Devs react: Valve's Steam key crackdown
Earlier today Valve broke the news that Steam reviews left by anyone using a key will no longer count towards a game's overall or recent score.
The company said it was forced to make the change as it's now too easy for rogue developers to artificially inflate review scores using keys.
Although Valve said some fraudulent reviews are "clear and obvious," it admitted that detecting when developers are abusing the system has become increasingly difficult. With that in mind, it's decided to cut them off at the source.
It's a decision that's been met with mixed feedback from all corners of the industry, with some suggesting the move has been made with the Steam community's best interests in mind, and will do more harm than good in the long run.
Others, namely developers who're already feeling the impact of having positive reviews snatched away overnight, have expressed frustration at being put to the sword by the tech giant.
Smaller devs in particular feel hurt by the move, and they're clearly disappointed that Valve offered no protection to those who've given away legitimate keys through third-party stores and initiatives such as Itch.io, Kickstarter, and Humble.
To give you a sense of the general mood right now, we've rounded up a selections of opnions shared on Twitter:
This new Steam reviewer policy has dropped Shardlight down from 115 reviews to 64. That's pretty crazy.— Francisco Gonzalez (@GrundislavGames) September 13, 2016
I think it was a good decision to block score botting on Steam. Won't fix all problems of course, but it's a start. https://t.co/uRYZGlGXXl— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) September 13, 2016
This is a daft move, but I can't really get mad at Valve. The whole process of selling digital things is so deeply absurd.— Jonas Kyratzes (@JonasKyratzes) September 13, 2016
@glassbottommeg We lose many positive reviews on Dropsy, but also lose most of the 0.1hrs-on-record-"I hate clowns" type reviews. Mixed bag— Jesse Bull (@PylonCorp) September 13, 2016
That's me probably going out of business then. My crowdfunders and direct sales were how I hoped to improve my score pic.twitter.com/pvxXGQhweL— Simon Roth (@SimoRoth) September 13, 2016
So, Steam cut our review count for Legacy of the Elder Star by more than 50% today. B/c we weren't struggling enough already, apparently. :|— Josh Sutphin (@invicticide) September 13, 2016
This #Steam reviews malarky is hugely unfortunate :( Sad that Crowd Source backers / externals can't contribute and towards scoring and such— Steven Taarland (@StevenTaarland) September 13, 2016
Valve pulling Steam key driven reviews: I think they've overstepped the mark too. However I think they've done it consciously. 1/4— Alexis Kennedy (@alexiskennedy) September 13, 2016
Historically they've often made a dramatic change, watched the effects, and then pulled back , calibrated or added a refinement. 2/4— Alexis Kennedy (@alexiskennedy) September 13, 2016
I'm not saying it was right - I am saying 'don't panic', although I appreciate this is small comfort if your score has just dropped 10% 3/4— Alexis Kennedy (@alexiskennedy) September 13, 2016
When I think of Valve I think of the HG Wells line about 'intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic'. Stupid, they're not. 4/4— Alexis Kennedy (@alexiskennedy) September 13, 2016
..."let's stop players abusing reviews" is disingenuous. Way more of the latter, in my experience. (2/2)— David Pittman (@dphrygian) September 13, 2016