Any Steam user is probably familiar with the concept of Steam review bombers, when a large number of gamers all give a game negative reviews to drag down its rating due to some unpopular mechanic or decision made by the developers. However, Valve has come up with a plan to deal with these.
The plan in question involves lessening the significance of each review and each rating of things as “helpful” or “unhelpful”. This gives more weight to Steam accounts who actually review games normally, rather than those who post a large number of negative reviews. Lessening the strength of negative reviews will help to keep the ratings of games more stable.
Steam review bombings have been a problem for many games, whether it’s due to the game not having a Chinese language option (as was the case with Football Manager), or in the aftermath of Campo Santo, the developers of Firewatch, issuing a DMCA takedown for PewDiePie after he used a racial slur during a video of him playing their game. Even PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, one of the most-played games on Steam, isn’t immune to it.
Another instance of review bombing was back in August of this year, when DOTA 2, another one of Steam’s most popular games, was hit with a review bomb due to the reviewers thinking that Valve is devoting too much time to the MOBA, rather than developing Half Life 3. By their logic, they believe that Valve is big enough that they can work on both projects at once.
Valve had previously made efforts to curtail review bombings, but nothing has really worked. Their last attempt was a histograph, allowing developers to see when exactly Steam review bombers hit their games. However, hopefully this new way of balancing negative reviews will help to stop these sorts of things.