Valve has today announced a new feature that could help consumers make heads or tails of Steam’s growing library: Steam Reviews. The feature will start off in open beta — as many Steam features do — and will eventually expand to become part of the Steam ecosystem.
Product reviews are not unheard of — in fact, customer reviews are a part of almost any online retailer — but they are also a complicated minefield to navigate. What makes Steam’s review system different, however, is that only gamers who own a title, or more specifically have launched the game via Steam, will be able to write a review. That means no pointless game-bashing based purely on conjecture.
In addition to posting and reading reviews, Steam users will also be able to leave comments on reviews and indicate which ones are the most helpful. GameFly has a similar system for their rentals, and it typically helps me see what people think of a game.
Additionally, Steam Reviews are leaving out some of the riff-raff typically associated with game reviews, and opting for a thumbs up or a thumbs down ranking system. Valve is looking into an overall score or rating for games, but they have not decided one way or the other.
Developers will also be able to participate in the system through commenting. They will be able to engage with their fans and detractors, hopefully adding their own thoughts on specific design decisions. And no, developers will not be able to delete bad reviews of their game.
Obviously, reviews are also not entirely new for Steam either, as the service has had the Recommendation system since 2010. Thankfully, the Recommendation system won’t be outright replaced by Steam Reviews, but will instead be rolled into the forthcoming feature. Gamers will have the option to make any recommendation visible as a review once the feature goes live.
What makes Valve’s implementation of the system so helpful is the fact that the Steam store offers dozens of PC games a week. From indie titles, to triple-A releases, to early access/Steam Greenlight games, there is so much content available on Steam that a little big of guidance is likely appreciated. Moreover, there are a lot of hidden gems on the Steam Store — games like Rogue Legacy, Gunpoint, and The Stanley Parable — that will equally benefit from this reviews system.
As was mentioned Steam Reviews is in open beta right now, and gamers can head here to opt in.
What do you think of the new Steam Reviews feature? Will you use it to help with future purchases?