Steam unveils new user review system, beta version live today

Patrick Carlson at

Steam Reviews, a new commentary system for Valve's distribution platform, entered open beta today and gives Steam users yet another way to give feedback on all the games they've played. Valve is calling the new feature an "evolution" of Steam's recommendation system, which has been an outlet for short form player reviews since 2010.

Steam Reviews will allow anyone who has launched a specific game or piece of software from his or her computer to write a review. Valve is saying it doesn't matter how you came by the game, just that you have launched it previously—this could be from a free weekend promotion, a Steam key you got somewhere else, or even Family Sharing. In an especially nice touch, Steam Reviews will be displaying your total playtime in the game right next to your review. Have you got over 200 hours logged in a massive game like Skyrim? People may want to hear from you before they pick it up on sale. This already saves a couple of steps compared with checking up on whether this or that Steam forum poster has actually played the game they are ranting or raving about.

All previous recommendations written for your friends under the old system are set to be upgraded to reviews, which we'll find listed at the bottom of each game's store page. It currently lists the most "helpful" ones at the top, but you can click over to see the total number and then run a filter based on the review's language and how recently it received a rating. It appears that developers can have their say as well. Developer comments will be labeled as such in order to distinguish them from the general player base if they respond to a specific review, according to Valve.

All in all it looks like an interesting expansion and consolidation of the previous recommendation system, especially considering a portion of the game reviews will be visible on their respective store pages. This new placement invites participation, but as with any new social feature, the users now get a chance to make it their own and will ultimately define how useful it ends up being. For the full FAQ on Steam Reviews, go here.