Not long after the Rotten Tomatoes fiasco, Valve has decided to take steps towards dealing with trolling Steam review bombs.
But what is defined as a review bomb? In their blog post on the matter, Valve clearly stated that a review bomb “is where players post a large number of reviews in a short period of time, aimed at lowering the Review Score of a game”. Additionally, they consider an ‘off-topic review bomb’ as reviews which are “unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game”.
While this case may seem eerily similar to the Captain Marvel situation on Rotten Tomatoes earlier this month, it’s been happening on Steam for a while. A recent example comes from last month when angry Metro Steam fans downvoted and poorly-reviewed games in the franchise. The disgruntled players were review-bombing in droves, as an act of revenge over publisher Deep Silver’s new exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store. This meant the latest game, Metro Exodus, would not be available on Steam.
In a more humorous example, Chinese Steam gamers review-bombed the horror game Devotion after an in-game easter egg mocked Chinese President Xi Jinping as “Winnie the Pooh moron”. The developer hastily apologized for the reference (the President infamously dislikes the association and has banned it on Chinese Google).
But alas, to tackle the matter of off-topic review bombs, Valve has created a tool that identifies “anomalous review activity”. While it can’t independently discern the honesty of the review, it does notify the Valve team who can then investigate the matter. The team have already run the tool past the history of games on Steam, and have identified reasons for this anomalous review activity. It has only affected a handful of games.
After finding dodgy reviews, Valve will then contact the developer and the Steam reviews will no longer contribute to the games’ overall review score. As usual, the review will remain available for people who want to read it.
What are your thoughts on Valve’s method to tackle Steam review-bombing? Let us know in the comments below!
A writer who loves any medium that can take him away from the real world. He loves gaming, science fiction, philosophical novels and even the odd guilty-pleasure trash TV Drama.