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
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.