Valve announces Steam Reviews, lets you be a critic

Valve announces beta for new user-review feature that allows you to write reviews, rate others' reviews, and interact with developers.

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.

Metacritic and GameSpot are owned by CBS Interactive.

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Discussion

216 comments
Lee Bailey
Lee Bailey

Getting kind of sick of this pc master race rubbish. You people make us all look like elitest arseholes.

Sina Madani
Sina Madani

You can't browse reviews. You can only see top 3.

David Chang
David Chang

As a PC gamer, Hate the 'master race' thing, but love Steam.

Adrian Taylor Mills
Adrian Taylor Mills

They are just now introducing this feature? Weird. I thought for sure Steam would've already had this.

tightwad34
tightwad34

So you are finally going to give your 65 million members a voice. All I want to know is what the frick took you so long? It always comes down to money, but I wish to believe otherwise when it comes to Valve. Not likely, though.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Took them long enough! I thought it was odd that you could previously only recommend a game, which means that you'd be doing free advertising for it unless your friends and others actually read your "recommendation" where you say "this is bad". 

I've also had some retail games and some gog games that are available on Steam that I would have liked to recommend, but you can only recommend games you own via Steam, which is also a stupid limitation.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

http://steamcommunity.com/app/214950/reviews/

This is why this is a shitty idea. Fucking like 350 negative reviews and 2 neutral. Yes, the game has issues. And of course, Shogun 2 noobs have to come in and shit on what little positives it does have.

All these reviews were written 2 months after the game came out. It has been patched and is functional, most of the issues are gone.

TheGreatPhoenix
TheGreatPhoenix

If this can keep crap like War Z from being bought by idiots, even 1 of them, then this is a good thing!

kagento
kagento

Greenmangaming has been doing the same for some time and, what's more, they give you in store credit for taking the time. I don't see how this feature will add much apart from user involvement...

A question: Do any of you really care for Steam Cards? 

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

So i tried this out last night, it's completely pointless. The reviews have like a 500 character limit. You can't say anything honest about a game and back it up with such a small character limit.

Basically it's like Amazon reviews but even Amazon reviews give you far greater of a word limit.

I tried to put my Rome 2 review in and it was like "You are 5576 characters over the limit."

Well fuck you then, no thanks.

jophy
jophy

they should only allow people to review games they bought. and also show the time played and last played on the review

Toplinkar
Toplinkar

"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,"


BEST.IDEA.EVER!!!  <- not sarcasm


Scores are not making sense anymore, reviews should just point out the pros and cons of and leave it at that (I think engadget already does it with their hardware reviews ). The readers should decide if the cons are deal breakers and the pros matter that much to them.

gamingnerd121
gamingnerd121

At least you can see how much time someone spent in the game. I doubt people would keep a game running, without a reason to like the game. Not to mention if the game has achievements.

We'll see how this goes.

fillup0
fillup0

I don't think you would see the big three (or is it big two nowadays with Nintendo still snorting coke in the back room?) doing this now, would you? Shovelware publishers are going to detest this.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

They need to only allow people to review games they own on Steam.  And with that, instantly, Steam's reviews become better than Metacritic and Amazon.

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

They should give refunds for bad games, I had to beat an Steam employee to get my money back after buy Stanley Parable.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Grenadeh Oh, so it's just like Metacritic's user reviews, where trollbait games like CoD get superlow average scores and hundreds of negative reviews. Just goes to show that people on Metacritic and other places aren't that different. Wherever you can make your voice heard, the haters will come and overflow it. Hate is a much more powerful driving force than satisfaction it seems. The "wow, this is a great game!" and "good enough" people aren't as compelled to let the whole world know what they think.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@kagento Answer: Not really, especially considering I have like 4 duplicates of some of them. I thought they were a beta test for some sort of reselling/trading but I'm not quite certain what their function is, to be frank.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Grenadeh Wow, your review was 6076 characters? That's a wall of text, although I myself don't like Steam's 1000 character limit for making a "status update" and replying to friends. When writing a recommendation you didn't have those character limits, but apparently this new system does. Hopefully they'll change that.

Slash_out
Slash_out

@Grenadeh Well then voice your opinion on steam in the appropriate forum for this beta feature and if other share your opinion steam will improve the system. They have shown they are willing to make changes.

