Valve has sneakingly updated Steam in the past week to further improve the way in which reviews can assist in making potential purchases.
Since the new feature was not mentioned in the patch notes of recent client updates, you’ll have to see this for yourself. Just head over to the digital marketplace and open up the reviews of any released game. You’ll notice that they now show the number of hours played at the time the review was written.
This is a significant addition to Steam that will make it easier for users to separate legitimate postings. Someone who has marked a game as “not recommended” after playing only an hour or two says volumes about the worth of their review.
Just imagine a game like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that has over a hundred hours of content. You’ll naturally want to learn how good or bad the game is from a player who has put in at least ten hours as opposed to a person bashing the combat mechanics within the opening scene.
There’s another advantage to this feature. It also serves as a deterrence against review bombs. Valve has already made a few efforts to curtail these negative acts and being able to see the number of hours played at the time of the review is another addition to the solution. Reading flaws about Rainbow Six Siege, for example, by a player who played hardly fifteen minutes just means that they have something against either the game or the developer involved.
There’s just one little problem though. Not every review on Steam mentions the hours played at the time of review. There’s obviously some benchmark that the platform uses before displaying information. Take Dying Light for example. There are two most-helpful reviews from the last month that were posted a week apart. Only one of them mentions the review time.
It’s possible that Valve hasn’t made any announcement because it’s monitoring data from a test run. This may mean that the feature is being rolled out in waves. In either case, the company needs to clarify how the feature is designed.
Elsewhere, Valve faced a crushing defeat in France this week where the courts ruled in favor of Steam users being able to resell their purchased games. The digital marketplace, any digital marketplace for that matter, doesn’t allow that. This has been a subject of much concern in the past. If Valve shuts down tomorrow, you’ll automatically lose your Steam account, which in most cases includes a lifetime worth of purchases. Valve will probably be filing an appeal in the coming weeks on the argument that digital purchases can’t be resold because they have no physical form.