Valve Turns Game Recommendations Into Steam Reviews

Valve Turns Game Recommendations Into Steam Reviews

Steam Reviews Screenshot

Valve's Steam Reviews program is in open beta, letting players rate games alongside the traditional Metacritic ranking.

Over the past ten years, Valve has slowly been turning Steam into a one-stop digital gaming service. Not only does it provide access to a massive library of titles, it encompasses a Community Market, fan-written game guides, and can even manage MMO subscriptions for you. Now Valve is overhauling its game recommendations with Steam Reviews, a new service that lets the community provide public feedback to customers and developers alike.

It's important to note that Steam Reviews are different from the Metacritic listings provided on each game page. Steam Reviews don't even offer numerical scores, since such numbers fluctuate long after a game's release, although Valve could implement them in the future. Instead, this service expands on its previous game recommendation service. Reviews can be listed publicly on each game's store page, where the community rates their usefulness. The most recent helpful reviews are moved to the top of the list, giving customers get a community-led crash course on what they should expect from each game.

If that's all Steam Reviews were, they'd be no different than Amazon's customer reviews, but there are a few nice touches Valve is testing for its beta. For example, each review lists how much time the reviewer put into the game, reinforcing their positive or negative opinions. Steam Reviews can also be prioritized by language, in case English isn't your native tongue, or if you prefer Italian and Hungarian commentary. Most importantly, developers can read and directly comment on individual reviews, responding to concerns and noting any game updates where appropriate.

All previous recommendations have been converted to Steam Reviews, and can made visible to the public at any time. The service should see further changes as the beta continues, but I'm personally interested in how Valve will respond to abusive comments, whether from the community or developers themselves. Given that it didn't take long for Valve to take a stance on Steam Greenlight trolls, we should find out very soon.

Source: Steam Reviews

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Steam reviews need to stay scoreless, as there's already a god damned metacritic link on the store pages for MOST games.

EDIT: I figure it's worth noting that I made this statement as a means of saying Steam Reviews were the 'one' thing that still required people to actually put words to their thoughts about the games they played... And they don't need anything beyond the words, because ANY semblance of a rating/score/approval system can be abused WAY too god damned easily. Look at Amazon and the reviews for Battlefield 4. MOST of them are 'RARGH, THIS DIDN'T WORK ON DAY ONE THEREFORE IT'S A SHIT GAME FOREVER EVEN IF IT GETS PATCHED AND IT'S NOT LIKE EA IMPLEMENTED A REFUND SYSTEM SO I CAN GET MY MONEY BACK THEREFORE I WILL CONTINUE TO BE ANGRY!!'

It just gets EXTREMELY tiresome wading through the reviews that either are bursts of excitement about a game or unfiltered rage towards it, both rarely encompassing anything more than the illiterately written babbling of fucking morons, JUST to get to someone who ACTUALLY detailed their likes and dislikes with a game. I'm not asking for a college thesis here, just a few fucking sentences about what you did and didn't like about the game! And if you can't put your thoughts down in a review then why the fuck are you reviewing it in the first place?

Of course, this is where people claim the rating/approval/score system comes into place but like many others will probably say, if you can't back up your rating/approval/score with GOOD reasons, then shut the fuck up and don't bother.

tl;dr: I just get tired of seeing actual reviews with some real detailed explanations and effort put into them that DO help my decision on purchases getting pushed down to the bottom by people who think shitting out a sentence or two makes a 'review'.

I don't see it happen with like, other products, it's mostly rampant in video game reviews and it needs to fucking go away.

So now you won't even have to leave Steam to find idiotic reviews! Huzzah!

Anyway, yeah I don't see this making all that big a difference. At least not any sort of positive one. Might stop people from looking at a game if people do whatever the Steam version of Meta-bombing will be, for the mostly dumb reasons they do it nowadays.

Kyogissun:
Steam reviews need to stay scoreless, as there's already a god damned metacritic link on the store pages for MOST games.

One more score doesn't hurt. And honestlyit's good to hear what other people who bought it and perhaps even your friends have to say about it.

Kyogissun:
Steam reviews need to stay scoreless, as there's already a god damned metacritic link on the store pages for MOST games.

That's funny, the first thing I noticed when I saw the screenshot was that the reviewer can only give a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". I'd feel awful giving a game a thumbs down unless it was truely awful. That almost never happens since I read a few reviews before buying. I thought "Bioshock: Infinite" didn't live up to its potential and had way to much ludoscrabble disconuts, so 3/5 is about right to me. But "thumbs down"? No way! It was a pretty fun ride.

I'd like to at least have a 5-star system like on Amazon. I like being able to read a few reviews at different levels. Often the 5's are too praiseworthy, and the 1's can be ignored. Somewhere in the middle you get some good information.

