Valve drops free, gift copies from Steam ranking system

Valve drops free, gift copies from Steam ranking system

Valve has followed in Amazon's footsteps and removed free or gifted product reviews from its ranking system, as a means of preventing developers from gaming the Steam platform.

Valve has announced that it is to exclusively use reviews from verified buyers in its Steam ranking system, in an effort to prevent morally-flexible developers from giving away free copies in exchange for artificially-inflated reviews.

As part of its ongoing overhaul of the Steam digital distribution platform first announced back in September last year, Valve is making it more difficult for dodgy developers to artificially inflate their games' review performance through gifts and giveaways. Following the company's move to lock out game copies distributed outside Steam from being counted for ratings last year, Valve's latest change to the system now requires that games were purchased and paid for within Steam - meaning that copies given away as Steam keys or which have been distributed for free using Steam's integrated gifting system will no longer be counted towards a game's review rankings.

'With the changes we are making now, the review score (shown at the top of store pages and in various places throughout the store such as search results) will no longer include reviews by users that received the game for free, such as via a gift, or during a free weekend,' Valve explained in the announcement detailing the change. 'Reviews can still be written by customers that obtained the game in any of these ways, but the review will not count toward the overall review score.'

The change is retroactive: all games are having their rankings recalculated in a way that excludes reviews from ineligible free copies, though the reviews themselves will remain visible - and any further ineligible reviews can also be published, but will not affect the overall score or a game's position in Steam's ranking system. The only exclusion: games which are distributed via Steam but as free or free-to-play titles, which will continue to use non-paying-customer reviews for ranking purposes owing to the obvious lack of paying customers.

Valve's decision to use only reviews from paid purchases for ranking purposes echoes a similar move from retail behemoth Amazon, which the company made to address the same issue of amateur reviewers being bribed with free products in order to boost said product's ranking on the site.


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SinxarKnights 13th March 2017, 10:53 Quote
Really it was only a matter of time. The only game I have ever 'reviewed' on Steam was BallisticNG (highly recommended BTW - its free too). Was curious how they would handle the free to play games, that is quite fair.

Despite not being able to review games bought from a third party such as Humble, this is a great move IMO. The review system as is it now is just terrible. Maybe they can also add a character minimum too, such as at least 2000 characters, sounds like a lot but it sure would cut down on those thousands of "11/10, love the free game, not recommended" that fill the place now. Hell they should even have a minimum playtime too, say 5 hours to be able to review it. Would get rid of the thousands of 'my PC doesn't meet the min requirements, not recommended' reviews.

It seems you are still able to review refunded games though. Wonder if they will look into that as well.
goldstar0011 13th March 2017, 12:48 Quote
Originally Posted by SinxarKnights
. Would get rid of the thousands of 'my PC doesn't meet the min requirements, not recommended' reviews.

These are my favourite ones! Really helps me decide if I will enjoy the game.
SMIFFYDUDE 13th March 2017, 14:16 Quote
Just get rid completely, most reviews don't even review the game. In addition to the min req rants they're either an ascii pic of someone taking a ****, a mindless rant about DLC or they're IGN 15/10 'ironic' posts that just make the review average meaningless.
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