Last week, Steam’s customer review system saw huge changes in which users’ opinions it prioritizes. Yesterday, in a news post on the storefront, Valve announced it was making another revision in response to widespread complaints.
Users and developers both took umbrage with Steam customer reviews only showing ratings from Steam buyers by default. Ratings based on keys purchased off-platform or provided by developers no longer count toward the overall review average, but Valve admitted that this wasn’t warmly received.
"One frequent piece of feedback we’ve heard regarding the recent changes is that it has become more difficult to find and read the helpful, articulate reviews written by customers that obtained the game outside of Steam," the company wrote.
To introduce a healthier mix of opinions, all helpful reviews will again show by default, regardless of where the user got the game from. There are still options to filter by key activations and Steam purchasers, however, and the review score is still a reflection of Steam customers’ ratings only.
This means that the bumps — or drops — in average rating that some games saw after last week’s tweak aren’t going anywhere. For Steam users who take the time to read the reviews before they buy a game, this change is meaningful; for people who prefer to glance at the average, Valve is still entrusting people who buy on-platform to know best. That may not please the game developers, frequent Kickstarer backers and Humble Bundle buyers who called out the new system as unfair to their homegrown fanbases.
Valve will continue to work on perfecting the platform's ratings. Next up for the customer review system is a overhaul of the helpful review ranking system, the company announced.
"We're working on updating the system to consider more factors when deciding how to rank 'helpful' reviews so that it can generate better results," it said in the post.
A beta will be available sometime in the near future to give Steam customers a chance to help review the new review system.