Epic Games has finally introduced a rating system to its online store, and it’s designed to prevent waves of negative user reviews from happening at once, a practice better known as review bombing.
Instead of allowing someone to rate a game they own, random players who have played a game for more than two hours will be asked to rate the game on a five-star scale, according to one blog post from Epic’s Craig Pearson† Those scores are then collected to create the “Overall Rating” for each game.
Occasionally, review bomb campaigns can: point out legitimately harmful consumer practicesbut they are often used in bad faith to protest against a creator who takes a political stance or as the media in question includes people from marginalized backgrounds† Movie sites like Rotten Tomatoes have had to make changes to deal with trolls who bomb reviews to mediocre success. Recently, Disney Plus’ Obi-Wan Kenobi used to be review bombed when Disney and Lucasfilm condemned racist attacks on cast member Moses Ingram. Valve has also been dealing with the issue, announcing in 2019 that it would be hiding off-topic review scores.
Epic believes that rating implementation will prevent rating bombing and not be too burdensome for players. “Because these requests are random, we won’t spam our players and we probably won’t ask about every game or app used,” said Pearson. “This approach protects games from review bombardment and ensures that people who assign scores are real players of the games.” But fighting review bombing campaigns is a huge challenge for many tech companies — even Google has systems to remove bad faith reviews — so we’ll see how Epic’s approach works in practice.
Epic will also randomly poll players about their most recent play session to help generate tags for products in the Epic Games Store.