Review bombing is the term used to describe leaving intentional negative user reviews just to harm a game, and not an actual review of the product. It has recently become a major problem on platforms such as Steam. The most recent example of this would be on 2012’s Borderlands 2 after it was announced that Borderlands 3 will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store for six months upon its release. After one of the Borderlands 3 devs noticed the spike in negative reviews on Steam, Randy Pitchford, head of Gearbox, weighed in on the subject.
Ironically, that this misuse is possible and that Steam has no interest in correcting this misuse makes me kind of happy about 2k’s decision and makes me want to reconsider Gearbox Publishing’s current posture on the platform.
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) April 5, 2019
Since then, after announcing they’d start combating review bombing last month, Valve has removed a plethora of negative “off-topic” reviews from the past week for the game.
Borderlands 2 is the first game on Steam to make use of the “off-topic reviews” marking. Over 4000 reviews are excluded from the rating calculation. pic.twitter.com/kUMN0Lqdx3
— Steam Database (@SteamDB) April 6, 2019
Review bombing has become a major issue on PC since Epic Games started securing exclusive games for their fledgling online storefront. This is even still a problem despite the company recently stating that their exclusivity deals won’t last forever.
Borderlands 2 isn’t the first game to suffer from review bombing on Steam following Epic securing exclusivity for a sequel either. Entries in the Metro series suffered the same abuse after Metro: Exodus was announced as an exclusive for the platform. This is even despite Steam users still receiving their copies of the game prior to the exclusivity deal being signed. Review Bombing is one of the main reasons as to why Epic Games will allow developers to opt into the use of user reviews on the platform.