Is Steam fudging reviews?

The new Call of Duty:Black Ops game dropped last night at midnight. It pops up on Steam as being available now for the low, low price of $79.99.

I click on the store page and I see that it is getting ‘mixed’ reviews. Reading some of the reviews, it seems that the game is suffering from lack of optimization. Not too different from the recent Batman debacle. It seems that the game ran better in beta then it does in release.

I started scrolling through all the reviews and I did not see one thumbs up. ALL reviews by Steam users are negative. How can Steam possible justify the ‘mixed’ review tag on the store page?

If it ran better in beta, then there might well be positive reviews from that time. Steam is probably averaging over all reviews to give the “mixed” tag, but it’s showing you the most recent ones first, and it would take more scrolling than you did to get to the good ones.

Given the unfinished state so many games are released in, Steam oughta aggregate reviews by time period. Maybe reviews within 3 months of release, and reviews afterward, something like that, and give a summary of what the consensus view of the game is for each post-release/post-DLC period.

It’s annoying to pay full freight for a buggy release, and consumers should have that info, but it’s the reality of games now. They’re all a work in progress, so maybe early negative reviews shouldn’t be allowed to “haunt” a game forever.

$79.99? Are you in Australia perchance? It shows up as $59.99 for me (or $99.99 for the deluxe edition).

Anyways, Steam shows 54% reviews as being positive, with 1044 positive and 866 negative. The default list is “most helpful” which is just a simple yes/no vote on whether a review is helpful. So if all the people giving it negative reviews then also band together to upvote other negative reviews, all the “most helpful” ones will be the negative ones. If you sort by “recent” it’s a more even mix. I’m guessing you merely scrolled through the default list.

By default, Steam will not show reviews that are not in your native language. There may also be users who are Roman emperors: give a thumbs up or down without saying a thing.

Even if they don’t, people might well tend to upvote negative reviews that steered them away from a hot game more than positive reviews that didn’t tell them anything that wasn’t in the marketing hype.

Yeah, by all accounts the devs are actually doing something. they just released a patch that seems to have fixed things for most people.

But those reviews that are upvoted more should count more. Those are essentially people agreeing with the reviews.

Not necessarily. A review that says “This game looks great if you have an up-to-date system, but unfortunately tends to slow down a bit on a two-year-old system because of all of the beautiful graphics” is a helpful and mostly-positive review. A review that says “This game is teh suxxor, and if u lik it ur dumb” is an unhelpful and negative review. If I have a five-year-old computer, I’m going to choose not to get the game (and hence “agree” with the second review), but I’m still going to consider the first review much more helpful.