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Steam Continues to Fight Against Review Bombing

We all know how big of a deal review bombing has become. Don’t like what a developer or publisher is doing? Review bomb it. Don’t agree with a certain feature in a game? Review bomb it. The fight against review bombing for Steam and Valve has been quite lengthy and sometimes even a bit entertaining. Now, Valve has shared some additional thoughts on review bombing and have announced that “off-topic review bombs” will no longer count towards a game’s score.

Related: Review Bombing: A Valiant Undertaking or Drenched in Entitlement

Early last month I spoke in length about review bombing and you can check out that opinion in the link above. There are definitely two sides to every argument here. What Valve is doing in their fight against review bombing is making those off-topic reviews not count towards a game’s overall review score on Steam. Valve will be removing off-topic reviews from the game’s score, all while trying to keep every valid review from getting removed accidentally.

This should help gamers who don’t care about anything but the quality of the actual game decide if it is worth their money. Keep in mind that those off-topic reviews won’t be removed from the game’s page. Valve isn’t censoring you if you decide to partake in review bombing. Instead, you will be able to view those off-topic reviews but the reviews just won’t factor into the overall score. In a recent blog post, Valve explained their next step in the fight against review bombing:

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.

If you prefer to eat some popcorn and read all the reviews, even those that are clearly marked as review bombing, you can still do so. Heck,  you can even see how review bombing is affecting a game’s score by changing a setting. In Steam, you can head to “Preferences” and under the “Review Score Settings” you can tick a box to include all reviews for Steam purchases in review scores.

Related: Rotten Tomatoes Changes Audience Rating System to Cut Down Review Bombing

What do you think about Valve’s latest move against review bombing and do you agree with this approach? Let us know in the comment section below.

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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