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News video games 12 May 2023, 15:19

author: Sonia Selerska

Free Hack'n'slash With Fake Reviews on Steam? They Sound Like Advertisements

Internet users have launched an investigation into suspicious reviews on Steam. The results of the investigation are not optimistic.

Reviews on Steam, for some, can be one of the most important sources of information about video games. In theory, they are a reliable collection of opinions from users of the platform, who have no reason to distort the picture of products. A new event spotted by Internet users breaks this image.

Suspicious comments

Yesterday, user Jacksaur published a post in the Steam section of Reddit, in which he draws attention to suspicious Torchlight: Infinite reviews.

The author of the post drew attention to a series of comments that had a lot in common:

  • All of them were published on the same day.
  • The owners of the accounts from which the reviews were published allegedly spent an almost identical number of hours (about 118.5) in Torchlight: Infinite.
  • Each of the reviews is similarly lengthy and extremely complimentary, praising individual elements of the game in a sophisticated manner.

For those who have spent enough time on the Internet, the situation seems to be quite simple:

"Torchlight: Infinite getting false reviews? So many three-line reviews that read like segments from an advertisement," titled his post user Jacksaur.

The amount of similarities noticeable in recent comments on the page of the F2P hack'n'slash, which had its official release just a few days ago, points to the use of paid bots.

The purpose of such services is usually to try to raise the overall rating of the game, in a way that mimics natural feedback. Assuming that was relly the case, the bots failed to achieve their intended goal - the average of Torchlight: Infinite's ratings remains "mixed."

Free Hacknslash With Fake Reviews on Steam? They Sound Like Advertisements - picture #1

Ways to combat a dangerous trend

After digging deeper into the situation, the author of the original post decided to share another dose of the information he found:

I was put off by the accounts in question having a fair amount of games... Until I noticed they all have around 500, and share a lot of similar titles, pretty much all bundle fodder. Torchlight Infinite is the only review any of them have made too.

It wasn't long before more users joined the discussion.

"In addition, all of these comments appear to be generated by A.I. Almost all of them follow the same pattern of "the game ______ is _______ and _______," wrote user Burninator05

Commenters, for the most part, have no doubts about the Torchlight: Infinite reviews being fake and have begun to encourage people to report them.

"In short: yes, these are fake reviews from bot farms and you can report them and Steam will remove them. However, you will have to report them (Steam doesn't like to do that).

I once had to hire a marketing guy, and one candidate bragged that he was a "certified buyer of paid Steam reviews," wrote user GameUnionTV

This event seems even more interesting in light of the the newly updated rules and regulations of Steam, part of which discusses the topic of guidelines for posting player reviews.

If we are convinced that the comments in question on Steam bend the truth in any way, we have the option to report them. Still, in a situation where players finding alleged bots have to discuss the situation in external forums, it seems that the existing system leaves much to be desired.

Torchlight: Infinite

Torchlight: Infinite

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