be punishing a few legitimate developers as well.

In their blog post on the matter, Valve break down what was happening previously. Some developers, with whom Valve will be cutting ties in the cases where they can prove it, were using their free access to Steam keys to massively upvote their game. This gave it the positive or better rating that many users see as an easy way to tell if a game is worth playing or not.

Either through paid services or doing it themselves, these devs were defrauding the service, and Valve want to put a stop to it. They’ve removed the ones they think are dodgy, and the new system has a filtering mechanism that automatically gets rid of key-redeemed versions.

So far, so consumer friendly, letting Steam users see reviews from people on that service - if you bought it elsewhere, you can probably review it elsewhere, but it’s not like Steam will block you from offering your opinion, it just own’t change the percentage.

Unfortunately, it falls down a bit when you consider the massive adoption of Kickstarter and other outside funding that often rewards Steam keys. These are your most passionate fanbases, and various developers have already cited it as a problem. They’re hoping that Steam change their mind. 

There’s a lenghty post on the issue from Valve, including the goals of the system and numbers on developers affected, plus what developers were doing that made them want to fix things.

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sh4rp3r avatarRampheus avatarDroniac avatarMrJinxed avatar
MrJinxed Avatar
1 Year ago

That's a terrible solution. I almost never buy games from steam directly anymore. It's always through sites like humblebundle, greenmangaming, bundlestars, or other such vendors. But now my thoughts on the game won't affect the developers anymore. No real reason to leave reviews anymore then.

sh4rp3r Avatar
1 Year ago

So if I get a game through HUmble Bundle my review is not a valid one?

That doesn't seem OK.

Rampheus Avatar
1 Year ago

When you buy a game thru most 3rd party sites, you get a substantial discount from the full retail price. Buying from bundle stores you usually end up paying as little as pennies on the dollar.

The issue with bundle purchases is that many people end up acquiring games that they normally would not buy independently due to genre and personal preference. Steam is attempting to weed out some of these jaded reviews along with the free key for positive review score scammers.

It will all balance out. Just breathe brah.

Droniac Avatar
1 Year ago

That is a one-sided picture unfortunately, because this does more than just chase away jaded reviews. Moreover, third-party keys can also come from sites like GamersGate or GreenManGaming, which don't feature those deep discounts.

Now let's say you back a game through crowdfunding or by purchasing it on the developer's website. The key you'll get will be 3rd-party and as a result your review won't be seen as legit by Steam. This despite the fact that you're probably more aware of the promised feature set and how the game delivers, moreover more likely to actually play the game and give it a chance, than any regular Steam buyer. As a result it also chases away fan reviews and reviews by people who are more invested in the game. This can significantly negatively impact smaller and crowdfunded games, particularly when they're newly released on Steam.

To be fair, those are - relatively speaking - exceptions. The vast bulk of the reviews impacted by this move are those based on bundle sale copies.