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I think we should have a review system.

A topic by Wild-Dog created 80 days ago Views: 571 Replies: 57
Viewing posts 1 to 10
(+1)

Especially on games with a price-tag.

Moderator(+1)

Itch.io does have a review system, where users can give up to 5 stars and include a comment with their review. Is that what you meant or are you talking about a different kind of review system?

(+1)

Maybe he mean to make the review visible to the visitors

I mean I don't remember ever seeing users's review here, or maybe it was just me...

There are games I can't comment on though.

(1 edit) (+4)

If you can't leave a comment then to me that is a huge red flag in itself...

I (figuratively) go out and buy a cake every time someone comments to celebrate the occasion.

I don't think it should be optional.

listen to him ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️

Moderator

Yeah, please try to avoid necroing threads without adding anything to the discussion


@Dark Dimension is right

Itch.io does have a review system, where users can give up to 5 stars and include a comment with their review. Is that what you meant or are you talking about a different kind of review system?

see?

yes, but those review aren't really public, aren't they? They're only visible to the developer or if you follow the reviewer. The only way to have public written reviews (also visible to the outside public) is to write a comment. Which is a separate action from the review prompt. That seems inefficient. Couldn't the rating system+the comment section be grouped together? Couldn't the system prompt me to rate & comment when I try a game? Isn't it better marketing for the game if its page is full of comments? A game might have been reviewed 20 times but if its page has no comment I'm strongly inclined to think no one cares about it. Don't creators always say every little comment helps, even if it just say "good"?

And for those people worried they might get intentionally hateful reviews if they're public, the comment section could always be disabled.

Is the current review system really benefiting creators and customers? Since it's not public, what happens if you follow people that never review games?

(some personal glossary just so we're clear

rating: a purely numerical point system, in our case represented by stars

review:  text whose purpose is informing a potential customer of the value of an item. By this definition, one-word reviews also count)

(1 edit)

yes, but you can review the game to the public by suggesting the current game in the Itch.io's community

Sure, but would that appear on the game page? No. Think like a customer. When you buy something from amazon what's the first thing you check: the reviews at the bottom of the page obviously. Would you buy an amazon product with no comments?

If I happen on a game page, as a customer, i'm not gonna look in the forums to see if that game is any good. I'm going to look for comments on that very page. And if someone has written a review through the prompt, but I'm not following them, I won't even know there's a review! Bottom line is: while we have a review system, I don't think it does a lot to make people buy games, and therefore it doesn't really help creators. It could be improved on

no I would try it for myself and you can try linking it to the page

There's legit games that are 30$, would you spend that much on a game that could disappoint you?? Do you really think the review system is perfect as is? I mean it works, but I wouldn't say it's optimal

(+1)

ok can you please accept the review system Itch.io has now?

Admin

Please try to post in the right place in the future.

Admin moved this topic to Ideas & Feedback
(+2)

Most games have a comment field, you can leave a review there, or a comment.

You would make some of the less popular developers really happy if you left a comment on their games as it means someone played that game and cared enough to comment.

(1 edit) (+2)

Yes, comment always make people happy... then why aren't comments and reviews the same thing? When I review a game the prompt asks me how many stars I want to give it and to leave a review. But that review won't be published in the comment section, which penalises the developer as they won't receive publicity for it. Of course I could leave a comment instead, but why then is the system asking me to leave a review? That's the core of the discrepancy for me, as a user that wants to support small creators.

(+1)

Good point. A comment could be outlined as a review with a checkbox.

(3 edits) (+1)

Itch.io already have a review system, but it's visible only to developers (I believe it's to avoid abuse from competitor devs). Actually it's the developers who benefit (or not) the most from reviews in my honest opinion, not the customers.

I had a terrible experience on another store, which I told past month on "My Life as an Indie Dev" I'm publishing on my personal blog. A competitor dev published a negative review (which also affected my sales during the release) while promoting his own game on this same review (Spam). My game was in second place of the popular new releases, then it left the top popular releases thanks to these dishonest exploits.

I understand that reviews are useful for buyers to make their choice and also believe that it's not everyone who exploit this, but hey, why do we have game demos and refunds then? A customer can't decide for him/herself if said game is for him/her or not? Besides, it's not because someone's else disliked a game that everyone should dislike it as well. Mega Man Legends and Chrono Cross are my most beloved games, but have a considerable hater base.

(4 edits)

In the first place, platforms tend to discourage customers from abusing the refund system and "taste-testing" games with it. Most games don't have demos anymore either.

