Valve Will Address Steam Review Bombing With New Tool

Doris Richards
March 17, 2019

KitGuru Says: Depending on how the team conducts their investigation, there could be a major flaw in the new system - what's stopping players from disguising their review bomb to make it look relevant when it's brought about by something off-topic? At that point, Valve says a team of people will investigate those anomalies, and, if they determine that something fishy is afoot, they'll "mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer".

If, for some reason, you want review bombs included in overall review scores, that will be an option: In the "Store Content Preferences" of your account settings (not the Steam settings, in case your having trouble finding it-it's the drop-down menu near the top-right of the Steam page, under your username) you can opt to include or exclude off-topic review activity from review scores.

As outlined in a new blog post, Steam will soon be implementing a feature that checks for unusual review activity-such as sudden spikes in negative reviews-across all Steam games.

That definition of "off topic" is predictably as vague as it gets.

Valve is working to counter review bombing on Steam by removing what it considers off-topic reviews from the overall review score. Widespread complaints about DRM and EULA changes are considered off-topic under this rule.

The downside to this process is that every user review during an off-topic review bomb will be removed from a game's overall Steam score, even the good ones. The review graph will also indicate which segment of offending reviews has been removed from the score.


The "off-topic" criteria refers to reviews "where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game". Because review bombs tend to be "temporary distortions", all reviews will be caught in the net.

Valve understands that the on-going nature of games means that users need to be able to edit their reviews after they've been posted, so it wouldn't be effective to remove that ability. "The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation".

"We had long debates about these two, and others like them", reads the blog post. One such flaw is that any genuine reviews posted during what Valve deems to be a "review bomb" will be filtered out alongside the off-topic posts.

It also committed to ensuring that users can continue to use the review system as they see fit, including "to react to deception or discovering something they've been sold is sub-par".

Steam's review and rating system is a key part in many gamers' decision-making when they are on the hunt for a new title to play.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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