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Randy Pitchford about review-bombing on Steam: "makes me want to reconsider Gearbox Publishing’s current posture on the platform"

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Sean Mirrsen

Member
May 9, 2018
814
I wonder if Steam can add a new class of review - a "customer complaint system" of sorts. Reviews are used to judge the quality of a game, complaints would be a permanently visible (but temporarily active, say for a month or three) negative feedback system that would fulfill the need to have a way for customers to voice their displeasure at company-level decisions, without affecting the actual review score on a fully permanent basis. I.e. you'd still have them drop the overall review score, but only for a time, and they would exist in a class of their own similar to the current classification of "off-topic review bombs", but without the (effectively) censorship.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47665929
Brexit: Petition to revoke Article 50 passes 5.7m signatures

Case in point.
And yet neither a 5mil+ petition, nor actual protesting on the streets, helped against Article 13.

These things, they come and go - especially when it concerns things on the internet.
 

JoeInky

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,103
Just don't buy the game, because we all know the best way to make sure your voice is heard is to say nothing at all.
 

Mbolibombo

Member
Oct 29, 2017
3,458
User Warned: Driveby, antagonising other members
Steam fanboys are the worst, theyre really worse than console warriors ever was.
 
Oct 29, 2017
726
Publishers don’t like review bombing because it works. It’s a form of protest. It’s okay if a protest inconveniences you slightly. As if ‘the sanctity of user reviews’ can even be considered an actual inconvenience to anyone anyway
 

CloudWolf

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,093
Review bombing games that aren't even the one under scrutiny is bad and dumb, zerg rushing developers' social media is obviously bad and basically harassment, sending customer support e-mails seems like they'd just get chucked in the bin, simply not buying a game is an incredibly ambiguous signal that doesn't tell developers what's the actual problem that made you not buy it, petitions are wank. If there's a good option for a large group to voice their displeasure in a case like this, I'd love to hear it.
I feel like the one thing that will clearly show the issue is if as soon as the game releases on Steam the sales increase dramatically, showing exactly what percentage of players the game left behind by not releasing on Steam.

That said, "gamers" are notoriously bad at actually sticking to 'boycotts', so let's see what happens.

Personally I'm not buying Afterparty or The Outer Worlds until a year after release because even though I love the devs and am looking forward to the games, I do not agree with the publisher delaying the Steam release with a year just because Epic threw a bag of money on their table.

The ironic thing for me is that if I had a choice (and the Epic Store was actually decent and not missing features) I would perhaps even buy the games on there because of the difference in cut for devs/publishers. I've chosen to buy multiple games that are also on Steam on GOG, because GOG is just a better platform.

However, I truly disagree with the way Epic is doing business now and that just completely sours me on buying any game off their store.
 

Talus

Member
Dec 9, 2017
1,096
"make petitions"
Good one lol.
"make yourself heard the least possible"

This is why I cant take this industry seriously. There's like a collective stockholm syndrome where the big companies with billions of dollar of power are the victim.

Review bombing never made reviews useless because review bombing is so rare that it doesn't impact the whole system. It does make noise because it impacts big games.

It's funny how people dont want people to use reviews as a way to complete yet want to supress every way to communicate.

I know, the perfect way would be that the industry could only communicate through one way that would be a PR way.
Oh please...

Review bombing DOES make those overall reviews worthless. You say it's so rare.. but now that people have weaponized it against company actions, it will become more prevalent in the future, for sure.

I want reviews to accurately reflect user opinion of the quality of the product, not the fact that some people got mad because a company did something with an unrelated game that they don't like.
 

Alexandros

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,745
To the detriment of the real reason for the review feature to exist and for customers to make informed decisions.
Yes. Sometimes there is a need to get a message across that supercedes the original purpose. The same thing happens in all facets of everyday life. There are innumerable examples of people using an otherwise unrelated opportunity in order to protest against something. It happens all around us literally all the time and it's a practice that dates back to ancient times. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, provided that the reason for the protest is a valid one.

You guys are making it painfully obvious that your only reasoning for truly caring about having a review system or not, is so that you can actively do this when a publisher/developer doesn't do what you want them to, and not about providing accurate information regarding the game in question.
Is there any reason it can't be both?

If you actually cared about the integrity of user Reviews, you would find another avenue. Claiming there's no other ways for your voices to be heard.. on the internet.. is ridiculous. The thing is... Steam is also affected by this. Review bomb good past games as a new game in a series comes out... and you're actively reducing the money Steam will make from those games.
Four things. First, I care more about my interests as a customer than preserving the integrity of a user review system. Second, letting other customers know that "hey, the creator of this product is involved in practices that you might not want to support" is improving the integrity of the system, not compromising it. Third, following your train of thought that there are multiple ways of spreading and getting information on the internet, you can very well do the same if you feel like Steam's review system isn't up to your standards and take advantage of the myriad of other review outlets in order to judge the quality of the game. Fourth, you have no saying in what kind of avenues I choose to voice my protest through.
 

Death Penalty

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,830
Oh please...

