Valve slightly tweaks Steam's review system again

Key activation reviews will be shown by default, but still don't affect overall score.

Last week, Valve made a number of changes to Steam's review system in order to curb abuse. That involved removing from a game's overall score any review from customers who acquired games via key activations. This naturally irked a number of people, in particular developers accustomed to distributing keys following successful Kickstarter campaigns. The argument was that the most passionate fans were being removed from the metrics.

So Valve has tweaked the system again, albeit slightly, to include "all" types of reviews by default (taking in both "steam purchasers" and "key activations"). This means all reviews will be visible on a title, until the user filters either category out voluntarily. 

"One frequent piece of feedback we’ve heard regarding the recent changes is that it has become more difficult to find and read the helpful, articulate reviews written by customers that obtained the game outside of Steam," the update reads. "We want to make sure that helpful reviews can be surfaced regardless of purchase source, so we're making a change to the defaults. 

"Starting today, the review section on each product page will show reviews written by all users, regardless of purchase type."

The catch? Key activation reviews will still not factor in to the game's overall score. "This change doesn't impact the review score," the post continues. "Each game's score will continue to be calculated based only on customers that purchased the game via Steam."

As before, Valve is still tweaking the system. You can read the full post over here. Meanwhile, Joe spoke to a handful of developers last week about what the changes mean to them.


Shaun is PC Gamer’s Australian Editor. He loves masochistic platformers but lacks the skill and grace to complete them. He has four broken keyboards hidden under his desk, filed between an emergency six-pack of Reschs and five years worth of XXL promotional t-shirts. He stares out the window a lot.


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