In a post on the official Steam blog, Valve announced a major change to how Steam reviews are presented. The changes are all focused on highlighting newer reviews for Steam titles. According to Valve, the issue is that older reviews may not accurately reflect the current state of the game. A number of PC titles these days receive significant patches that can make or break a title and Early Access games in particular can change drastically from their initial launch.
"While there are plenty of new reviews posted every day, we saw that it was often difficult for newer reviews to be seen and voted on enough to become listed as most helpful," explained the company in the blog post. "As a result, the most helpful reviews presented on a store page would often describe an outdated view of a game that might have changed dramatically over the course of Early Access or post-release development. By listing recently posted reviews more prominently and by defaulting to recent helpful reviews, Steam can now show a more current idea of what it's like to play the game now."
"Another problem we identified was that review score that appears at the top of a product page didn't always reflect the dynamic nature of the game," said Valve. "To address that, we've now added a Recent review score that calculates the positive percentage of reviews within the past 30 days (as long as there are enough reviews posted within those 30 days and as long as the game has been available on Steam for at least 45 days). The overall score is still present as well in case you still find that information helpful."
Valve outlined a few other smaller changes, including a new Summary section for reviews and an additional checkbox allowing owners to disclose if they received a game for free. The changes don't currently address others issues like review bombing, but it does allow players to get a clearer view on a game that may have changed. Valve has always acknowledged that it's review system is always evolving, so it's good to see the company tackle the problem of reviews that don't reflect the current game.