Review bombing DOES make those overall reviews worthless. You say it's so rare.. but now that people have weaponized it against company actions, it will become more prevalent in the future, for sure.

I want reviews to accurately reflect the quality of the product, not the fact that some people got mad because a company did something with an unrelated game that they don't like.
There are lots of professional reviews you can turn to for this, especially because these days you can't count on professional outlets to fight for consumer interests.

I hate the idea of taking away one of the few avenues players have to complain in a way companies have to pay attention to.
 

Jakisthe

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,340
Don't agree with review bombing, but lol at him trying to play the victim. Surprised he didn't get ratio'd, but of course some "people" just like to see others suffer and aggressively not understand any of the obvious, tangible issues at hand. I saw some idiot referring to it as a debate, as though EGS vs Steam is even remotely equal and not simply "obviously bad" vs "obviously good".
 
Oct 29, 2017
726
Oh please...

Review bombing DOES make those overall reviews worthless. You say it's so rare.. but now that people have weaponized it against company actions, it will become more prevalent in the future, for sure.

I want reviews to accurately reflect user opinion of the quality of the product, not the fact that some people got mad because a company did something with an unrelated game that they don't like.
Just read the reviews. It’s such a non-issue I honestly cant take you seriously
 

GhostTrick

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,565
Oh please...

Review bombing DOES make those overall reviews worthless. You say it's so rare.. but now that people have weaponized it against company actions, it will become more prevalent in the future, for sure.

I want reviews to accurately reflect user opinion of the quality of the product, not the fact that some people got mad because a company did something with an unrelated game that they don't like.

It makes it so worthless it's still the most effective way for smaller games to get word of mouth.

You're acting as if review bombing was widespread and was about all the reviews. You can always read the damn reviews and just ignores the obvious review bombing.
 

Talus

Member
Dec 9, 2017
1,096
There are lots of professional reviews you can turn to for this, especially because these days you can't count on professional outlets to fight for consumer interests.

I hate the idea of taking away one of the few avenues players have to complain in a way companies have to pay attention to.
I think there's a way where players can have that avenue, but also not affect the integrity of reviews for an unrelated product.
 

ThisIsBlitz21

Member
Oct 22, 2018
2,496
This time, I actually agree with Randy. Review bombing needs to rectified ASAP. We dont need more situations like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, where entitled gamers were pissed the game went on sale. Shameful.
 

GhostTrick

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,565
I think there's a way where players can have that avenue, but also not affect the integrity of reviews for an unrelated product.


The product will be fine, dont worry. Stop worrying about the revenue of Take Two, GTAV sold over 100 million units just a few weeks ago.

It impacts the integrity of the "recent" score. Why do you care if it shows variable ?

All you have to do is scroll down. Heck you can select to show only negative or positive reviews. From there, you start reading.
 

Death Penalty

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,830
I think there's a way where players can have that avenue, but also not affect the integrity of reviews for an unrelated product.
At this point in time, there really isn't. If you truly care so much about the integrity of user reviews, you can just read the actual content of the reviews and ignore the ones for the supposed non issue. Alternatively, as I suggested, you can keep to the professional outlets that won't let such things into reviews they write. The fact is there are plenty of places you can still find feedback unclouded by this influence but not a lot of places consumers can send a meaningful message to publishers and devs. The idea that user reviews were ever even a sanctuary of reason and objectivity in the first place is laughable anyway, so I don't know what you're trying to preserve here.
 

Deleted member 43077

User requested account closure
Banned
May 9, 2018
5,741
user reviews are abused and doesn't encourage devs to release on the platform :O

ill pretend to act surprised.
 

Sean Mirrsen

Member
May 9, 2018
814
I saw some idiot referring to it as a debate, as though EGS vs Steam is even remotely equal and not simply "obviously bad" vs "obviously better".
Yep. It's the reason why the whole "playing the victim" thing is so idiotic. "We only took a paycheck to take the game away from your preferred platform in favor of a much worse one and wanted to make you pay us more and possibly not be able to buy the game at all, how dare you mildly inconvenience us in return!"
 

Talus

Member
Dec 9, 2017
1,096
Oh, so you admit review bombing is effective ?
Effective yes... but also fucks up reviews for good unrelated games.

If a game sucked to begin with, the "bombing" would be less effective, wouldn't it? This actively hurts GOOD games more than bad games... and those good games deserve their rating. And I want developers of good games to succeed. That should be obvious.

See my post above as to what I think they could do.
 

Paul_Str337

Member
Oct 27, 2017
191
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47665929
Brexit: Petition to revoke Article 50 passes 5.7m signatures

Case in point.
Not sure this is the best example. Article 50 still hasn’t been revoked?

I do think Randy’s comments were a little rash, would you really abstain from one of the biggest game marketplaces available? That said I can’t stand it when people are so beholden to the monopoly of Steam that they perceive any competition as ‘the enemy’. It certain joy doesn’t seem like Valve are doing anything to inspire undying loyalty from game devs.
 
