Review Bombing Is Gross, games benefit from genuine online reviews

Online user reviews now play a crucial role in our decisions about what products to buy, what TV to watch and what games to play.

But after the initial enthusiasm, many platforms pushed them back. Netflix star ratings and written user reviews are a distant memory, and even YouTube no longer displays how many dislikes a video receives.

Negativity in particular is a no-no. Instagram and Facebook will allow you to “like” a post, but if you don’t like it, they don’t want to know. Steam, the world’s largest distributor of PC games, has also been plagued by negative reviews, particularly coordinated negative campaigns known as “review bombardment”.

However, in recent research published in Internet and Higher Education, we submitted a video game for community review. After thousands of players and hundreds of reviews written, we’ve found that user feedback, handled properly, can lead to significant improvements.

Examine the bombing

One of the reasons community reviews have become less popular is the rise of “review bombing”, the coordinated practice of leaving large numbers of negative user reviews on a game or product in order to reduce their overall review score.

Most incidents of bombings seem to stem from more than not enjoying a game. They can be driven by an ideological disagreement with game content or a dislike of a developer’s actions.

Other times, this activity is automated by bots to remove media or send a warning to companies. To take an example, a game review YouTube channel called Gamer’s Nexus recently reported that one of its scam videos received a coordinated “hate” attack.

Gamer’s Nexus comment on the automated review bomb. Also, did you notice that only similar numbers are visible on this message?

Is deleting reviews the solution?

When community reviews work, the consumer benefits by getting real information from users of a product.

On YouTube, for example, dislike removal makes it difficult to quickly assess a video’s quality. This is particularly important information for DIY or craft videos.

Removing dislikes also makes it more likely that a viewer will be caught off guard by a clickbait or tricked into watching a video that doesn’t host the promised content.

When the system works

Our new study shows the benefits of community journals. This shows how, when treated with care and objectivity, community feedback can contribute greatly to the development of a game.

We created an educational game called The King’s Request for use in a medical and health science curriculum. The goal was to garner more feedback than we could get from the students in our classes, so we released the game for free on Steam.

Of the 16,000 players, 150 provided written reviews. We analyzed this feedback, which in many cases provided ideas and methods, to improve the game.

The King’s Request: A game that has been improved for learning through community reviews.

This is an example where feedback from the gaming community, while opinionated in many cases, can genuinely help the development process, to the benefit of all stakeholders involved. This is particularly important because “serious” or educational games are an increasing component of modern curricula.

Censoring community reviews, while the goal is to prevent misinformation, makes it harder for developers and instructional designers to receive feedback, for viewers to receive quick insights, and for paying customers to receive feedback. have their voice.

What future for community opinions?

The trend has been to remove negative reviews from the community. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki defended the removal of dislike counts earlier this year, and Netflix appears to have no interest in reducing its rating system to five stars.

However, not all outlets follow this trend. TikTok has tested a dislike button for written contributions to allow the community to filter out unnecessary posts.

TikTok claims that once posted, it will drive genuine engagement in the comment sections.

And the Epic Games Store, a competitor to Steam, recently implemented a system of random user surveys to keep feedback from the community while avoiding review bombardment. Google has also tried new things, finding some success in battling bomb reviews with artificial intelligence.The conversation


Christian Moro, Associate Professor of Science and Medicine, Bond University and James Birt, Associate Professor of Computer Games and Associate Dean of Engagement, Bond University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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