Instead of having the ability to connect with your customers, use their feedback and foster a strong relationship, you'd rather they just take  their money back? Seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

(3 edits)

Wild-Dog, this is what Itch.io review system already do for developers. This system is a customer-to-developer only communication feature which avoid third parties to interfere with any bias on it. It's the perfect way to create strong customer-to-developer relationships. Honestly saying, I didn't got your point here.

Also, it's a customer right to have their money back if they dislike a product.

If developers don't create demos for their games, or don't know how to use these tools well to build a good audience, they are at fault here and should rethink their marketing strategy.

(1 edit)

Your point is that you want to throw away public reviews/comments because you think it blindsided your game.

Mine is that they can create a sense of trust and community that's invaluable for those who know how. They're also more reliable than refund systems and demos.

Your point is that you want to throw away public reviews/comments because you think it blindsided your game.

Wild-Dog, why do you believe my point to be this?

Mine is that they can create a sense of trust and community that's invaluable for those who know how. They're also more reliable than refund systems and demos.

And why do you believe reviews that are open to public (and usually developers can't directly reply to them) can create a sense of trust between the community and developers?

"A competitor dev published a negative review (which also affected my sales during the release) while promoting his own game on this same review." 

But if your games are actually good and you connect with players and make them feel heard, they'll sing your praises and outweigh the couple bad reviews. That's part of why public reviews can be so useful.

"(and usually developers can't directly reply to them)" So you agree they'd be better if they allowed a more open relationship between developer and player?

(3 edits)

Wild-Dog, I agree with you, but that's not what usually happens through open reviews from my own experience and observations.

Do you know how many downloads my games have? And how many of these persons never cared to rate my games? Saying they are bad are not an excuse, they could give a "poor rating" if it was the case. Most (actual) players don't use the rating system, or the review system either, from most stores.

Who really will benefit from this change?

Sometimes games don't have that many reviews. That doesn't make them much less useful.

If I had interest in one of your games, I assure you I'd be far more likely to buy with 1 or 2 reviews even if one of them was bad than with none.

Same with products on amazon.

Why do you think that way?

(1 edit) (+1)

Because there's no human or "honest" element without reviews. Without reviews, all there is is a box for the developer or company to toot their own horn.

If at-least one person (who doesn't sound like a bot) reviews a product, I instinctively feel better about the product and creator compared to without reviews.

(+2)

I see, you make a good point. Then, the review system in itch.io was intended more like a feedback system, while the comment section is more akin to what customers use for reviews (or what other sites would call reviews).

(+1)

I think that's how it should be. Something to send direct feedback and something to talk about the game with.

(1 edit)

Wild-Dog and dw4i2, Itch.io also have the integrated community for games. If that's the case, you can use it to discuss the game with other players as well. Also, the rating (1 to 5 stars) is also visible to everyone besides the developer.

If you don't mind me to ask, what you understand as "review"? Which meaning this word have for you and what it should be used for?

(+1)

A visible comment others can see, usually about the game's quality that gives feedback and inspires discussion or purchasing decisions.

(2 edits)

In theory, yes, but from my own personal experience and observations, no.

Did you ever heard about "mob mentality"? Things can get nasty for a developer that can't afford to use it at his/her own favor (those who are usually  working alone) and falls in the hands of someone who's not well-intentioned and want to strike his/her work through reviews.

Besides, we already have the game's community for this, no?

And you're saying you've been a victim of mob mentality? A small-time indie dev like yourself?

What are your true intentions with this comment Wild-Dog?

You don't seem like you have much experience on itch.io and you've only got one game to your profile. What experience do you have dealing with "mob mentality" when there's so little to attract a mob's attention here?

(+3)

Wild-Dog, if I were on your place (like I once was) I would think the same way as you now and I can't judge neither condemn you for that.

My blog is in PT-BR, but you can use the Google Translator tab to view it on your own language. You can check my whole history as an indie dev there. The last chapter (Chapter X) where I tell my experiences with a game which achieved second place on Steam store is there.
https://alyssonlneto.blogspot.com/2021/04/o-pagode-do-sucesso.html

This game's now available for free here on Itch.io on my old company profile (which is also showcased on my own profile here):
https://cleanwatersoft.itch.io/porradaria-2

I also studied a lot about Psychology to become a teacher during my Math Licentiate Degree course and delved further into this science by my own, specially because of marketing strategies, and I have 7 years of experience working as a professional indie dev who solely lived of his games.

Hopefully this will clarify your doubts and misconceptions about myself.

Have a nice day!

(+2)

Ok, fair enough, I'm naive. With "review" tbh, I was mostly thinking "positive comment that would help increase the popularity of the game". Of course reviews can also be negative... but I never saw people really trashing each other for indie games so... I didn't think about it. Anyway, the deciding factor for me when I consider getting a game is its page, which includes the comment section. And from now on I'll just leave a comment, no problem. I'll never leave reviews in the "review" prompt, just ratings. As is, that text box might as well not be there, is the ultimate feedback I'd give to those in charge of this site.

