Games that are markedly improved – or worsened – by changes after their launch on Steam will now have their current level of quality communicated more accurately to players.
The platform holder has made a number of small, but significant, changes to the way that user reviews and ratings are displayed and calculated on Steam store pages, aiming to adjust to the fluctuating nature of titles still evolving through services such as Early Access or those greatly impacted by post-release patches.
While the previous system prioritised ratings deemed ‘Helpful’ by other users, showing them at the top of the stack, the timing of reviews will now also be taken into account, with more recent helpful comments coming above older posts.
Similarly, the average user rating for a game, which was previously calculated using all ratings submitted by players from the title’s launch onwards, will now be gauged by selecting scores from the previous 30 days only – as long as the game has been on Steam for more than 45 days.
In addition to the two major changes, the review system is also to introduce a checkbox to communicate whether the user received the game for free.
“One common theme we've been seeing in customer feedback about the Steam review system is that it isn't always easy to tell what the current experience is like in a game months after release,” Valve explained in a blog post.
“While there are plenty of new reviews posted every day, we saw that it was often difficult for newer reviews to be seen and voted on enough to become listed as most helpful. As a result, the most helpful reviews presented on a store page would often describe an outdated view of a game that might have changed dramatically over the course of Early Access or post-release development.
“This new set of changes released today is designed to better describe the current customer experience in those games.”