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Valve on Positive Review Bombing

A post from Valve discusses "positive review bombs." This concept emerged after Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Unity giveaway and donation after the fire at the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral. The post is extremely lengthy and also includes a FAQ, as they explore the conflict this has with their stance on negative review bombing. In the end they decide to allow the positive reviews to stand, even if they are not strictly driven by the merits of the game. Here's a bit of the conclusion:

In this case, the Notre Dame tragedy has made it so that AC:Unity happens to now include the world's best virtual recreation of the undamaged monument. That's a context change that could be increasing the value players are getting from the game, so perhaps the game really is better than it was before? Or maybe that's unrelated, and it's actually players feeling good about Ubisoft's significant donation to rebuilding the monument? Irrespective of the reason, perhaps this is a short-term temporal effect? Should temporal effects even be included in Review Scores? If a game was heavily focused on a time of the year, like Christmas, we suspect we'd see it have Review Score fluctuations around Christmas-time, as more people bought it and thought it was better on average than people who bought it at other times of the year.

If visiting the virtual Notre Dame is a reason players have reviewing the game more positively, we'd expect the Review Score to continue to reflect it in the future, albeit at a lower volume. But that's still the case even if it's not the reason - the future Review Score would revert to where it was prior to this event.

So, we're not really sure what to do here. It doesn't actually seem to be a review bomb in the way we've previously defined them, but maybe that's just our definition being wrong. But even if we define it as one, we're not sure whether it should be off-topic or not. The overall Review Score would decrease by 1.3% if we marked it, which wouldn't have any significant effect on its visibility in the store (see the FAQ below for more on that). So either way, the game itself wouldn't be affected by our decision.

As a result, we've decided we're just going to leave it alone. But hopefully, this post has helped you understand that thinking behind why we've ended up there. If you have any thoughts on how we should approach this case, or similar cases in the future, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

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14. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 19:27 Kxmode
 
All good because it forces Valve to look at how a zeitgeist can manipulate ratings. Ultimately, with each iteration, the system ends up benefiting consumers. In this case, societal disruptions force Valve to think of creative solutions.  
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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13. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 15:35 aka_STEVE
 
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2019, 07:32:
aka_STEVE wrote on May 22, 2019, 07:27:
Glad to see VALVE is confronting all the hot, important issues like positive reviews.... instead of maybe looking at why they are losing top exclusives game releases to publishers.

So you're angry they're doing something to improve the user experience instead of conducting business shenanigans that most directly impact the publisher?


Not sure where you deciphered anger from the post ??

..And I'm pretty sure 'user experience' will be affected more by not having any new games from top Devs than it ever will by too many positive reviews ...

Valve has lost sight/ direction on so many things, this is just one more on the heap.

 
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12. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 14:11 Creston
 
If you have any thoughts on how we should approach this case, or similar cases in the future, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

So we can appoint you as the volunteer mod in charge of decisions like these, so we can go back to wheeling our desks around and doing fuck-all.
 
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11. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 09:16 Xero
 
To follow-up on that idea, MK11 immediately comes to mind as this has taken all my hours since release.

It's an amazing fighting game at it's core. It's launch was very rough with the constant requiring connection (it's never been an issue for me however). The in-game currency acquisition rate was horrendous.

I believe I gave it a thumbs down initially, despite having a blast with the game when I'm actually fighting or exploring the krypt. I don't even think I've changed it yet (mostly because I forgot to), but it's clearly a game that has already been patched up positively and the developers have been listening. I even hear a 60fps patch is on the way for PC gamers...

Clearly, a lot of the negative launch game reviews are mostly out of gamer frustrations with the developers for something that appears shady but isn't entirely unfixable.
 
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Primarily playing ATM: CS Go, DUSK, Ion Maiden, FarCry New Dawn, 20XX
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10. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 09:12 Xero
 
What they really need is a "pending decision" review option. This can allow you to give your initial thoughts on the game, providing as many positives and negatives as you can from your early hours with the game. Then, maybe a few weeks/patches later, you can settle down on a final score.

So many games are neg bombed early because launch sucks or a major issue may be game breaking. The game itself could be awesome. That 1 major issue however holds back that thumbs up. If you could say, I'm pending my final decision on what I think should they now release a follow up patch in the next few days/weeks, I will say thumbs down.

That at least gives more flexibility and if it's a launch title where I see a lot of pending reviews, it's because I know something is wrong with the game at launch and can very likely move towards a thumbs up in time.
 
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Primarily playing ATM: CS Go, DUSK, Ion Maiden, FarCry New Dawn, 20XX
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9. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 08:50 RedEye9
 
Beamer wrote on May 22, 2019, 07:32:
aka_STEVE wrote on May 22, 2019, 07:27:
Glad to see VALVE is confronting all the hot, important issues like positive reviews.... instead of maybe looking at why they are losing top exclusives game releases to publishers.
So you're angry they're doing something to improve the user experience instead of conducting business shenanigans that most directly impact the publisher? Dizzy
ftfy
 
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I want to shut the noise out and reconnect to my inner thoughts on the road to feeling more at one with myself. Fleabag
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8. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 07:32 Beamer
 
aka_STEVE wrote on May 22, 2019, 07:27:
Glad to see VALVE is confronting all the hot, important issues like positive reviews.... instead of maybe looking at why they are losing top exclusives game releases to publishers.



So you're angry they're doing something to improve the user experience instead of conducting business shenanigans that most directly impact the publisher?
 
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7. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 07:27 aka_STEVE
 
Glad to see VALVE is confronting all the hot, important issues like positive reviews.... instead of maybe looking at why they are losing top exclusives game releases to publishers.


 
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6. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 04:43 shitty
 
why are reviews classified? they are all just reviews, just or no? nothing should be banned or blocked. that is equality. when a gamer likes a game, they give it a positive review. likewise for negative review. this is corporate pockets worried about reviews effecting their crap games/reviews/profits, period.  
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5. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 22, 2019, 00:32 The_Pink_Tiger
 
If Steam is marking negative review bombs as off-topic, it should do the same with positive bombs, even if the latter were made with all the best of intentions. Else it is too easy for publishers to game the system ("Ohh, the publisher just donated $5000 to anti-cancer research, how nice! Positive reviews all around!").  
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4. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 21, 2019, 22:26 Cutter
 
I wish they'd move to an out of 10 system. Far more accurate than just up or down.
 
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"Put the pick in there, Pete, and turn it round real neat."
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3. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 21, 2019, 22:01 Steele Johnson
 
That's why I like to follow a couple youtube reviewers that share the same taste in games that I do. That's pretty much the only reviews I trust these days (or care about). Other than that, I'll simply use the reputation of the developer and take a chance.  
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2. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 21, 2019, 21:38 Mr. Tact
 
It wasn't much of a bombing if it only changed the rating by 1.3%....  
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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1. Re: Valve on Positive Review Bombing May 21, 2019, 21:30 RedEye9
 

Steam reviews, useful as ever. Review bombers can suck eggs.

 
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I want to shut the noise out and reconnect to my inner thoughts on the road to feeling more at one with myself. Fleabag
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