"The whole way Steam handles reviews is so brutal and backbreaking to developers.”
- One developer shares their concerns over how Steam reviews can go awry
Polygon has put together a detailed story on the current state of Steam, combining the opinions and experiences of 20 game developers to assess how the massive digital games platform is doing for developers in its current state.
The full story runs through issues with Steam’s review system, regional pricing, and overall developer support, making it an insightful read for game developers looking to compare and contrast their own experiences with the platform.
Some developers talk about how difficult it can be to get Steam to remove frivolous or downright malicious reviews, despite how crucial that coveted ‘Mostly Postive’ review rating can be for games on the platform.
“I’ve flagged negative reviews where someone was saying they wouldn’t recommend the game because our online service had its own EULA,” one anonymous developer told Polygon. “I flag them. The ticket gets rejected. Then I mail my Steam rep with a list. The rep says ‘it’s your responsibility to maintain open communication and properly set expectations, and you won’t have a problem with negative reviews.’”
Others point to issues with Steam’s regional pricing system that automatically sets a price for a game in multiple regions at once, with many of those developers saying that Valve’s policy of recommending pricing strategies based on our experience” ends up putting games at deep discounts without their knowledge.
Most of the developers Polygon spoke to were unaware that the system even existed. Opinions vary between those that did: one developer recalled losing out on a publishing deal after discovering their game was selling at a discount in one region, while another notes that Valve’s style of regional pricing helped boost their worldwide sales.
The full story on Polygon contains developer opinions on more of Steam’s offerings as well, including varying thoughts on if the 30 percent cut Steam takes out of every purchase is justified by the services the platform currently offers.