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Review manipulators aren't as sneaky as they think they are, warns Valve

Review manipulators aren't as sneaky as they think they are, warns Valve

June 15, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

Valve has long warned devs against artificially inflating the reviews for their own games on Steam and, as Valve’s Giardino reminds developers, the rule-breaking practice doesn’t have as many benefits as some devs may believe. 

Following Positech Games founder Cliff Harris’ hypothetical example of why review manipulation is an attractive (but illicit) avenue for developers to take, Valve’s Tom Giardino popped in to explain why faking reviews is actually an entirely bad idea altogether. 

Harris points out that, generally speaking, a developer could purchase numerous copies of their own game and use alternate accounts to leave positive reviews to bolster the game’s overall score. He notes that this leads to legitimacy concerns with online review systems since review scores “cannot be taken seriously without some heavy duty verification" its reviews are legitimate.

While Harris didn’t specifically call out Steam as one of those concerning platforms, Giardino replied to the tweet with some insight into how Valve has handled past review manipulations on its platform. 

“We ban games and partners all the time for this. It’s really easy for us to see when you do, even if you do it slowly,” wrote Giardino. He goes on to explain that, even if a developer is able to artificially inflate their review score, that “user reviews don’t broadly correlate to sales or visibility the way developers assume they do” anyway.

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