Late last week, Nintendo began allowing users to post reviews on the Switch’s eShop for certain games, with ratings and comments also appearing under each game’s listing on the Nintendo website. This morning, Nintendo suddenly pulled the feature, and it’s not clear why.
The new feature, which was originally brought to people’s attention last Friday by a Reddit user, let verified players leave one-to-five-star ratings for select games. In addition to the score and comments, these reviews also asked users to input specific tags to describe the game like “challenging” or “great characters.” Today these reviews are gone, replaced by a section called “Customer Review status” which states the following:
“Customer reviews have been taken offline as we evaluate this feature and its functionality. We currently have no estimated date on when an update will be provided. We appreciate the positive response and thank the reviewers who provided such thoughtful commentary on the games.”
It’s unclear what exactly was going wrong with the feature to make Nintendo want to pull it so quickly after pushing it live. For instance, a screenshot of user reviews for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild over at Shacknews shows what you’d expect: lots of five out of five scores and positive comments. Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request by Kotaku for clarification on why the feature was temporarily removed.
Other platforms like Xbox Live and Steam have been doing user reviews for some time. Although they can be very helpful for seeing how other players are responding to a new game, they can also be vulnerable to review bombing. People angry over specific issues, glitches, or even unrelated problems can swarm a game’s review page to kill its rating.
[Update - 3:35pm] Nintendo provided Kotaku with the following statement which calls the short-lived review sections a “trial”:
“Nintendo.com recently offered a trial customer review feature to let users share feedback about Nintendo Switch games on our website. The response has been positive, and Nintendo appreciates the time and effort that reviewers put into their thoughtful commentary on the games. Nintendo has removed this feature as we evaluate the future of the ratings functionality on Nintendo.com. We have no estimate on when an update will be provided on the status of this initiative, but we appreciate the enthusiasm shown for the trial.”