Valve Makes Steam Reviews More Useful

Illustration for article titled Valve Makes Steam Reviews More Useful
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Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Steam reviews exert powerful sway over people’s purchasing decisions. For a while, though, they weren’t actually all that indicative of people’s feelings toward certain games.

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We live in a time of constant updates. Whether a game’s in Early Access, receiving regular post-launch updates, or the creator of Stardew Valley is tweaking it until the sun implodes, leaving one lonely farm teetering precariously on a dirt clod in the stars, it’s just a reality of the way games are made now. Steam reviews, however, used to lump everything together. Yes, individual reviews displayed when they were written, but they were weighed equally in the game’s overall positivity percentage, the deciding factor in a coveted thumbs-up on the store page. Moreover, users had to sort out for themselves which reviews were recent and which were written by their mothers, fathers, and grandparents so many moons ago. Some were, invariably, outdated.

Today’s Steam update aims to fix all of that. For one, there are now two review percentages: one that reflects overall sentiment, and another dedicated to recent reviews. Recent reviews have also been given more visibility in games’ review sections, with a new “summary” tab offering a rundown of both the most helpful reviews of the past 30 days and a handful of the most recent reviews period. It looks like this:

Illustration for article titled Valve Makes Steam Reviews More Useful
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It is, to be frank, a pretty cluttered and slightly confusing display, but it’s a more accurate snapshot (in most cases) than what came before.

Also nice: you can now look at reviews of all languages, even if they’re not your own. I’m about as close to bilingual as the world is to uniting and solving global warming, but hypothetically if I were, I sure would be like “oh neat” right now.

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Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

Can devs still delete reviews they don’t like? That’s been a problem for some of the games that are outright scams in the past. And, frankly, it doesn’t make sense to let them have control over that sort of thing anyway.