It's a good system, before you had professional reviews shown through the mediacritic rating, now you get along side this one, players reviews. How is that a bad thing? It's just not good enough right now... but it's a beta.

Since when is a feature in beta a "take it or leave it" kinda of deal?

shreddyz
shreddyz

@Grenadeh  "It sucks donkey balls"- is only eighteen characters. What's the problem?

Hurvl
Hurvl

@jophy I'm a bit miffed about their "launch through Steam" requirement, because I've played some games that are on Steam, but which I bought through GoG or at retail before Steam launched. Just because I didn't play it on Steam doesn't mean I never played it at all. I can still make a reasonable statement about whether it's good or not, despite not having played it through Steam. Although it's logical for Valve to require that you buy and launch a game through Steam to be able to review it, it's still a stupid limitation. 

ztype85
ztype85

@jophy All you have to do is click on their user name to find out all that information

shreddyz
shreddyz

@Dannystaples14 You could cut/paste that to every GS story. Hell, even GS themselves, are the biggest culprits.

semi colon p.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Toplinkar Your experience is what matters and it can't be summarised with a number, because that reduces your feelings about the game to a shallow statistic. It's just this weird notion going through society that everything should be measureable, even if it doesn't lead to accurate descriptions. Who really has the time or desire to actually *read* a review, not just take a quick look at the score? Everything needs to go fast, be straightforward and easily interpreted. To hell with deeper analysis, ain't nobody got time for dat!

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@gamingnerd121 After reading some of those user reviews in metacritic I would not be surprised. Some people have the game running for days just to be Number 1 in Raptr. (For whatever reason they find; what is the good stuff about being N1 in a game you did not play?)

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Thanatos2k Except that not owning a game on Steam doesn't mean you don't own the game or haven't played it. And the master plan instantly falls apart.

kagento
kagento

@Diegoctba Do you do the same thing every time you go to the cinema and don't like the movie? Imo, they shouldn't have given you a refund (unless it was within the first 24 hours of purchase). You could have tried the demo first...

mr_nee
mr_nee

@Diegoctba Or not working games - Dead Island, Saints Row 2 & 3 don't work on win8, probably have bunch more non-working games (haven't tried them all yet). If they don't announce compatibility issues, it's not devs or my, but steam's fault

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Hurvl @Grenadeh I guess. I mean, the game definitely was disappointing on launch. A lot of people have been waiting for it since 2003. Ever since they made MTW2 people have been like "OMG Y U NO MAKE ROME 2 IT SO GOOD!", including me, so they were destined to fail in the first place - but it's not like the game is completely broken.

The AI was hilariously broken on release, in some cases. I never had those issues, where you could literally stand with your troops touching theirs and they wouldn't attack you, but I experienced most of the bugs and it doesn't earn the game anything lower than a 7 if you ask me.

I haven't played it since the second patch, honestly, because the initial disappointment already ruined it for me. No amount of DLCs or fixes will help.

But the game was still enjoyable.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Hurvl @Grenadeh It was no longer than any review you read here and unlike GameSpot, I actually play the game and review what matters.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@shreddyz @Grenadeh The problem is "It sucks donkey balls" doesn't offer any explanation why it sucks donkey balls, and so it just makes you look like an ass.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Hurvl @jophy Me too. A lot of games that were just cheaper on GOG. Or GameStop app. Or Amazon. And many of those games, despite existing on Steam, do not give you a Steam key.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Grenadeh @Thanatos2k Are you suggesting that people who don't own games on Steam have more accurate reviews or something?  Nonsense.

Steam provides a way of guaranteeing ownership of the game in question that is being reviewed.  Thus, an aggregate of all Steam reviews would provide an extremely accurate metric.

Any idiot reviewing a game can claim they played it, but on Steam you'd be sure of it.  And given the giant userbase you'd get statistically significant results.  Instantly all trolling reviews are gone.

There is no better platform for this.

Slash_out
Slash_out

@Grenadeh  Not really. It's the better of the system. So yeah, you don't own the game on steam so you can't post a review on steam. Just post your review on gaming forums, or on the game's forum. 

it just means that you know the player that made this review PLAYED the game, and how long he played it. It is a safe guard.

So on one hand, people not having the game on steam can't review it.. (that's just... not terrible at all, no big loss for either sides). On the other hand you have less angry fans of a rival license that will come to vote 0 for the game without ever playing it, and (almost) no people voting 20 to compensate.

