Valve has made some changes to the way game reviews work on Steam to prevent the trend of review bombing from affecting a game’s general image.
The company said in a blog post that Steam reviews, particularly the scores, are designed to give players a way of seeing if they’re going to like a particular game.
Over time, when players discovered they could post low review scores en masse whenever they didn’t like something the developer said or did, Valve realised that factors outside the game have begun affecting scores for Steam reviews. While Valve agrees that their opinions are valid, the company feels that posting negative reviews for reasons outside the games themselves doesn’t help other customers.
To combat this, Valve has introduced a new feature called histograms. This is now available on all game pages, and it shows a histogram of the positive to negative ratio of reviews over a game’s entire lifetime. Through it, you’ll be able to clearly see when a spike in negative or positive reviews happened by clicking on any part of the histogram.
You’re also able to read a sample of reviews from the period you choose, which should help potential customers identify whether a negative spike was due to a change in the game, or something outside of it.
“This approach has the advantage of never preventing anyone from submitting a review, but does require slightly more effort on the part of potential purchasers,” Valve wrote.
Valve said that it experimented with other solutions such as locking the ability to review certain games for a certain amount of time, or even changing how scores are calculated. Ultimately, the histograms feature won because it doesn’t take away from a user’s ability to give feedback about the game.