Review-bombing has become a common practice for a place that hosts user-reviews. From Metacritic to Amazon, if someone is dissatisfied with something a writer, actor, developer, ect. has said or done, people will voice their displeasure by going online and leaving negative reviews. Steam, the popular PC distribution platform, is no different.
Valve, the creators of Steam, will now be attempting to combat this practice by creating a new tool that will stop these reviews. In a blog post, the company announced that the tool will be used to "identify off-topic review bombs, and remove them from the Review Score." The company described the process of the tool as followed:
"The first step is a tool we've built that identifies any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible. It doesn't know why a given game is receiving anomalous review activity, and it doesn't even try to figure that out. Instead, it notifies a team of people at Valve, who'll then go and investigate…"
The company blog goes on by saying, "Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notifies the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched – if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so."
One controversial topic that is included in these "Off-Topic Discussions" is both DRM and EULA changes. Valve states that the "general" Steam player doesn't care as much about them and that the review score is more accurate if it doesn't contain them.
The company added, "In addition, we believe that players who do care about topics like DRM are often willing to dig a little deeper into games before purchasing – which is why we still keep all the reviews within the review bombs. It only takes a minute to dig into those reviews to see if the issue is something you care about."
Valve also mentions that reviews that aren't about off-topic issues that are posted within the time period of the review bomb will also be deleted.
This change to user reviews comes a few weeks after Rotten Tomatoes made changes to its user reviews after Captain Marvel was review-bombed by trolls before the film was even released. For the full transcript to Valve's blog post, click here.