Valve in a new move has decided to crack down on developers who are willing to fool Steam’s Customer Review System by employing deceptive tactics to generate a positive review score. Steam’s recent update adds more sorting and filtering options for reviews that are displayed, and comes with highlights to helpful, relevant and recent reviews.
Customers look at the review scale of a game (that is calculated by Steam on percentage of positive reviews) before buying a game, and this has become a point of fixation for developers. The point of the review system is to get accurate feedback from players on any particular game, but Valve has found game developers inflating review ratings by distributing Steam keys, that are then used to generate positive reviews.
“The majority of review score manipulation we’re seeing by developers is through the process of giving out Steam keys to their game, which are then used to generate positive reviews. Some developers organise their own system using Steam keys on alternate accounts. Some organisations even offer paid services to write positive reviews,” the company said in a post.
As a result of such manipulations, Steam will no longer include ratings given by customers that have activated the game through a Steam product key. Gamers who buy the game through offline networks will still be able to write a review of the game on the website.
According to Valve, even while most games with positive scores get that rating through legitimate reviews, there are some that are abusing the system. “The abuse is clear and obvious, such as duplicated and/or generated reviews in large batches, or reviews from accounts linked to the developer,” said the post. The company has been banning false reviews, and claims to be ending business relationships with such developers.
The rating of a game is a key function in how well it will sell. Last month, Steam had to offer refunds to people who had ordered No Man’s Sky over the Steam network thanks to the hate the game got in the review section. The refunds were given regardless of the fact whether the game was played or not.