Valve Battles Steam Review Manipulation with New Measures


The war with review manipulation continues at Steam today. Valve recently announced a series of changes to the way that Steam users digest a game’s reviews by using simple longitudinal graphs of user scores. However, it appears that this was not enough and the battle continues.

In a new blog post today, Steam users are being informed of a pair of new changes coming to how “helpful” reviews will be displayed on a game page. It appears that a “small set of users on the far extreme” are upvoting reviews that fit their agenda. What this does is push reviews fitting the group’s notion of the game to the top. As a result, users are seeing an overabundance of negative or positive reviews for a game in the default settings.

To combat this, a pair of new initiatives are being applied to Steam reviews:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

This isn’t the end of the story, either. Valve has plans to implement further adjustments to the review system to make it as fair as possible.

Read the full post on the Steam blog.


Written by
Suzie is an avid gamer and has been since 1995. She lives in the desert with her own personal minion while dreaming of pixel worlds beyond Earth.

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