Valve is revamping the way review scores are calculated on Steam because – guess what! – people are cheating the system. Because, obviously.
In a blog update, the company explained that some developers are scamming scores with paid content and free stuff, and even writing reviews of their own games. Hashtag ethics something what.
“The majority of review score manipulation we’re seeing by developers is through the process of giving out Steam keys to their game, which are then used to generate positive reviews. Some developers organise their own system using Steam keys on alternate accounts. Some organisations even offer paid services to write positive reviews,” says Valve.
And this is why we can’t have nice things, kids.
According to Steam data, “at least 160 titles have a substantially greater percentage of positive reviews by users that activated the product with a CD key, compared to customers that purchased the game directly on Steam”. Some of those reviews are probably legitimate, but others… probably not so much.
“In many cases, the abuse is clear and obvious, such as duplicated and/or generated reviews in large batches, or reviews from accounts linked to the developer,” they add. “In those cases, we’ve now taken action by banning the false reviews and will be ending business relationships with developers that continue violating our rules.”
Starting today, Valve is now not including those scores attached to reviews written by customers who activated a game with a CD key when working out meta-scores, although the actual reviews will be available to the public. Approximately 14% of Steam’s game catalogue is affected by this change, apparently.
And, inevitably, not everybody is super-duper happy about it. Maia developer Simon Roth is complaining on Twitter that it’s going to demolish his sales.
Maia’s review score just dropped to 45%. Which means we are now unlikely to sell another copy. Time for me to give up probably.
— Simon Roth (@SimoRoth) September 13, 2016
But hey, that’s better than its Metacritic score. Game’s been out since 2013, there are no syndicated reviews ever, and one user review score of “3”. Maybe the game is a bit shit, Simon.