Also, I just love giving things scores. I have a spreadsheet of all the games I play with very careful ratings, my iTunes library is rated and playlists are built on that. I've rated almost everything I've seen on Netflix.

Strangely though, I really don't care for ratings in official reviews, since I just like to read the review.

No, I like the thumbs up or thumbs down system. Did you have fun? Thumbs up! Was it an awful game that people shouldn't play? Give it a thumbs down.

Regardless, this is quite nice. More-so if your friends reviews come up for these games. If you've got a big list of friends, getting some insight into like-minded people's thoughts before you buy a game is a good idea!

Well that's cool I guess, Not sure about giving people the ability to score a game, but the a ability to write reviews is nice.

5 star system plz.

I mean, it'll still be a case of 90% of everyone giving it either 5-stars or 0-stars, but at least then we're trying to have some sort of legitimate scoring system.

I've been waiting for this change for a long time. "Friends only" reviews were rather pointless.

I'm always happy to see user reviews; more often than not, I base my purchases more on them than on critics. Metacritic sometimes has the tendency to get skewed by tripe like this, or by the typical high-scoring AAA titles that some people decry.

I'd much rather the system not have any stars or numerical scores. I think the thumbs up/down approach is all that's really necessary. There's really no way to abuse it, at least that I can think of.

it should be ok for the most part if it follows the system that gamersgate does. then again they check reviews before allowing them to be posted

Stay scoreless, scores are always subjective and you can always add them personally on your own reviews if you want people to see it that way.

But yeah I'm okay with this, I doubt anyone gives a shit what I thought about games but I suppose it could be fun if I have a truly mind-blowing experience and need to tell someone about it.

Decided to write a review instead of doing homework. Ended up with 1 151 words. Apparently that's 2 339 characters above the max limit of characters that they mention nowhere ever.

Just went through my list and gave a quick thought on the games I've completed. Happy with a simple thumb gesture. Not interested in giving metered reviews.

I always thought that the 5-star system would be more meaningfully replaced with a smiley face system.

Angry Face - For when you hate a game.
Sad Face - For when the game is a disappointment.
Neutral Face - For when the game is OK, but you aren't very excited.
Smiley Face - For when you think the game is good.
Grinning Face - For when you LOVE the game.

I think that people could recognize smiley faces better than stars. Is 3 stars average? I don't know, maybe 4 stars is average and 3 indicates disappointment. But a neutral-looking smiley face is absolutely "average".

Good idea on paper but you will probably have to slog through fanboys of the game saying how amazing it is and how you should buy 3 copies of it, or random trolls hating on the game for the stupidest reasons to even find one decent review, assuming that a decent review even exists, yeah valve not a bad idea but I just think that people will not really use it...

I know I probably won't since I trust Youtubers and Reviewers here on the Escapist way more then some random guy on steam...

NathLines:
Decided to write a review instead of doing homework. Ended up with 1 151 words. Apparently that's 2 339 characters above the max limit of characters that they mention nowhere ever.

Post it in Escapist User reviews, we're always looking for more reviewers.

OT: I like this change, as long as they're hidden by default.

I think the time spent on game increasing or decreasing the weight of a review will be very important...however, some silly troll could easily idle in a game (like they do for steam trading cards) in order to steamroll the process.

I like the thought, but i see some serious problems coming up with this new system, as well as a few small ones. For example, the flagging system can be abused. Developers can flag reviews as spam, which studios like Wild Game Studios could easily exploit if people post negative reviews. It doesn't stop people from opening the tab, but it might cause some people to dismiss the review on account of it being flagged. Also very little stops devs from buying a version of the game, afking for a few dozen hours, and writing a fake review that boils down to, "The game has a few flaws, but it was still a blast to play, and is something i would recommend if you like (insert trait here such as "unforgiving", "challenging", "rewards exploration", ect). As stated early in this thread, most people will ignore reviews that are too positive or too negative as spam, so they will probably aim for middle of the road.

I like what valve is trying to do, and i hope it can be implemented well, but i have little hope to spare for people these days.

Oh joy, Valve is copying one of the worst aspects of Metacritic, an easily abused User Review system. I really hope they take steps to ensure that people who don't actually own a game can't review it. If they add numerical scores of some sort to this, it's gonna devolve into the mess that Metacritics user reviews are.

This system is the least susceptible toro test review bombing. So I tentatively support it.

Well, this is still open to abuse, but as the article stated, we should see how steam will deal with it.

As others have pointed out, reviewing games can be quite subject, so I'm happy to see the numerical system gone. If you truly want to give it a score, put it at the top of the review. If I would give a review a score, I would use apples to reference pears in my own secret scoring method, that may or may not make sense.