(+1)

dw4i2, if I'm not wrong, your reviews also appear on you profile feed for those who follow you.

Also, it's not everyone who gets trashed "for free", only those who suffer some kind of prejudice for some reason. Here on Itch.io I never saw this type of conduct, but on a particular competitor store, it's looks like an war zone. Small indie games from devs who doesn't belong to their private circle doesn't seem to be welcome there.

There's a developer (that's also an Youtuber and is friends with other developers who also harassed me) who trashed one of my most well know games on his channel and incited a lot of hate on me before, I got tons of negative reviews bombing, insults, etc. I wrote about this experience on my blog (in PT-BR, but you can Google Translate the text with the translate tab).

You can check my post here if you wish:
https://alyssonlneto.blogspot.com/2019/09/ninja-brasileiro-no-castelo-do-pagode....

I really love Itch.io for what it is and I hope it keeps supporting all developers as it currently does.

(1 edit) (+2)

yes they do, but comments also appear to outside users! People who don't have an account here. So... I think comments are better?

What you describe does seem like mob mentality, which is common on the internet... but I'm not sure the review system is what's truly protecting developers here. Ill-intentioned people could still leave a negative rating AND a negative public comment... although that'd require 1 step more and thankfully people are lazy. I'd say one of the reasons there aren't many negative comments around is that... it's harder to get popular? maybe? idk, not an expert at all. I also very much like how friendly is itch.io to small creators and hope it stays this way.

dw4i2, if developers notices people are abusing from the comments on their page, they can either completely remove it, or change to a community based project, which is much better than having negative comments on the store page degrading their work. The Itch Team was really smart to think ahead about these possibilities.

Itch.io is a great place to publish games, but it's not everyone who can make it to the top, so it's more likely to happens with someone who's outstanding somehow, which awakens all sorts of feelings on direct competitors.

These countermeasures can't prevent harassment at all, but it can hinder most attempts and save any developer from massive review bombing consequences in the future.

I recently added a "Feedback" section into all our games. Its not used very much to be honest. If you want feedback from players for your games, you need to offer them something like free items or in game currency.  A website is also a great place for your players to give you feedback. 

I disagree. I think comment sections are often used to ask questions, request features or give feedback.

Complicating that process by forcing players to email you or create an account on your third party website will obviously bottleneck feedback.

I agree forcing web site registration etc to post feedback can be a issue. However, you need to give users options or multpal ways to post feedback. However, users will rarely give you feedback unless they get something in return. I recommended a website as one way because its not platform specific. 

(2 edits)

I think if you have to incentivise them to give feedback with anything but your presence of mind, you probably don't want their kind of feedback in the first place.

It sounds like you're trying to cater to people who just try games willy nilly without a care.

If you have a game worth looking at, an immediately available comment section is all you need.

There are an incredible amount of potential pitfalls in a review system. And in fact, the one currently in place, the 1-5 star rating system is imminently abusable. That quality would be easily shared with any other proposition, and frankly, not likely to be helpful. What little utility they have is covered by the comments section. Games with a disabled comment section are usually doing so for good reason, and if not, simply avoid them.

The extent to which I would feel comfortable exploring a review system is this outline:

Reviews can be left independent of the comments, and cannot be disabled. Devs and users alike can report reviews, though developer input is placed on a fast-track so as to make sure a developer can get abusive reviews removed post-haste. These are, in essence, a text post. There is no built-in rating system, no stars or thumbs up or down. Thus they have no sway in discoverability. There is a minimum word count (fairly low) to prevent people from useless commentary like "bad game" or "hella fun." Separate from the review system, you can recommend a game. This adds the game to an auto-generated public collection, so it can be shown on a profile page, and an optional search feature would let you search for games with the most recommendations first. There is no "thumbs down" or equivalent, to avoid abuse, review bombing, and brigading.

(1 edit) (+1)

I'm sorry, but there's no world in which consumers implicitly trust in the quality of products without reviews.

Absolutely, I'm not expecting them to. In my stated vision, reviews are still very much a thing, they just require a little more engagement from the reader, as opposed to the up-down rating system of Steam (which is, I think, better than a sliding scale system, but still not perfect).

The idea is that reviews aren't fast-tracked to a positive-negative value, and instead require some thought and effort from the reviewer, and some thought and effort with the reader engaging with the review.

(1 edit)

Crunchyroll has a minimum word count when it comes to reviews, and I disapprove of it. You can circumvent it with invisible characters anyway.

Sometimes you don't need to say much.