Steam reviews can be a wonderful thing, but often they don't properly represent the current state of the game. As of this morning, Valve's rolled out changes to the service, focusing on users' most recent experiences.
In a post on the Steampowered page, Valve announced that they have introduced a "Recent review score" that will calculate the percentage of reviews over the last month. There are a couple of caveats: the game has to have enough reviews in the first place, and the game must have been available on Steam for at least 45 days.
The idea is to provide a better illustration of a game's current state. "This let us be really transparent in how the score was being calculated, but didn't accommodate cases when a game has changed a lot (for better or worse) over time," Valve said of the previous system.
Store pages have also been updated so that the most recent helpful reviews — which can be positive or negative — are displayed first.
"As a result, the most helpful reviews presented on a store page would often describe an outdated view of a game that might have changed dramatically over the course of Early Access or post-release development," Valve argued.
A few other changes were rolled out as well:
The customer review section on a game's store page has a new "Summary" tab that focuses on recent helpful reviews and recently posted reviews. You can still find overall most help reviews by selecting "Most Helpful" tab. There's a new checkbox when writing a review to more easily disclose if you received the copy of the game for free. You can now view all reviews regardless of language by selecting "All Languages" from the language dropdown in the reviews tab of the Community Hub for the game.
The summary page is basically a truncated version of the other tabs. Here's what things look like now on the PAYDAY 2 page:
It's basically a combination of the most helpful and most recently posted reviews, while showing overall ratings and percentages for both. The second column makes the Summary filter the most efficient method of gauging the current status of user reviews.
That still won't be of any help if people are bombing a game's Steam reviews, although you'll be able to more quickly see if that happens. And the new system won't prevent publishers from packaging games into bundles to try and hide a poor review score.
But at least it's a sign that Steam is listening to user feedback and trying to improve the experience. Who knows, maybe they'll finally add support for the Australian dollar one day too.