The Steam community is one of the more expansive gaming networks around, with ongoing discussion on a vast range of gaming topics. With the introduction of a review system for titles on the Steam storefront a few years ago, it became possible for viewers to ascertain the quality of a game at a glance, or seek out more detailed criticism as necessary. However, in conjunction with the Early Access system, the dynamic nature of the gaming industry, and the ever-present issue of trolling, this review system saw a downturn, and is now generally regarded as dubious at best.
In response to this, Valve has announced a revision to the review system. With the most prominent issue being how greatly reception can differ over time, there is now an option to view recently-posted reviews. The ‘overall reviews’ score has also been adjusted, with an option given to track reviews over the past 30 days, rather than as a total accumulation. Both of these changes will make it easier to grasp the current state of a game, as the quality of a product can fluctuate quite significantly over time. This is particularly evident in Early Access games, which often see significant departures from their early builds, but struggle to shake the negative reception they develop early. Similarly, a good game that develops major issues following a content patch or update will be more recognizable based on recent feedback.
For those interested in writing reviews, the system remains largely identical. There is now a provision for review copies, allowing simple disclosure of how you received your copy of the game. Additional review filtering options were included, such as a language option, and a ‘summary’ tab that brings together the most recent, and most helpful reviews. These changes all seem rather simple, but they are geared towards making the consumers experience much more simple. With the amount of low-quality games on Steam, and the sheer instability of the gaming market, knowing what you’re buying is essential. For more information on the changes, head on over to the official Steam news release.