There are plenty of reasons to distrust any given individual Steam review. It might be obsessively hyper-focused on a relatively slight issue or, god forbid, a game taking a political stance. It might be part of a review bomb. It might be a meme. Now, though, Valve has taken aim at one of its system’s more fixable problems: reviews that are out of date.
These days, people play some games for hundreds or even thousands of hours. Those games evolve over time thanks to updates and community interactions. It stands to reason that somebody’s take on a game might be a little different at hour 567 than at hour five. So now, if you put substantial additional time into a game you’ve reviewed, Steam will ask you to “revise your review.”
“In response to dev feedback, this is now a thing!” he said. “Devs have been asking us for this for a while, but we first needed to build the new library before it made sense (technically) to add it.”
Kotaku reached out to Valve to find out how many additional hours you have to put into a game for Steam to start asking you to dish out more of your spicy takes, but had not heard back as of this publishing.
It will be interesting to see what kind of effect this has on reviews, which despite their flaws, are a key metric on Steam and one determining factor—though far from the main one—in how the Steam algorithm decides to display games. Largely, this seems like a change for the better, though in the past I’ve seen developers lament the trend of players who’ve spent hundreds of hours with a game flipping their thumbs-up to a thumbs-down largely because, after so many hours, they’re fed up and burnt out—not because the game is necessarily bad. That hurts smaller games whose main source of reviews is a diehard player base, whose score might get tanked by just a handful of those sorts of reviews. Will this new system bring more of those sorts of players out of the woodwork? Hopefully not.