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Steam Responds to Review Bombing by Changing User Reviews

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It seems like the previous incident with Firewatch and Pewdiepie has caught the attention of Valve. Through a blog post the company underlines a few changes that are going to be done to user reviews. These changes are meant to stop the effectivity of what’s known as “Review bombing”, regardless of circumstance.

Why is this a big problem according to Steam? According to the blog post, “one thing we’ve noticed is that the issue players are concerned about can often be outside the game itself.” The problem comes by the fact that the reviews are meant to the product in general. And according to Steam developers, things such as something the developer has said online. Choices the developer has made in the Steam version of their game relative to other platforms. Or simple distaste towards their political conviction/stance aren’t relevant.

Remember when I completely skipped the DRM issue with Sonic Mania and proceeded to review the game as is? It wasn’t until the DRM was cracked that I talked about the issue because I believed that a DRM issue shouldn’t hold back what’s an otherwise good game. That’s the approach Steam is taking towards the issue of Review bombing.

“When it comes to the Review Score itself, however, it’s even less clear that these out-of-game reasons are relevant. When we look at what happens with the Review Score after a review bomb, we see that it generally recovers, in some cases fully back to where it was beforehand.” Then, the blog adds the following. “This implies that, while the review bombers were unhappy with a decision the developer made, the purchasers of the product afterwards were often as happy with the game as the players before them.”

This was something I wanted to talk about in a scrapped Op-ed regarding Pewdiepie and his fanbase. Because it seems like they thought that review bombing Firewatch’s Steam page would lower sales or something. While it did nothing but change the review score average from “Mostly positive” to “Mixed”.

Valve looked at many ways to solve the issue. One of them being locking off people from reviewing for a period of time. But this isn’t a solution they’d want to take. “We didn’t like the way this ultimately meant restricting the ability for players to voice their opinions. We don’t want to stop the community having a discussion about the issue they’re unhappy about, even though there are probably better places to have that conversation than in Steam User Reviews.”

So, the solution now is to implement graphs that are going to reflect how much the Steam reviews have changed over time. Each game page now contains a histogram of the positive to negative ratio of reviews over the entire lifetime of the game. This solution aims to make customers decide whether or not the reasoning for a review bombing of a game is their concern or not.

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This doesn’t really fix much except giving the potential buyer a choice of whether or not they find reviews relevant. Which really is something a lot of people do by default (I know I do). Since User Reviews are really depending on the “Mood of the audience”, it’s not that hard to find that the review system isn’t really accurate to determine if a game is really good or not.

I’m sure there are better ways to address these issues. Ones that keep the discussion afloat without relying on a score given by the community. But the best we can do is wait and see what happens.

I always wanted to be a journalist who listens. The Voice of the Unspoken and someone heavily involved in the gaming community. From playing as a leader of a competitive multi-branch team to organizing tournaments for the competitive scene to being involved in a lot of gaming communities. I want to keep moving forward as a journalist.

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Are you eagerly anticipating what Absurd Ventures has in store for us in the coming years

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Activision has recently announced the establishment of a new studio, Elsewhere Entertainment, located in Warsaw. The studio has been entrusted with the exciting challenge of creating a groundbreaking AAA franchise that will captivate players with its immersive storytelling and innovative gameplay. A significant number of employees were let go by the large corporation after the completion of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King earlier this year.

According to IGN, Activision made the announcement in a blog post, sharing that the team will be based in Poland with additional resources in the US. The studio has assembled a team of highly skilled individuals who have worked on acclaimed titles such as The Last of Us, Uncharted, The Witcher, Destiny, Far Cry, and Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Activision’s response to IGN’s request for a studio logo or official artwork was rather unconventional. Instead of providing the requested materials, they sent over the Cambridge University dictionary definition of the word “elsewhere.”. However, with a discerning eye, one may catch a glimpse of something lurking in the background. The publication acknowledges that, whatever it may be, it has no connection to Call of Duty. Elsewhere Entertainment has been granted full access to Activision’s extensive resources and cutting-edge tools, enabling them to further enhance their production and development capabilities. We may have to wait a while before we find out what they have in store for us.

Curious about Activision’s latest venture, Elsewhere Entertainment? Opening a new studio after numerous layoffs—is it a tasteless move or simply another harsh reality of the video game industry? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Rockstar Co-Founder Dan Houser is currently working on the development of an exciting new ‘Open World Action-Adventure’ game

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Last year, we reported that Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser had launched a new studio called Absurd Ventures, with the aim of developing original IP for all platforms and formats. The new outfit has recently started development on a game that boasts top-notch combat and third-person action in a variety of game modes.

This information is available, as Eurogamer discovered, from a recent job listing on the developer’s website. The company is looking for more people to join their team and contribute to an “open-world action-adventure game.”. According to Eurogamer, it seems that the project they are working on is still in its early stages. They are currently in the process of hiring for important positions like lead designer, lead gameplay designer, art director, and technical director.

Absurd Venture is dedicated to crafting immersive narrative experiences across a wide range of mediums, such as games, animation, books, graphic novels, live-action, and scripted podcasts. Their mission is to create captivating worlds, compelling characters, and engaging stories that span diverse genres. The former vice president of writing at Rockstar, who co-wrote both Red Dead Redemption games, has recently joined the studio. Additionally, Lazlow Jones, a former writer and producer at Rockstar, has also come on board.

Are you eagerly anticipating what Absurd Ventures has in store for us in the coming years? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Assassin’s Creed Shadows, the physical version, requires an online connection for installation

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Players who choose to go with a physical copy of the recently announced Assassin’s Creed Shadows will need an Internet connection in order to finish the installation. This is unlikely to pose a problem for most Ubisoft fans, but it does align with a trend that is worth mentioning. It follows a requirement that was initially introduced in 2023’s Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and will also be the case with the upcoming Star Wars Outlaws.

As reported by VGC, pre-orders for the game are now available, and a notice on the front box art at retailers such as Best Buy and GameStop states: “Internet connection is necessary for game installation.” For Avatar, players had to install a day-one patch before being able to start the game. However, both Shadows and Outlaws come with a warning prominently displayed on the front of the box.

The lack of a clear explanation for this requirement raises concerns about the long-term preservation of the game, particularly if the servers are eventually shut down. In December, Ubisoft made the decision to delist the original The Crew, effectively ending its run. This unfortunate event may not be the last time we see a game meet a similar fate.

What are your thoughts on Ubisoft’s requirement of an online connection for the installation of its flagship games? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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