Valve today announced Steam Reviews, the latest evolution of the digital platform that allows all 65 million members to write reviews and rate others'. Steam Reviews is now in open beta, accessible to any Steam user.
Valve described the new feature as an "evolution" of the Recommendation system first introduced in 2010. Players have written more than 7 million Recommendations to date, and users will be able to share these--if they choose--through the new Steam Reviews feature.
For Steam Reviews, users are able to review any game or software they have launched through Steam. Purchase is not required, as players can review free games, games played on free weekends, or games obtained via Steam Family Sharing. Users will also be able to see a person's playtime in a specific game or the time they spent using software.
When writing a review, users can denote which language they are writing in and Steam will automatically prioritize reviews based in a user's local language. Players are free to leave negative reviews, though every review will have a "flag" button where other users can report offensive content or spam.
Users can rate others' reviews by up-voting enjoyable reviews and down-voting those found to not be very helpful. What's more, users are able to browse for reviews written by a specific author.
Reviews will not feature numerical scores, at least not right away, due to how significantly a product can change over time with updates or new content. In addition, Steam Reviews will not replace the current Metacritic scores currently featured on product pages, but will rather sit alongside them.
Game developers who wish to interact with fans in a review for their game can do so, and will be flagged as an official game developer. Developers are not directly able to censor or remove reviews, though they can flag offensive content for removal.
Steam Reviews is not the first major announcement from Valve this year. Over the summer, Valve announced Steam OS, Steam Machines, and the Steam Controller, all of which are expected to roll out in 2014.
More information about Steam Reviews is available on Steam's website.
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