What a week this has been! On Tuesday morning I (and many other frustrated indie devs) woke up to discover that Steam’s latest update took a chainsaw to the user reviews for our games on the marketplace.
In a nutshell, under this new policy, any user reviews left by someone who did not directly buy the game through Steam, are no longer counted in a game’s overall review average score. They can still be left, but they’re buried deep in a series of menus. That’s…errr…a load of horse feces, to put it plainly.
So basically this means that any dev-generated codes, any Kickstarter keys, and even any Steam keys obtained through legitimate purchases on other platforms (i.e. the Humble Store or Itch.io, for example) are not counted in the reviews system.
I’ve got some strong feelings on the matter. But rather than ramble on about it here, I wanted to share some excellent articles that dig into the issue.
- Here’s the initial news article that explains the who, what, where’s, etc.
- Gamasutra contributor Joel Couture also wrote up an excellent feature on the dev response to this, which includes some of my own perspectives, a few quotes from me, and the impact this has had on my games. Honored/humbled, by the way, to be mentioned along some other really awesome devs!
- Here’s a thoughtful blog post from indie dev Josh Bycer that digs deeper into what this means for small studios.
- And here’s a great commentary column follow-up written by former Failbetter Games co-founder Alexis Kennedy over at Gamesindustry.biz.
Anyhoo, that’s all for now! I’ve got my head buried in a handful of cool projects. Will try to post more about what I’ve been up to very soon, though I wanted to take a quick second to share some interesting reading on this week’s Steam hullabaloo.