Developers Say Bethesda Responding To Starfield Reviews Is “Becoming Industry Standard”

Developers Say Bethesda Responding To Starfield Reviews Is Becoming Industry Standard

Date: November 29, 2023

By Hanna Rose

“Bethesda is doing wrong, but Steam heavily encourages responding to your reviews.”

Yesterday, Bethesda was observed engaging with negative reviews of Starfield on Steam, countering criticisms such as the prevalence of loading screens and expansive but seemingly barren planets. While these responses have garnered criticism, many developers argue that such interactions are becoming commonplace as Steam now actively encourages direct replies.

Xalavier Nelson Jr., a BAFTA-nominated writer known for works like El Paso, South Park: Snow Day, and Hypnospace Outlaw, explained, “For those unfamiliar, this is becoming an industry standard. Due to the significant impact of Steam ratings and the demonstrated ability to sometimes sway negative reviews by simply engaging with users, this practice is gaining traction. Bethesda, being a major player, is just a notable example.”

Dillon Rogers, creator of Gloomwood and developer of DUSK, commented, “We’ve been doing this for a few years now. Many users will change their review if you reach out and inform them that you’re addressing the issue or assisting with bug resolution. It genuinely affects the algorithm.”

James Bartholomeou, PR manager at Thunderful Games, added, “Bethesda may be handling it poorly, but Steam strongly encourages responding to reviews.”

However, Bethesda’s approach has been distinct. Rather than addressing negative reviews by pledging fixes or offering assistance, the company chose a different route. For instance, when a user expressed boredom with the empty planets, Bethesda responded, asserting that these planets are intentionally designed to be empty and arguing that it contributes to the intended experience of making players feel small and overwhelmed.

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The controversy around this trend is evident, especially as major publishers adopt this strategy. Bethesda, in particular, faces criticism not for merely responding but for the manner in which it chooses to do so, deviating from the norm of acknowledging and addressing user concerns.

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