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Valve removes publisher from Steam after review score manipulation

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Last year, we saw some review bombing incidents on Steam and Valve stepped in, implementing measures to stop things like that from happening. In terms of review bombing, the User Reviews for a game on Steam gets extremely negative, quickly.

On the flip side, there is also an issue of review score manipulation where people who might be invested in a game (or even those who created it) try to make the game’s user review score more positive, thereby also enhancing their sales, because who’s going to buy a game that has a negative rating?

An email (as posted to Reddit), which is reported to be sent from the CEO of Insel Games Ltd., sent to employees in December 2017, instructed employees to purchase a copy of the publisher’s hack-and-slash MMO Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan and give it a positive review. The email also noted that “neglecting the importance of reviews will ultimately cost jobs”.

Valve saw this report on Reddit and initiated their own investigation into the claims, at which point they identified unacceptable behaviour. Therefore, Valve has ended their business relationship with the publisher. Read the full announcement as posted on Steam below.

It has been recently reported on Reddit that the publisher for this game, Insel Games Ltd., have been attempting to manipulate the user review score for their titles on Steam. We have investigated these claims, and have identified unacceptable behavior involving multiple Steam accounts controlled by the publisher of this game. The publisher appears to have used multiple Steam accounts to post positive reviews for their own games.

This is a clear violation of our review policy and something we take very seriously. For these reasons, we are ending our business relationship with Insel Games Ltd. and removing their games from our store. If you have previously purchased this game, it will remain accessible in your Steam library.” - Source

It is good to see Valve take action and that the publisher’s review manipulation was uncovered. Let’s hope more of that type of behaviour, if there is any, gets found out, because nobody wants that on Steam.

ICYMI: Check out our top 20 picks from the Steam Lunar Sale going on right now, because you can rest assured that those games are well worth your time and money.

What do you think about this incident of review score manipulation? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sources: Steam, Reddit

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