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Steamworks Documentation
User Reviews

Overview

Users that have recorded playtime on your product on Steam can write reviews and indicate whether they recommend your product to others. These reviews may appear on your product's store page and in the Steam Community, depending on how many other users find that review helpful. The aggregate of positive and negative reviews is used to calculate a review score which is also displayed on your store page, giving an overview of how customers have reviewed your product in the last 30 days and over its lifetime.

Reviews are an easy way for customers to share their experience with your product, and to describe how your game or software has matched their expectations. Customer expectations can be set any number of ways—through the marketing on the product page itself, through gameplay videos or stills, and through pre-release copies sent to press, etc. It can be helpful to use reviews as a feedback channel to understand if expectations are being set and met correctly.

Developer Usage Rules

We’re pretty confident in the data we’re getting from user reviews on products across Steam. As such, we don’t see customer benefit from individual developers or games soliciting reviews from customers. Along those lines, below are rules for things you shouldn’t do with regards to user reviews:

  • Don’t attempt to abuse or artificially manipulate the review system.
  • Don’t solicit reviews in exchange for any games, DLC, money, or other rewards. The exception is sending a copy of your game to press or internet personalities to get previews or reviews.
  • Don’t ask customers to review your product from within your application.

Steam User Guidelines

We ask Steam user review authors to adhere to the same guidelines that we have for any Steam Community content (such as discussions or comments). You can read the guidelines we hold users to when writing reviews here: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=4045-USHJ-3810

If there are reviews for your product on Steam that violate these guidelines, please use the developer flag to bring that review to our attention as described in the moderation section below.

Review Display

  • Early Access: Once a product fully releases from Early Access, reviews from the Early Access period will be marked on the store page.
  • Free Reviews: When leaving a review, customers may specify if they acquired a product for free. This is recommended for press or promotional copies.
  • Pre-Release Reviews: If someone receives a copy of your product before release (usually via a release-override key) and writes a review, that review will be marked as a "Pre-Release Review."
  • Review Score: At the top of the store page are two review scores - one from the past 30 days, and one for the product's lifetime. Only purchases (not key activation) are included in the review score.

Moderating Reviews

We work hard to maintain Steam as a safe place for customers and developers, but we need your help in identifying cases of abuse, harassment, or violation of terms. Below is information on our set of tools available to developers for moderating reviews.

Flagging Reviews

There may be some cases where reviews contain inappropriate material, such as scams, harassment, or are otherwise abusive. They are also occasionally reviews that are entirely off-topic and don't relate to your product at all or that violate some Steam Guidelines. There are a couple of reasons why you may want to flag a review:

  • The review is abusive or contains abusive language.
  • The review is off-topic or not a review of the game, software, or the service.
  • The review violates one or more of the Rules and Guidelines For Steam: Discussions, Reviews, and User Generated Content.

Flagging should be reserved for clear-cut cases. When in doubt, just allow the users to down vote the review and use the report tool. In most cases, reviews that are off-topic won't be rated as helpful by customers and thus will not appear to many users.

To flag a review:

  1. Click the "Recommended" or "Not Recommended" headline of a review to open up the detail view of that review.
  2. You will find a orange section in the right-hand column for "moderator controls" where you will see a drop-down for flagging the review.
  3. Select "Abusive" if the review contains a scam, harassment, or is otherwise abusive to Steam users.
  4. Select "Off-Topic" only if the review doesn't relate to your product or the service you are providing. An example is if the review talks about ice cream instead of your strategy game.
  5. With either choice, you will get a confirmation dialogue. Then select "OK". Steam Community Moderators or Valve Employees will then review flagged reviews and delete or unflag as appropriate.

Responding To A Review

There may be cases where the reviewer has incorrect information about your product, or may have encountered a bug that has since been resolved. To help keep the community on-track, we have provided tools for developers to respond directly to such reviews.

This response will be visible to anyone who can see the review and will be marked as an official response from the developer.

To reply directly to a review:

  1. Click the "Recommended" or "Not Recommended" headline of a review to open up the detail view of that review.
  2. You will find a orange section in the right-hand column for "moderator controls" where you will see a link for "Write Official Developer Response."
  3. Once you click the link, you will be provided with a text field to enter your response. Please remember to keep it clear and concise.
  4. This response will then appear immediately below the related review and will be visible to anyone that can see the review.
Though it may be tempting, not every review needs to be responded to. A developer response will frequently draw more attention than the original statement, potentially turning a small issue into a much larger community discussion.

API Access to Reviews

You can make an API call to get programmatic access to user reviews within a certain date range, or meeting certain criteria. Learn more here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I'm a game developer. Can I respond to reviews?
A. Yes, when you post in the comments of reviews on your product, your comment will be flagged as being from the developer.

Additionally, you can use the specific provided area to leave a developer comment that will appear more prominently.

Q. I'm a developer. Can I delete reviews of my product?
A. Not directly. If you find abusive or offensive reviews written about your product, you can flag it as spam/abuse. The review will continue to be listed on your store page, but locked from editing until a moderator can either delete the review or remove the flag.

Q. My game or software has changed a lot since it launched. Will reviews reflect that?

A. The reviews that are shown most prominently on your store page are selected from recently-written, helpful reviews, which should reflect the current state of your game or software. Older reviews will phase out over time and any reviews written during Early Access will be labeled as such.

Q. Do customers need to have purchased my game in order to write a review of it?
A. Purchase is not required. Customers may write a review for any product they have launched via Steam. Whether that customer registered a Steam key obtained elsewhere, participated in a Steam Free Weekend, played a Free game, or played a game via Family Library Sharing, they will be able to write a review for your product if they have playtime. The customer's playtime in that game or time in that software title will appear next to their review.

Q. Can customers write a negative review?

A. Yes. If customers are unhappy with the product, or don't believe that it is delivering on what it promises, they may write a review and tell other customers why they do not recommend it.

Q. Can customers report abusive reviews?
A. Yes, similar to other content shared on Steam, each review will have a 'flag' button to report offensive content or spam.

Q. Some customers are basing their review on DLC practices or data not related to the game. Is that allowed?
A. Yes. Steam reviews tend to be a reflection of how happy customers are with the game itself as well as the value proposition, the business practices, and the experience of being part of that game’s community. This is all valid feedback and a reflection of how customers feel about the experience provided by your game.