Valve Updates Steam Review Policy to Defuse Review Bombing

Steam “off-topic review bombs” will no longer count towards a game’s Review Score

“Off-topic review bombs” will no longer count toward Steam user scores

Over the past few years, review bombs - people organising en masse to post negative reviews to a game's store page to tank its review score - have become one of Steam's most visible issues.

Valve also noted that review bombings due to DRM and EULA changes will be considered off-topic and therefore also removed from the review score calculation. Valve has taken these concerns into account and is now overhauling its Steam reviews section to allow for moderation. At that point, Valve says a team of people will investigate those anomalies, and, if they determine that something fishy is afoot, they'll "mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer".

Image Valve
Image Valve

Valve is working to counter review bombing on Steam by removing what it considers off-topic reviews from the overall review score. This is a broad enough definition of irrelevant reviews that it could include many things, but Valve has confirmed that it includes those complaining about digital rights management (DRM) like Denuvo.

Developers who don't want this new tool combing through their games' comments and Valve declaring when an off-topic review bomb is happening can opt out of the process by going into their Steam Store options.

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What the new review graphs will look like.

Valve has announced it's revisiting user reviews on Steam in order to combat review bombing. This will unfortunately include reviews posted from non-nefarious individuals during that time period, though, because it "isn't feasible for us to read every single review".

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Algorithms will flag incidents likely to be review bombs, and then Valve moderators will manually review those notifications to determine which ones count as off-topic. Reviews are an important part of Steam, which is why we continue to do the work to make sure that they are not being manipulated by anyone, " the Q&A concludes. It emphasized that it is not deleting reviews, but only changing the way it calculates review scores, and said that it has decided "not to unilaterally grandfather in what's happened in the past", which is presumably why the Metro reviews remain untouched despite clearly being review bombs. To be clear, this will only impact what you see: You can not influence whether off-topic reviews are included in review scores for other people. Our reasoning is that the "general" Steam player doesn't care as much about them, so the Review Score is more accurate if it doesn't contain them. It is worth noting that the reviews themselves will not be removed, but rather made hidden so that those who are still interested in them can still find them.

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