Valve is changing the way Steam user reviews are displayed to better indicate how games evolve -- for better or worse -- throughout their lifespan.
With early access titles proving as popular as ever, and with patches and updates letting developers reshape and tweak the way a game plays, Valve is trying to ensure customers know what sort of experience is being served up days, weeks, and months after launch.
To do that, Valve says it will be "better exposing" newly posted reviews by listing them more prominently, and making sure any reviews listed as "most helpful" have been posted recently.
"While there are plenty of new reviews posted every day, we saw that it was often difficult for newer reviews to be seen and voted on enough to become listed as most helpful," explained Valve.
"As a result, the most helpful reviews presented on a store page would often describe an outdated view of a game that might have changed dramatically over the course of early access or post-release development.
"By listing recently posted reviews more prominently and by defaulting to recent helpful reviews, Steam can now show a more current idea of what it's like to play the game now."
Valve will also be tweaking the way review scores work. Previously, the company determined an overall score by calculating the percentage of all reviews that were positive.
Now, however, the company will be adding a rolling "recent review score" based on the percentage of positive reviews submitted during the past 30 days. This will be displayed alongside the overall score.
"Another problem we identified was that review score that appears at the top of a product page didn't always reflect the dynamic nature of the game," continued Valve.
"For that review score, we'd previously only been compiling an overall score using a simple calculation of the percentage of all reviews that were positive. This let us be really transparent in how the score was being calculated, but didn't accommodate cases when a game has changed a lot (for better or worse) over time."
Other minor updates include the addition of a checkbox that lets reviewers disclose whether they received a free copy of a game, a "summary" review tab that highlights the most recent reviews, and the ability to access all reviews, irrespective of language.