Valve is offering Steam users a megaphone to voice their opinions about games through Steam Reviews.
The new system is about to enter beta, and is set to replace the current Steam Recommendations system – more similar to Facebook ‘likes’ than actual reviews – borrowing the upvote/downvote mechanic of web commentary site Reddit.
Fans will be able to write their own reviews of games, leave comments on other reviews, and give a positive or negative vote letting others know if they found a review helpful.
Steam Recommendations have been around since 2010, but the new Steam Reviews will put a greater emphasis on the community aspect of Steam that Valve has been pushing in recent years.
Users will be able to endorse their favorite community authors and follow those they find agreeable to their own tastes.
One important element of the system is that it lets developers respond to reviews with flagged comments.
Though devs can’t delete reviews, they can flag ‘offending’ content, which will be collapsed (again similar to Reddit) until further review by a moderator.
Some might hope that this system will eventually replace the unpopular Metacritic ratings system, but for now that data will still appear to let players know what professional reviewers who happen to use numbered scores think.
At some point during the beta test Valve plans to add an overall score to Steam Reviews.
Those interested in just what Steam Reviews will mean – or just what consumers will be able to say about their games – can find more information at the announcement page.