And you also get a way to track how long this person played it before making the review.

I say... win-win.


Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@kagento @Diegoctba Don't even bother. You can see the results of my bothering above. These whining ass Europeans/new generation since the 90s don't understand anything. Nothing is their responsibility. They should get refunds for everything, they should be able to resell everything.

There should be no mistakes and no consequences in life ever, because "It's not fair."

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@mr_nee @Diegoctba Dead Island works fine on Windows 8. If your computer sucks ass it's not their problem. PC gaming isn't for people who can't manage elementary school level troubleshooting on their own computer.

deth420
deth420

It could be a windows problem...as it does suck!

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Grenadeh Who the hell cares about the hours?  All that matters is whether you own it or not.  That instantly runs out all the trolls.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Thanatos2k You can still cheat the Steam hours, both on purpose and on accident. Mine fucked up somehow and that's why Blood Dragon  says I've played like 44 hours, when I've only played about 2. Or like FF7, which I left on for 36 hours. Or MTW2 or RTW which wasn't even on Steam when it was relevant and all my hours are on Xfire.

All trolling reviews are 0 or 1s or 2s anyway because no game is a 0 or 1 or 2.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Slash_out That's fine, but Steam can detect the game on your computer, so it should at least do that. That isn't to say some people aren't so douchley that they would pirate the game, install it to review it with a 0 score, and then uninstall it.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Slash_out I still think it's a stupid limitation, because knowledge about a game is still knowledge, launched through Steam or not. I don't see any way to solve that without all the negative stuff you mentioned, but either way it's easy to overcome. You can simply write your review in the message box, so that your friends can see it. I've done that for a GoG game, muahahaha!

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@MDK4thewin @Grenadeh I don't understand what more you want "them" to do to increase access to newcomers for PC gaming. There is literally no bar to entry anymore for PC gaming, even less so when the Steamboxes come out.  All you have to do is A) Google it B) Ask someone.

That was the entire reasoning behind creating the "Gaming PC" genre of manufacturer-built computers. So that you didn't have to do the research, necessarily, didn't have to go out and buy components, didn't have to do 8 minutes of Lego research to know the round shape fits in the round hole, didn't have to slice your hand open on sharp ass motherboards or accidentally break the latch release on your RAM slots.

Do they now have to store your specs in Steam and generate a percentage-based likelihood of whether or not a game will work on your machine?

Actually they probably should, considering they store your hardware profile.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@MDK4thewin @Grenadeh Uh, no. Literally if you do not meet even the minimum specs, it's your fault, and only your fault for buying the game. 

I know Steam  has a mystical power over us all, like the sale that started today, but they didn't force you to buy the game. They gave you every warning that it might not work or won't work. They tested it, and thousands of other people tested it and it does work. So the game does work.

Caveat fucking emptor. Quit with the nanny-state whining liberal wasteland bullcrap and take some responsibility.

And now I am literally going to go buy a hard drive, install Windows 8 on a computer that sucks with a Pentium D, install Dead Island, and prove the point that it does work.

MDK4thewin
MDK4thewin

@Grenadeh That's a heck of a statement. Of course it's their problem. Publishers and distributors are in the market to sell games. If people can't play a game, what do they do? They call tech support and eat up the company's resources on a pretty simple issue of compatibility. Then, if tech support can't help, customer service gets involved which eats up even more resources. All the while, anger and ire grow in the consumer and the company loses in PR. This could all be solved through a pre-purchase diagnostic system. Steam is already beginning to implement this and it's a great idea. 

As for the last part of your statement, it's not a matter of knowledge of troubleshooting. It's about time. It can take quite a while to figure out whether a graphics card and other specs meets the requirements/recommendations. Even so, there's no guarantee of performance. What do I do in this situation, I don't buy the game. In my busy life, I don't have the time or financial resources to sift through tons of posts to see if my computer will work with a game and risk buying a game that doesn't work. 

The solution to this isn't to say "PC gaming is for people who can't manage elementary school level troubleshooting", it is to increase access for new and existing PC gamers so they don't have to turn to consoles. I grew up on PC gaming and love the format. If I had extra security that the product I was purchasing would be guaranteed to work or would require a specific upgrade to play, I'd buy more games and more hardware.