Home Gaming Steam’s going to fight review-bombing with…graphs

Steam’s going to fight review-bombing with…graphs

2 min read


User reviews can be problematic. While they’re fantastic for getting a bit of insight into what fellow gamers think of a game, they’re subject to abuse. Online communities who become enraged over a business practice instead of a game itself often take to “review bombing.” They’ll leave negative reviews on a game en masse as an act of protest.

It’s something that’s most recently happened with Campo Santo’s Firewatch, which is an excellent game. After Campo Santo filed a DMCA complaint against PewDiePie following his racist outburst, his army of fans has bombarded the game’s Steam page with negative reviews.

Here are a few, in a sea of similar reviews:

“I loved this game, but the developers have broken my heart. I cannot support such downright scummy, hypocritical developers. This review stays until a public apology is issued.”

“just another walking simulator, no point of paying to play this game. go watch someone on youtube play it like pewdiepie…oh wait”

“Copyright strike my negative review. It’s just one more DMCA. Anyone that defends this company’s actions are misinformed. The game itself is alright and for 10$ or less I think it is a good buy. However supporting a developer that would ruin let’s plays is something I cannot in good conscience do. If I could return I would but unfortunately the only thing I can do is try to inform others of the shady practices of this company and urge you to not give them anymore money.”

There have long been calls for Valve to implement something to combat review bombing, and they finally have. When games are suspiciously flooded with reviews, the game’s Steam page will show the strange activity, along with a histogram.

Says Valve UI designer Alden Kroll in a blog post.

“One thing we’ve noticed is that the issue players are concerned about can often be outside the game itself. It might be that they’re unhappy with something the developer has said online, or about choices the developer has made in the Steam version of their game relative to other platforms, or simply that they don’t like the developer’s political convictions. Many of these out-of-game issues aren’t very relevant when it comes to the value of the game itself.”

On the Firewatch user reviews page, you’ll find this message: “High Volume of Negative Reviews Detected: Sep 11 – Sep 16.” You can then choose to exclude reviews from this period, or only show reviews from those dates so you can see if the negative reviews are justified.


Says Valve:

“Starting today, each game page now contains a histogram of the positive to negative ratio of reviews over the entire lifetime of the game, and by clicking on any part of the histogram you’re able to read a sample of the reviews from that time period. As a potential purchaser, it’s easy to spot temporary distortions in the reviews, to investigate why that distortion occurred, and decide for yourself whether it’s something you care about.”

Last Updated: September 20, 2017


  1. Ottokie

    September 20, 2017 at 08:33

    Well in the case of ARK, everyone loved the game and then the developers went and developed payed for DLC in early access when the base game was running with terrible optimization and bugs. So then they got negative review bombed. And I see that as fair. They got greedy and the fans stood their ground.


    • VampyreSquirrel

      September 20, 2017 at 08:38

      They’re still greedy though


      • Ottokie

        September 20, 2017 at 08:40

        I still trust the overall vote of steam users on a game. I have seen way to many dev’s get super greedy and scummy over time. That negative review bomb makes me aware of this so I can skip buying another NMS or Division.


        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          September 20, 2017 at 09:02

          You mean… pre-order… right?


          • Ottokie

            September 20, 2017 at 09:07

            NMS ruined pre order forever xD

    • Viking Of Science

      September 20, 2017 at 09:08

      ARK, even though it escaped Early Access, Still Runs like Trash Garbage, though, as per PC Gamer’s Benchmarking: http://www.pcgamer.com/ark-survival-evolved-is-the-new-crysis-of-pc-hardware/


  2. Magoo

    September 20, 2017 at 08:59

    Fair enough. At first glance I assumed that they would soft-sensor the flood of negativity. But that’s not the case and this seems like a good idea.


  3. Draco Lusus

    September 20, 2017 at 13:06

    I’m all for it, when you see the spike, you can go check the reason for it. Maybe it was a game breaking bug, or a DLC fiasco. Then you can make up your own mind about whether to go ahead and buy or not.


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