Nov 8, 2017
4,243
If you haven't figured it out by now... my point is that more people DON'T read the reviews... they look at the "overall opinion".. which is why review bombing is effective.
But since the off-topic review system excludes these scores, it doesn't even matter. Years old games are being briefly impacted by the protest made by people who own the game before the system makes the reviews opt-in. Peopel may want to see what the fuss is about once they're told it's under attack, at which point they are made away of whatever the bombing is about by reading the reviews.

Randy Pitchford's feelings seem to be the main thing under threat.
 

Death Penalty

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
1,830
Give developers a score based on how well they support the customers. Much like game reviews, allow people to review the pub/dev separately which brings to light issues that customers are having with them, from games, to service, to support.
EA gets voted worst company on a regular basis, and none of this effected them as much as targeted backlash against specific titles. A "dev score" divorced from the games they're trying to sell seems like a really limp measure, unless we're going to put that score alongside the score of every game they try to sell.
 

Kyougar

Member
Nov 3, 2017
4,221
I wonder if Steam can add a new class of review - a "customer complaint system" of sorts. Reviews are used to judge the quality of a game, complaints would be a permanently visible (but temporarily active, say for a month or three) negative feedback system that would fulfill the need to have a way for customers to voice their displeasure at company-level decisions, without affecting the actual review score on a fully permanent basis. I.e. you'd still have them drop the overall review score, but only for a time, and they would exist in a class of their own similar to the current classification of "off-topic review bombs", but without the (effectively) censorship.


And yet neither a 5mil+ petition, nor actual protesting on the streets, helped against Article 13.

These things, they come and go - especially when it concerns things on the internet.
Not sure this is the best example. Article 50 still hasn’t been revoked?

I do think Randy’s comments were a little rash, would you really abstain from one of the biggest game marketplaces available? That said I can’t stand it when people are so beholden to the monopoly of Steam that they perceive any competition as ‘the enemy’. It certain joy doesn’t seem like Valve are doing anything to inspire undying loyalty from game devs.
I was agreeing with you :)
 

Alexandros

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,745
Give developers a score based on how well they support the customers. Much like game reviews, allow people to review the pub/dev separately which brings to light issues that customers are having with them, from games, to service, to support.
But you just said that publishers and developers would never agree to that.
 

IIFloodyII

Member
Oct 26, 2017
11,321
I think there's a way where players can have that avenue, but also not affect the integrity of reviews for an unrelated product.
I don't think think they are unrelated though, you can and millions have, buy all but 1 Borderlands game on Steam, people making a stink because they are being told to wait longer if they want to buy the next entry on their preferred platform because that other platform paid us to do it, isn't really surprising.
Though I guess if you actually put weight behind user reviews, it can be annoying.
 
Oct 29, 2017
726
Some of these posts are basically just ‘we should ban protests because they can be slightly disruptive’ and frankly it’s pretty gross
 

Talus

Member
Dec 9, 2017
1,096
It's a great first step. Sad that they have to implement it at all though. I don't think good games should be bombed because people don't agree that a developer changed stores for their new game. Sorry, but none of this justifies that for me. It just actively hurts the games that WERE released on the platform of choice.
 

OmegaDL50

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,057
Philadelphia, PA
Would those be considered review bombing if those reviews were actual issues with a game? I thought review bombing was referred as things that aren't an issue with the game itself. I think there's a difference between, say, alot of people giving Monster Hunter World a bad review because it was legitimately broken, vs review bombing Total War for adding more women.
My stance on reviews in particular have always been stated plainly

The point of a review is to judge the merits of the product itself to educate other buyers if the game may align to their tastes in the type of game they may like to play. Not to be used as a platform to lambast the dev or publishers for something that has nothing to with the quality of the game eschewing the reason for giving a review in the first place. This is especially true against cases where people are buying, then refunding later just to submit a negative review.

I've seen review bombs of for unrelated games entirely because group of people have an issue with the publisher or specific development house. Using a good example Creative Assembly did some changes for Total War II when they added Woman Generals to the game. As a result not only was Total War II review bombed because of this issue but other CA developed games.

It wasn't the fact that Total War II was a good or bad game. It entirely became about a message decrying the fact some folks didn't want women to represented with a position of power. This is the problem.

The worst case I've seen was racist review bombs.

It's one thing to criticize the game for performance issues, DRM, removal of modding. These things affect the game, how it plays, can be detrimental to performance or remove options. Racist, sexist, or unnecessary attacks that have nothing to do with the game. These are sorts of "review bombs" that don't deserve a place.
 

kageroo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,220
Reviews are meant to be an effective way of judging the quality of the game in question, and whether or not that game is for you.
Yet it counts as "review bombing" if you rate the game badly because of poor DRM, because it's "not relevant" according to Steam...

The whole system is a joke and it shouldn't really matter why people rate something badly, in the end taking these reviews out of the equation is always anti consumer.
 

IIFloodyII

Member
Oct 26, 2017
11,321
Well they already don't agree with user review bombing....
I don't even think they do, they probably only have a problem with it being visible on the game page, like we pretty much never see a publishers react to Metacritic user reviews getting review bombed, despite them clearly caring about the MC critic score.
 
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