Mar 232011
 
About 5 days ago, I noticed something odd. After hanging out around the #6 top rated slot for a month or two, our game’s rating started to drop very quickly. In less than a week, we went from being #6 top rated to our current spot of #11.

I did a little investigating and it turns out that 5 days ago, the “College Lacrosse | The Video Game” Facebook page (which has about 175,000 fans) requested help from its fans to raise the ratings of their games. Now, there’s nothing wrong with asking your fans to rate your game positively, but it looks like some of their fans were overzealous and started 1-starring other high rated games in attempt to make it easier for the Lacrosse games to rise through the ranks. Now for something like Z0MB1Es which has over 50,000 ratings, a sudden influx of 1-star ratings isn’t going to do much, but since our game has been out for less than 3 months and only had around 1500 ratings, it affected us big time and we dropped 5 ranks. It affected our earlier game a bit as well – whereas before it was going back and forth between the #4-5 slots, now it’s #6. In contrast, the Lacrosse games which were in the middle of top 20 best rated (I don’t remember the exact positions) are now ranked #4 & #5.

Now I have no idea how this sort of thing could be prevented, but I’m really upset. We were really hoping that our upcoming patch would give our game the little push it needed to finally stabilize in the top 5 rated. Now, it looks like we’ll be lucky just to get our old rank back.

 Posted by at 8:16 am

  9 Responses to “Lacrosse fans manipulating the XBLIG rating system”

  1. whats the page in question? I can’t find it. Just found this broken link for the game’s facebook page.

    http://www.facebook.com/collegelacrosse2010

    There are ways to detect these shenanigans and prevent a sudden influx of bad votes from being counted. Many websites with rating systems do this. Good luck seeing it implemented on XBL anytime soon though.

    The good news is that as your games get more votes it will continually reduce the effects of their sabotage until it doesn’t affect the rank very much. As long as you remain on the top downloads list your rating will slowly gravitate to what it was before.

  2. Doesnt hurt to follow suit as well, get your fans onto facebook. Far as I am concerned, this is a good example of how powerful facebook can be for indie games.

    But, yeah, I do consider that a low blow. I hope microsoft can help you.

  3. how about turning the tables and gathering force to do the same for your actual 5 star worth games?

  4. Don’t worry, I have a small Cthulu Saves the World cult going in my dorm. As most of them don’t have Xbox 360s, they’re anxiously awaiting the PC release.

  5. I didn’t think one could rate games when it wasn’t actually purchased. That is a little bit surprising. I’m pretty sure I rated both games at 5 stars, but I feel for you.

  6. What a bummer. Definitely report this!!

  7. That’s a good suggestion. Done.

  8. Do you encounter less ratings for your games after MS removed the rating function from the game library? I hate that!

  9. Have you informed Xbox Live Enforcement of this abuse of the system? Try tweeting @XboxSupport and @Stepto.

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