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matrix07012

Steam isn't going to count reviews from review-bomb periods

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Steam isn't going to count reviews from review-bomb periods

 

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That change can be described easily: we're going to identify off-topic review bombs, and remove them from the Review Score.

 

But while easy to say, it raises a bunch of questions, so let's dig into the details. First, what do we mean by an off-topic review bomb? As we defined back in our original post, a review bomb is where players post a large number of reviews in a short period of time, aimed at lowering the Review Score of a game. We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score.

 

Obviously, there's a grey area here, because there's a wide range of things that players care about. So how will we identify these off-topic review bombs? The first step is a tool we've built that identifies any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible. It doesn't know why a given game is receiving anomalous review activity, and it doesn't even try to figure that out. Instead, it notifies a team of people at Valve, who'll then go and investigate. We've already run our tool across the entire history of reviews on Steam, identifying many reasons why games have seen periods of anomalous review activity, and off-topic review bombs appear to only be a small number of them.

 

Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods.

 

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Finally, we've also enabled you to opt out of this entirely, if that's your preference - there's now a checkbox in your Steam Store options where you can choose to have off-topic review bombs still included in all the Review Scores you see.

 

I'm torn on this. Stuff like DRMs, spyware, removing mod support are part of the game, but they don't affect the gameplay experience and shitty practices of the devs or people being offended don't answer the question "Is the game good?". However they have to include every review in that period since it's impossible to read every review. At least you can out-out and the reviews don't get removed.

 

Sauce: https://steamcommunity.com/games/593110/announcements/detail/1808664240333155775 / https://archive.fo/Sy7PG


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I was a bit torn until I saw the UI change. It makes it very clear what is going on so I’m fine with this change. If I see something like this on a game that I’m thinking of buying I’m going to investigate.


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Kind of confused on this. Maybe I am reading it wrong but it sounds like shit games will benefit a lot from this.

 

So Steam is dictating what my review can say? That is kind of BS, if a game sucks it sucks and especially since Valve benefits from sales. Of course they want 100% positive reviews so others buy the game.

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7 minutes ago, SocomSuade said:

Kind of confused on this. Maybe I am reading it wrong but it sounds like shit games will benefit a lot from this.

 

So Steam is dictating what my review can say? That is kind of BS, if a game sucks it sucks and especially since Valve benefits from sales. Of course they want 100% positive reviews so others buy the game.

It's more for the cases like when Metro Exodus abandoned steam to release on the Epic store first, and when it was destroyed by reviews on Steam complaining about that business decision- not the actual product.


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That's wrong. A review bomb only means that lots of people are submitting their single personal review at that time, and that their review is negative.

 

If a review bomb happens, it's probably because a lot of individual people are legitimately upset about something.

 

If a game has an issue that affects people, and you make a negative review because of it, should your review not count because many other people encountering the same issue also gave their negative review at the same time? Of course not.

 

Censoring negative reviews because they happen during "review bombs" is fraud, IMO.

 

 

DiRT Rally 2.0 is a case where people have been negative reviewing the game for legitimate reasons, but the negative reviews haven't been showing up in the All Reviews figure at the top of the page. I was wondering why.

 

The negative reviews for DiRT Rally 2.0 have not been a review bomb, they are not band-wagoning on each other, but are each explained by the reviewer. The lack of force feedback support, the awful always-online DRM, and the bugs are the primary points of criticism.

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1 minute ago, Delicieuxz said:

That's wrong. A review bomb only means that lots of people are submitting their single personal review at that time, and that their review is negative.

 

If a review bomb happens, it's probably because a lot of individual people are legitimately upset about something.

 

If a game has an issue that affects people, and you make a negative review because of it, should your review not count because many other people encountering the same issue also gave their negative review at the same time? Of course not.

 

Censoring negative reviews because they happen during "review bombs" is fraud, IMO.

From the article:
 

Quote

Finally, we've also enabled you to opt out of this entirely, if that's your preference - there's now a checkbox in your Steam Store options where you can choose to have off-topic review bombs still included in all the Review Scores you see.

 

 

Additionally, they aren't censoring them, they are just not counting them in the review score. The reviews exist and can be viewed just like anything else.


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4 minutes ago, Delicieuxz said:

-snip-

I think the biggest thing overlooked, (I missed it myself at first) and will probably be overlooked by a lot of people, is that the whole process is subject to manual review and only things like "screw you for not giving me my puppy!" even though it's a kitten game type of review bombs will be excluded. If they stick to their word on that, then a bunch of negative "game made my computer explode" reviews will be kept and calculated :)


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6 minutes ago, Slottr said:

It's more for the cases like when Metro Exodus abandoned steam to release on the Epic store first, and when it was destroyed by reviews on Steam complaining about that business decision- not the actual product.

