Valve Introduces Steam Reviews, Beta Goes Live Today


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Are you one of the many jaded, cynical gamers that just can't trust game critics anymore? Do you find more truthiness in the words of your fellow gamer? Well, you will be pleased to know that Valve is now introducing a new system in Steam that lets users write and curate reviews for every game on the service.

Valve announced today that its bringing crowdsourced game criticism to Steam through a new feature called Steam Reviews. As the name implies, it's simply a way for gamers on Steam to review the games that they play. Steam Reviews will be displayed on the store page for every game on Steam, and feature reviews that are voted as helpful by the community.

At first glance, it may seem like Valve is merely upgrading the games recommendation system on Steam and making them public. For some, that will certainly be the case, but it will be a whole community unto itself for others. A community that's moderated by the reviewers themselves so that the best reviews as voted on by the community are seen first while those reviews that simply consist of shallow praises or criticisms are pushed to the bottom.

Another potential game changer in Steam Reviews is that every review will also tell you how long the reviewer has played the game when they wrote the review. Unlike traditional game criticism where the reviewer's time with the game is rarely ever documented, Steam Reviews give players a better picture of what that particular critic's experience with the game was like. If they say the game is trash but only invested an hour in what is a 70 hour RPG, you can assume with certainty that they didn't give it the time it deserved and the review will be pushed to the bottom.

Steam Reviews also encourage the game's developers to get involved by letting those who make the games on Steam respond to these reviews. Here's how Valve says its works:

Q. I'm a game developer. Can I respond to reviews?
A. Yes, when you post in the comments of reviews on your product, your comment will be flagged as being from the developer.

Developers and users alike can flag reviews that they deem offensive or abusive, but Steam will not remove valid criticism just because somebody doesn't like another gamer's opinion. Developers and users should both keep that in mind when they want to get emotional over somebody not liking a game.

If you want to see what Steam Reviews are all about and write a few reviews of your own, check out the landing page.

[Image: Steam]