Steam Reviews  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Steam Reviews  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Watch out for Steam review bots out to skew review scores! Sun, 12 Jun 2016 10:36:52 -0400 Kevin S. Behan

Two Reddit communities, Kotaku in Action and PC Master Race, have made note of bots on steam. You can spot them by looking at their profiles, many of which have only played games for approximately three hours, have weak names, and non-specific descriptions of the games.

This isn't that much of a problem as the bots don't appear capable of promoting themselves to be the top reviews. As such, if you scroll down you'll see human-given reviews with lengthy responses, and get a good view of what the game's like there.

Just watch out for 'Overwhelmingly Positive' indie games on Steam. Make sure you look at the reviews, watch out for anything fishy.

The mentioned communities quickly got to emailing Valve about the situation, who responded fairly quickly. The reviews were removed promptly. Three games which had these bots acting for them were ZombieRush, Base Squad 49, and Lands of Devestation. If you check out their Steam pages, you'll notice Valve's efficiency at work.

If you're curious to see just how bad it was, don't worry! Here's an archived form of the pages that shows all the positive bot reviews.

Hopefully Valve can figure out some way to prevent this from happening again. While there's little worry of big name companies ruining their reputations to do something like this, keep an eye out for indies desperate to make a buck by using underhanded methods.

Valve Turns On Steam Reviews Mon, 25 Nov 2013 18:08:41 -0500 Eli "The Mad Man" Shayotovich

Valve opened the beta knob to their crowd-sourced review system today.

At first blush, Steam Reviews may seem like a Metacritic derivative (one that's a little late to the party), but there are some very big differences that should make this customer review system stand above the rest.

As everyone knows, Metacritic lets anyone write a review regardless of whether or not they actually own the game. Someone may have only spent an hour in Skyrim and thought it was the worst game ever made. There's a lot of wiggle room for unnecessary bashing or over indulgent praise because you have no idea who is leaving those public reviews or if they actually played the game.

No discrepancy between these reviews. Move along...

Let's be honest about "professional" reviews... not every game is played all the way through before a judgement is delivered. There are deadlines that need to be met after all. What?  #industrysecrets

Steam Reviews is different in that it will only let you write a review for a game you've launched through Steam. So if it's not listed in your library... no review for you!

Perhaps the biggest thing that will help ferret out fraudulent write ups is the addition of one very simple measurement:  the amount of time someone has spent in the game will automatically be displayed in parentheses next to a review. Granted, this can be inflated by logging in and going AFK for hours on end, but you can easily tell by reading the details if someone really spent 80 hours in a game... or eight.

All of these nifty  features should help reduce (not eliminate, mind you) the propensity for fanboyz to write hyperbolic positive or negative reviews based on their emotional stance, and not one filled with logic and facts.

Steam users will be able to rate others' reviews. If you agree with a review, let others know (this is a lot like Amazon's customer review system). If not, you can "down-vote" the unhelpful review and even report it as a spam. Facebook needs to implement this feature... like, yesterday. 

The one thing it doesn't do (yet) is aggregate scores like Metacritic. Valve stated that they are looking to add that as they gather and evaluate the data during beta.

As a big user of Steam I look forward to seeing how this new review system evolves and impacts the industry.