That is still a valid review. When I review a game I also look at the company. There are a lot of shady indie devs out there. Or in your case, a developer who will abandon a project. I completely disagree with Valve on this. DRM is also part of the experience. People can review a product how they want. TBH idk if it is possible but I hope a class action suit comes out of this.

 

They are essentially dictating what I can say on my review that I paid money for. There is also a major conflict of interest since Valve makes money from each sale on their store. Seems like a very bad move to me.

 

People can have whatever reason they want to dislike a product if I buy a game and do not like it because I spilled my drink on my KB when loading it that is my personal experience.

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We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score.

 

honestly, if implemented right, i REALLY like this change.   sucks seeing 5000 reviews with nothing more than "this game sucks" or "fuck this company".  

as long as they allow legitimate reviews during the same period, this is a very good thing.

 

and like @Luricksaid,  you can opt-out


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4 minutes ago, Lurick said:

From the article:
 

 

Additionally, they aren't censoring them, they are just not counting them in the review score. The reviews exist and can be viewed just like anything else.

Thanks. I've set my Steam settings to include all reviews now.

 

Their wording of the setting in the preferences, calling negative reviews "off-topic" is disingenuous. And putting the settings change behind an additional click makes it seem like Valve doesn't want people changing the setting.

 

1 minute ago, Lurick said:

I think the biggest thing overlooked, (I missed it myself at first) and will probably be overlooked by a lot of people, is that the whole process is subject to manual review and only things like "screw you for not giving me my puppy!" even though it's a kitten game type of review bombs will be excluded. If they stick to their word on that, then a bunch of negative "game made my computer explode" reviews will be kept and calculated :)

Well, they've already failed then, because they've applied this to DiRT Rally 2.0's negative reviews, and those reviews aren't off-topic but are on-point.

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You can opt out sure. But they are not counting reviews which they determine to not be valid reviews which is technically a form of fraud as stated.

 

You may have also missed the Q&A where a random user asks if their review is posted at the same time as a "review bomb" and happens to be negative (and on topic/legit) will theirs count? And the answer is no it will not.

 

I can somewhat see kind of where they are coming from to protect developers but at the end of the day the Devs did something wrong and IMO this is nothing more than a shady way for them to manipulate the system for their own personal gain.

 

Edit: Saw a valid comment on steam:

What about the POSITIVE reviews that say nothing more than "nice" or "this game cured my cancer"? Will those be removed from the overall as well?

 

This shouldn't bother me as much as it does but I do consider this fraud and as gamers/consumers we are already allowing them all to give us the shaft with their barely playable games being released unfinished with tons of issues and with "future DLC"/battle passes.

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4 minutes ago, GoodBytes said:

More wins for Epic Games Store

the one where devs can just disable reviews and comments entirely and there is no place to actually talk about the game at all?   no thanks


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8 minutes ago, GoodBytes said:

More wins for Epic Games Store

I don't think so - not with Epic having no review system and planning to make the one they will have opt-in for publishers. And Epic is in a new controversy today over the Epic client spying / scraping data from Steam installations on a PC without asking permission and without notification.

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Censoring the raw public opinion is so weird. They did this with Netflix reviews, they do this all the time with Rotten Tomatoes. I was hoping Valve was a little more immune to it but clearly not. All they want to do is suppress the raw public opinion, and keep the 'official' opinions on top of everyone else's. Probably should have seen this coming after they hid the number of people who said a review wasn't helpful, and disabled commenting on reviews by default.

 

If something so drastic happens that people have to do the media-invented-term of "review bomb", then whatever happened is something worth talking about. They just want to make it harder for people to talk about

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40 minutes ago, Delicieuxz said:

If a review bomb happens, it's probably because a lot of individual people are legitimately upset about something. 

Review bombing rarely has anything to do with the product. It's often about the politics of someone involved in making it.


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5 minutes ago, JoostinOnline said:

Review bombing rarely has anything to do with the product. It's often about the politics of someone involved in making it.

That's not what I've seen. In the odd case like Firestorm, yes. But, the term "review bomb" is applied anywhere that a game is being heavily negatively-reviewed, for whatever reason, and mass negative reviews often happen due to legitimate issues.

