According to an official blog post from Valve, the company have plans to tackle how user reviews on Steam work, with a focus on reviews that have been made in bad faith.
The company say that user reviews are intended to allow potential purchasers to decide whether or not they’ll be happy with their purchase. They intend to identify ‘off-topic review bombs’ and remove them from a product’s overall Review Score.
A ‘review bomb’ is when players mass-post reviews in a short space of time with the intent to lower a game’s overall Review Score. These reviews can seriously harm a game’s reputation.
Usually, these things happen due to events that are unrelated to a game’s actual gameplay experience, such as a developer making a political statement or if a group of people want to draw attention to something.
Valve say that as these sorts of reviews are ‘unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game’, they’re making moves to remove them.
The reviews will remain up, so people can read them at their own leisure, but their ratings will not affect a game’s Review Score, allowing future customers to make their own decisions.
While this system is now enabled by default, Steam customers can choose to opt out of this service, meaning they can still have off-topic reviews included in all the Review Scores they’ll see.
However, a game’s page will still have a notification letting customers know if periods of off-topic review activity have been detected.
For more in-depth answers on how the service will work, check out Valve’s official blog post.