BigTuk:
And honestlyit's good to hear what other people who bought it and perhaps even your friends have to say about it.

Particularly this. I don't much care what random people have to say about a game. But I do like to see the experiences of people I know and of whom I have a decent idea what they like and dislike, and how their preferences correspond to mine.

Then again, recommendations already exist anyway.

BigTuk:
And honestlyit's good to hear what other people who bought it and perhaps even your friends have to say about it.

I think this is the most important point. Far too many people love to just jump on bandwagons and hate on things, or more rarely the opposite, simply because everyone else is regardless of whether they've actually played it, and often before it's even been released. Knowing that reviews are from people who have at least played the game, and being able to see how much they've played it as well, means you can at least take them a bit more seriously.

Kahani:

BigTuk:
And honestlyit's good to hear what other people who bought it and perhaps even your friends have to say about it.

I think this is the most important point. Far too many people love to just jump on bandwagons and hate on things, or more rarely the opposite, simply because everyone else is regardless of whether they've actually played it, and often before it's even been released. Knowing that reviews are from people who have at least played the game, and being able to see how much they've played it as well, means you can at least take them a bit more seriously.

This was my thoughts on the review system as well, and is certainly the most positive point of the update. When I read a review, I can see how much time you have put (if any) into the game or if you are just jumping up and down like a rabid chimp because you don't like the developer, for example.

Phrozenflame500:
5 star system plz.

I mean, it'll still be a case of 90% of everyone giving it either 5-stars or 0-stars, but at least then we're trying to have some sort of legitimate scoring system.

Actually, I think YouTube ended their 5-star rating system for that very reason. Too few people would actually vote 2-4 stars to make it worth having them there, so they just boiled it down to "Did you like it? Yes/No".

Kyogissun:
Steam reviews need to stay scoreless, as there's already a god damned metacritic link on the store pages for MOST games.

EDIT: I figure it's worth noting that I made this statement as a means of saying Steam Reviews were the 'one' thing that still required people to actually put words to their thoughts about the games they played... And they don't need anything beyond the words, because ANY semblance of a rating/score/approval system can be abused WAY too god damned easily. Look at Amazon and the reviews for Battlefield 4. MOST of them are 'RARGH, THIS DIDN'T WORK ON DAY ONE THEREFORE IT'S A SHIT GAME FOREVER EVEN IF IT GETS PATCHED AND IT'S NOT LIKE EA IMPLEMENTED A REFUND SYSTEM SO I CAN GET MY MONEY BACK THEREFORE I WILL CONTINUE TO BE ANGRY!!'

It just gets EXTREMELY tiresome wading through the reviews that either are bursts of excitement about a game or unfiltered rage towards it, both rarely encompassing anything more than the illiterately written babbling of fucking morons, JUST to get to someone who ACTUALLY detailed their likes and dislikes with a game. I'm not asking for a college thesis here, just a few fucking sentences about what you did and didn't like about the game! And if you can't put your thoughts down in a review then why the fuck are you reviewing it in the first place?

Of course, this is where people claim the rating/approval/score system comes into place but like many others will probably say, if you can't back up your rating/approval/score with GOOD reasons, then shut the fuck up and don't bother.

tl;dr: I just get tired of seeing actual reviews with some real detailed explanations and effort put into them that DO help my decision on purchases getting pushed down to the bottom by people who think shitting out a sentence or two makes a 'review'.

I don't see it happen with like, other products, it's mostly rampant in video game reviews and it needs to fucking go away.

Yeah user reviews that are split like that are pretty dumb BUT this will finally (hopefully) put scores to games like Towns and War Z /infestation: Survivor Stories, those steam market pages will finally give some warning to some spur of the moment shoppers when those pieces of shit are on sale for 75% off...

Kyogissun:
Steam reviews need to stay scoreless, as there's already a god damned metacritic link on the store pages for MOST games.

EDIT: I figure it's worth noting that I made this statement as a means of saying Steam Reviews were the 'one' thing that still required people to actually put words to their thoughts about the games they played... And they don't need anything beyond the words, because ANY semblance of a rating/score/approval system can be abused WAY too god damned easily. Look at Amazon and the reviews for Battlefield 4. MOST of them are 'RARGH, THIS DIDN'T WORK ON DAY ONE THEREFORE IT'S A SHIT GAME FOREVER EVEN IF IT GETS PATCHED AND IT'S NOT LIKE EA IMPLEMENTED A REFUND SYSTEM SO I CAN GET MY MONEY BACK THEREFORE I WILL CONTINUE TO BE ANGRY!!'