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One more post and I will stop but this long drawn out story is relevant. This is the company and game I thought of immediately when I saw this. I will try to say as brief as possible.

 

I participated in a Kickstarter promising and literally guaranteeing certain things to happen (there is video evidence of the guarantees). The game was supposed to be a next gen Socom 2 developed on PC and ported to PS4.

 

NOW I know Kickstarter is not a guarantee, even if the Devs say that it is (lie) in order to sell a dream but back then I was not so aware.

 

The KS was a success and when they got the check everything changed, The CEO started firing people, not paying people/having them quit and then the face of the entire project (A former Zipper Interactive Employee aka The Creative Director of Socom 2) left the studio.

 

The problem is that they hid this information because they knew what would have happened. Some fans literally pieced the puzzle together themselves, started asking questions and forced the studio to release a statement confirming everything on their forums.

 

That is when the "review bombs" happened. Rightfully so, we now were left with absolutely nothing. A broken shell of a game on steam EA without a single employee to finish the game. We got scammed big time. The game was horrible and a complete bust with no refunds from an LLC.

 

There were some community members who volunteered to finish the job and they are still working on that however the game is a mess and TBH I am pretty sure it will never hit console where the dream was sold (most socom fans who donated are on console). They even released a statement recently that was carefully worded but essentially read we have no idea what we got ourselves into and don't know how to port a game. But I will give credit that the game while still unacceptable is better than it was before.

 

This KS was 4 and a half years ago BTW so now a game with mostly negative reviews for a very good reason will turn into mostly positive? Since the game is so small, barely has any reviews at all and most of them were "bombed" these guys get a free pass for a mostly positive game that is actually dog shit?

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8 minutes ago, Delicieuxz said:

That's not what I've seen. In the odd case like Firestorm, yes. But, the term "review bomb" is applied anywhere that a game is being heavily negatively-reviewed, for whatever reason, and mass negative reviews often happen due to legitimate issues.

That's just negative reviews. Review bombing is targeted and organized. It's why Rotten Tomatoes just disabled pre-release reviews.

 

Please shows me an instance of "review bomb" being used where it was legitimate criticism.


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5 minutes ago, JoostinOnline said:

That's just negative reviews. Review bombing is targeted and organized. It's why Rotten Tomatoes just disabled pre-release reviews.

 

Please shows me an instance of "review bomb" being used where it was legitimate criticism.

I've mentioned a recent one twice in this thread: That regarding DiRT Rally 2.0.

 

People have been calling it review-bombing when it is just a bunch of individual's self-explained negative reviews focused on actual issues of the game.

 

And Steam has applied the "off-topic" filtering of DiRT Rally 2.0 reviews despite them not actually being off-topic.

 

The Steam filtering has locked the DR 2.0 average reviews rating at 64%, when it should be at 61%.

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7 minutes ago, Delicieuxz said:

I've mentioned a recent one twice in this thread: That regarding DiRT Rally 2.0.

 

People have been calling it review-bombing when it is just a bunch of individual's self-explained negative reviews focused on actual issues of the game.

 

And Steam has applied the "off-topic" filtering of DiRT Rally 2.0 reviews despite them not actually being off-topic.

 

The Steam filtering has locked the DR 2.0 average reviews rating at 64%, when it should be at 61%.

A bunch of people posting "this game sucks"  isn't even really a review, and it isn't helpful to anyone that wants to go through some decently written review on what is actually good or bad about the game.

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9 minutes ago, Blademaster91 said:

A bunch of people posting "this game sucks"  isn't even really a review, and it isn't helpful to anyone that wants to go through some decently written review on what is actually good or bad about the game.

 

The negative reviews for DiRT Rally 2.0 are well explained, and not "this game sucks".

DiRT Rally 2.0.PNG

 

1590836350_DiRTRally2_02.thumb.PNG.389c6a71661df131b082aac4d8e22fe6.PNG

 

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19 minutes ago, Delicieuxz said:

I've mentioned a recent one twice in this thread: That regarding DiRT Rally 2.0.

 

People have been calling it review-bombing when it is just a bunch of individual's self-explained negative reviews focused on actual issues of the game.

 

And Steam has applied the "off-topic" filtering of DiRT Rally 2.0 reviews despite them not actually being off-topic.

 

The Steam filtering has locked the DR 2.0 average reviews rating at 64%, when it should be at 61%.

I'm asking for an article, not just random people misusing the term.


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10 minutes ago, JoostinOnline said:

I'm asking for an article, not just random people misusing the term.

They're also not understanding the feature either.


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