Developers claim Xbox Live Indie Game ratings are being sabotaged

Xbox Live Indie Game developers are speculating that a group of individuals has been downvoting specific indie games in order to reduce their ranking on the Top Rated list. Specifically, Cthulhu Saves the World has plummeted in the rankings and developer Robert Boyd wrote yesterday on the APP Hub forums Well, our game is now rated 4.0 and in the 15th slot. A little over a week ago, we were rated 4.5 and in the 6th slot. Based on the numbers from GameMarx, it’s very obvious that we’ve received hundreds of 1 star ratings in the past week – that’s the only way that the math works out.” The game has since dropped down to number 20.

Microsoft acknowledged the issue on the official XNA Community Twitter feed and tweeted “We are investigating a possible misuse of ratings on #XBLIG titles. We’ll announce more information here as it develops.”

“This has definitely affected Epic Dungeon as well, dropping it from around 9th to 14th in a matter of days,” said Michael Muir.

The problem is that it is all too easy for a group of individuals to manipulate Microsoft’s ratings system. You don’t need to have purchased a game, played a game or even own an Xbox to create an account and rate games on Microsoft’s website. Those nefarious enough to do so could easily break this delicate system. Developers have posed possible solutions including restricting game ratings to only those who have purchased a game, and requiring game ratings be made through the Game Library on the Xbox Dashboard.

Developers initially speculated that the negative votes came from passionate lacrosse fans in reaction to a post on Triple B Games’ Facebook page requesting positive votes for College Lacrosse 2011. Carlo Sunseri of  Triple B Games Crosse Studio, publisher of College Lacrosse 2011, denied any knowledge of the downvoting and said  “It’s crazy they dropped entire star points.”

We have also contacted a Microsoft representative and are awaiting reply.

Update: Sunseri is from Crosse Studio, the publisher of CL 2011, not the developer.

Source: App Hub Forums

Posted on by Mike Wall in News, xblig, XBLIG News

About Mike Wall

Mike grew up and lives near Philadelphia and has been intrigued with games ever since his parents preached that they rotted his brain. He studied journalism at Penn State and got his master's degree in secondary education before realizing that not even summers off would make that job palatable. He now works in marketing and is trying to find time to continue writing a book about zombies, aliens, vampires, the end of the world, and a talking cat.

  • Daniel Robert Campbell

    Whoever organized this is a straight up prick. They need to be burned, shot, stabbed and rapped to death.

  • Kris Steele

    The picture confuses me… Are the Beasty Boys responsible?

  • Mike Wall

    They did it!!!

  • Charles

    As someone who has recently discovered the joy that is Indie games on the XBLA. Thanks in part to your wonderful site. I am disheartened by this story. I hope that Microsoft will take whatever measures necessary to help support this growing community of indie developers by fixing the problem now, before it escalates into a bigger problem.

  • Deeke S.

    You guys always do such great pieces, and I especially like this one–the quality of your journalistic articles are always entertaining and chocked full of information.

    I really like how you quoted Xbox Indie developers specifically and pointed readers towards certain articles for supplementary reading. This matter is discouraging to say the least, lets hope it gets rectified soon.

  • Dave Voyles

    “You guys always do such great pieces, and I especially like this one–the quality of your journalistic articles are always entertaining and chocked full of information. ”

    You can thank Mike for that.

    Well the news is a collaboration of different sources of information, so it’s appropriate and necessary that we give credit where credit is due. The GameMarx stats not only helps us to understand the situation better, but for the developers as well.

  • Dave Voyles

    Same here. They have a tight-nit community in XBLIG and it would be a shame to see something like this begin ti discourage others from approaching the platform, both as a gamer and as a developer.

  • Mike Wall

    Glad you like it! It’s fun when we get to write more about “look at this game coming out” or “look at this game that’s out.” But, most of the time if we’re not writing about those topics, it’s bad news!

  • Carl Van Ostrand

    Evil jocks, always picking on the nerds. Just because you carry a lacrosse stick doesn’t mean you have the balls to back it up.

  • Deeke S.

    Yeah M. Neel’s info is awesome and he does a great job on his articles–that’s actually where I heard all this first was on the GameMarx site. Mr. Neel is an integral part of the Xbox Indies Community–as are you guys of course–I’ve read most of the articles written on this subject.

    But I have to say your team always brings in a simplistic way and it’s always entertaining–especially with the whole Sabotage pic, heh.

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