It just gets EXTREMELY tiresome wading through the reviews that either are bursts of excitement about a game or unfiltered rage towards it, both rarely encompassing anything more than the illiterately written babbling of fucking morons, JUST to get to someone who ACTUALLY detailed their likes and dislikes with a game. I'm not asking for a college thesis here, just a few fucking sentences about what you did and didn't like about the game! And if you can't put your thoughts down in a review then why the fuck are you reviewing it in the first place?

Of course, this is where people claim the rating/approval/score system comes into place but like many others will probably say, if you can't back up your rating/approval/score with GOOD reasons, then shut the fuck up and don't bother.

tl;dr: I just get tired of seeing actual reviews with some real detailed explanations and effort put into them that DO help my decision on purchases getting pushed down to the bottom by people who think shitting out a sentence or two makes a 'review'.

I don't see it happen with like, other products, it's mostly rampant in video game reviews and it needs to fucking go away.

Yeah user reviews that are split like that are pretty dumb BUT this will finally (hopefully) put scores to games like Towns and War Z /infestation: Survivor Stories, those steam market pages will finally give some warning to some spur of the moment shoppers when those pieces of shit are on sale for 75% off...

Because we need more "10/10 cant wait to buy it" reviews....
Then again, if they only allow a person to write the review after he has actually played the game, and then shows how much he did, that could be an improvement. OF course some people will AFK and all, but still sort out at least some fake reviews.
I wouldnt give much hope to the upvoting system. where i saw it implemented in thigs like comments it was always somone saying something "Funny" (not actually funny) recieving +1000 likes, somone making a reasonable review - downvoted by people who disagree.

Fanghawk:
Valve Turns Game Recommendations Into Steam Reviews

each review lists how much time the reviewer put into the game, reinforcing their positive or negative opinions.

Annnnnd I am sold. So basically a way to see if somone played for 10 minutes and quit or if they have 8+ hours in the game. You play for 10 minutes I could give a shit less what your thought on the game are. You really play the game and invest some time in it then I might see some value in the game.

So, now that the novelty has wore off, what do you think? Do you find them useful? Are they gamed?
For what I've seen with the reviews I've written myself and the ones I've read, this man

Strazdas:

I wouldnt give much hope to the upvoting system. where i saw it implemented in thigs like comments it was always somone saying something "Funny" (not actually funny) recieving +1000 likes, somone making a reasonable review - downvoted by people who disagree.

was totally rigth, sadly. You write a negative review about a game generally acclaimed? Totally "not useful". You write two lines of "great game! buy it!" for a very popular game? 95% positive feedback, congrats, your useless review is now at the first place for everybody to see. Well maybe not totally. If nothing else, at least it shows the percentage of people who liked the game (except me. I'm downvoting all those even if I do agree with the "review").

Qvar:
(except me. I'm down-voting all those even if I do agree with the "review").

But then you become part of the problem, as you yourself are using the system in unintended ways and trying to game it. This will not solve the problem. People taking the system seriously and using it correctly would. I believe in leading by example and i try to be as fair as possible to these reviews. (and other downvoting systems, though on some sites as simple comments as "thanks" is supposedly acceptable. sigh. I actually got in trouble once for downvoting too many "thanks" and "Great" comments.)

Strazdas:

But then you become part of the problem, as you yourself are using the system in unintended ways and trying to game it. This will not solve the problem. People taking the system seriously and using it correctly would. I believe in leading by example and i try to be as fair as possible to these reviews. (and other downvoting systems, though on some sites as simple comments as "thanks" is supposedly acceptable. sigh. I actually got in trouble once for downvoting too many "thanks" and "Great" comments.)

Well, what would you consider a useful review? I consider useful one that explains the pros and cons of the game, what the game is actually about, and the genre and gameplay style of it. If it just contains "Yes totally worth it" don't consider it's of any usefulness for anybody trying to decide if they should buy it. Thus I downvote.

Qvar:

Strazdas:

But then you become part of the problem, as you yourself are using the system in unintended ways and trying to game it. This will not solve the problem. People taking the system seriously and using it correctly would. I believe in leading by example and i try to be as fair as possible to these reviews. (and other downvoting systems, though on some sites as simple comments as "thanks" is supposedly acceptable. sigh. I actually got in trouble once for downvoting too many "thanks" and "Great" comments.)

Well, what would you consider a useful review? I consider useful one that explains the pros and cons of the game, what the game is actually about, and the genre and gameplay style of it. If it just contains "Yes totally worth it" don't consider it's of any usefulness for anybody trying to decide if they should buy it. Thus I downvote.

I have misunderstood you then. I thought you said your downwoting all reviews just for the sake of it instead of based on their value. comments that are "Yes totally worth it" i dont even consider "Reviews". We are in agreement here it seems :)

 

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