Steam might be the biggest platform for PC games but it also is one of the most feature-rich. One of its biggest draws are its user reviews. Would be purchasers can delve through a slew of user experiences before deciding if a game is worth their time and energy.
It’s something developers have realised. To the point where some of them, according to Valve are boosting review scores through means that aren’t exactly ethical. These include generating Steam keys - a function developers can avail of and using alternative accounts or paid services to post positive reviews. In order to curb this, the company will not include reviews of games originating from Steam key redemptions.
(Also see: Top 5 Alternatives to Valve's Steam)
“As a result of this, we are making some changes to how review scores are calculated. As of today, the recent and overall review scores we show at the top of a product page will no longer include reviews written by customers that activated the game through a Steam product key,” a post on Valve’s website says.
The immediate ramifications to this will result in at least 160 games having their review score impacted to fall in line with legitimate purchases. Some developers though, are not happy. They claim this would adversely affect their livelihood.
(Also see: A Newbie's Guide to Buying Digital Games on PC)
“That's me probably going out of business then. My crowdfunders and direct sales were how I hoped to improve my score,” tweeted Simon Roth of Machine Studios before adding, “And once you get below "Positive" sales die pretty fast. So you can't get new reviews to get a better score.”
For Valve’s part, it will be keep a close look on the reaction to this from the community.
"We are hearing lots of positive response to this update, and some criticisms. Like all updates we issue to our games and services, we will be monitoring the community reaction and incorporating that feedback into the next set of changes we make to improve the service for everyone,” said Valve’s VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi.
Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.