Steam Changes User Reviews To Focus On Recent Experiences

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"As a result, the most helpful reviews presented on a store page would often describe an outdated view of a game that might have changed dramatically over the course of Early Access or post-release development," Valve argued.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.


    This actually sounds like a good thing to me. I've always found it irritating that the evergreen nature of internet means that reviews based on particular versions of the software skew the overall score - both for and against. Potentially transient issues like bugs and server problems often garner very strong negative reactions which are irrelevant if/when those issues are fixed. And companies that decide to introduce game breaking pay to play features (ala Payday 2) deserve to have reviews affect the overall impression of the title despite a large degree of earlier positive impressions.

    I've been meaning to ask some learned folk:

    What's it called when a rights-holder sharply increases the price of their title title, and then that title goes on sale so it shows what looks to be a large discount?

    I've only seen anecdotal evidence of this, and I'm not well-versed with SteamSpy, anybody know about this?

      I don't know if there's a name for this practice, but it's a known gimick that they use on Steam.

        Not just Steam, I see it all the time on Android with the "AppSales" app. Shows price history. I make a point not to buy apps that have done this.

          Those ebay sales also sees most sellers all inflate the prices on goods turning the 20% discount into more of a 5-10% discount instead.

          As a buyer you just have to always be vigilante and cross-check prices :)

      No name for it that I'm aware of. The ACCC just calls it deception, such as when it fined Kogan earlier this year for doing that exact thing.

    This is a good change and one that's been a long time coming. Glad they're finally getting this done.

    Too little too late for 3000AD's Line of Defence which was either kicked of steam...or went in to 'closed beta' after 4 years of early access.

      To be fair, I'm not sure anything could save any of 3000AD's games from mediocrity and bad reviews.

        I'm always amused how relevant this video still is.

          You might like this then. He hasn't changed much. If at all.


    I've never seen such a hive of political reviews as those on Steam. They're all try-hard internet-humorists trying to make a review that gets bumped to the top for hyperbole or the ridiculous "Funny" vote.

      That's a very good point, hadn't realised it until now.

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