Steam reviews change

If you aren't in the loop, Steam basically added more ways to filter reviews and the default filter (and the resulting score) only take into account reviews by people that bought the game directly through Steam. External keys are left out (they are still there, they are just not included in the default settings).

Lots of people have been talking about this. You can see lots of developer reaction on RPS and on Gamasutra. You can also see some of the games that were most affected by this change here.

Here's how this is likely to affect Soldak from a developer standpoint:

The good: Hopefully developers won't be able to cheat their review scores any more by providing free keys to people (or just fake accounts) to write up fake positive reviews. You can see in that third link above that this has been happening. Hopefully this also stops the practice of people asking developers for free keys to write up a good review on Steam. We get a ton of these every time we release a new game on Steam. Frankly it's pretty unethical so we've never done this and it's time wasted going through all of this email.

The bad: Developers like us still try to sell as many units as we can directly to our gamers. We've always given Steam keys to our directly purchasers on request. In the past, sometimes this happens because we release the game directly before we get on Steam and sometimes these are people that just want to give us more support by buying directly from us. Either way these tend to be some of our more vocal fans and now their reviews will not be in the default filter and score.

The unknown: We will lose Steam reviews from our games sold through other means but end up with a Steam key. For us that means some bundles Depths of Peril has been in and a few portals that provide Steam keys that our various games have been on. I'm really not sure this will change anything for us. For developers that rely on things like Kickstarter this might be big deal.

From a customer standpoint (I do buy games, sometimes on Steam and sometimes not. I don't write reviews though):

The good: Now by default I only see reviews by accounts that actually bought the game on Steam. That should mean much more of the reviews are actually by real people and not fake crap. This should be nice. I can also always change the filter to look at all of the reviews if I want to.

The bad: For me personally from a customer standpoint, I'm not sure there is anything bad, but again I don't write reviews.

So having said all that I looked at Depths of Peril, Din's Curse, Drox Operative, and Zombasite on Steam to see how it has actually affected us so far by changing the filters and seeing what changes. With the new stuff Depths of Peril's score actually goes up 1% and loses 2 reviews, Din's Curse loses 1 review, Drox Operative loses 4 reviews, and Zombasite loses 4 reviews. So overall we lost a few reviews and DoP score actually went up a little.

So what are your thoughts?


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