Microsoft adjusts Xbox 360 Indie games rating system

Microsoft has made adjustments to the way in which Indie games are rated and promoted on their Xbox LIVE! Arcade service. The old system used to allow anyone to go ahead and vote on a game, no matter whether they had actually played on it or not, this meant that a number of companies were falsely inflating their position on the charts and how they were being featured on the Microsoft service.

One of the main benefits for the Xbox LIVE Arcade Indie setup was that it would allow small time developers to create a game cheaply, get it up and running on the console and then have users who bought the game rank it, so in theory, the cream of the crop would land up at the top of the ratings board. This hasn’t happened here though and is just one of many issues developers have been having with the Indie Marketplace recently.

The change now means that only Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers can rate Indie Games via Xbox .com, though this could mean that the rating system is still open to abuse as once again, users don’t actually have to have played the games themselves.

In an update on the XNA Game Studio Team Blog, Microsoft sent a message to the set of indie developers stating:

"We’ve heard your feedback and have made some changes to the ratings system on Xbox.com. Starting today, only users with Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions will be allowed to rate content on the Xbox.com website. By implementing this change, we believe our customers will experience more consistent ratings and a significantly reduced potential for abuse across the entire Xbox catalog. We have also investigated rolling back suspect votes, however, we determined it will not be possible to do this."

The company also said that they are now “investigating users who may have violated their user agreement during this series of events” which could now result in users/developers being banned from Xbox LIVE and having their games removed from the service.

It is a step in the right direction for the indie developers; though whether it will improve the service in the long run is anyone’s guess.

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13 Comments

I believe it represents an 'Independant Game/Developer' i.e Not a corporate body, but usually in most cases a person who creates games/apps out of their spare time.

WTF...
Why not just implement a checking system for how long you played it?
So fake ratings would require lots of Xboxes, lots of time, etc...

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,
WTF...
Why not just implement a checking system for how long you played it?
So fake ratings would require lots of Xboxes, lots of time, etc...

GS:mac

Yeah, it isn't like Microsoft doesn't have this data for everyone with a LIVE account. Silver or Gold, it doesn't matter. The gamer tag has all your recently played games. Your LIVE account knows what you have downloaded. Am I missing something? Why shouldn't it be this simple?

Shadrack said,

Yeah, it isn't like Microsoft doesn't have this data for everyone with a LIVE account. Silver or Gold, it doesn't matter. The gamer tag has all your recently played games. Your LIVE account knows what you have downloaded. Am I missing something? Why shouldn't it be this simple?

Only games you have purchased go on the achievement list and get recorded as played. On that same note though they should be able to tell if you downloaded the demo...

Why not make it so only owners of the game can actually rate it. This seem more of a ploy to get people to go gold membership vs making the rating system accurate.

To be honest, while it is disappointing this happened, it is pretty much the industry standard. Half the reviews at newegg, amazon et all are from people that never bought the things from those stores or who trolled the reviews. They should enable a "was this helpful" type thing to rank up/down the appropriate reviews from obvious trolls like amazon does

blahism said,
They should enable a "was this helpful" type thing to rank up/down the appropriate reviews from obvious trolls like amazon does
On Amazon, there are a lot of humorous, irrelevant reviews that get tons of upvotes. Review ranking doesn't solve the problem. A bunch of people can just create new Amazon accounts and spam upvote the review/game, similar to what happened to Xbox Live.

Just stupid. Simple. Buy game, play for set amount of them, can now vote. That simple!

And with amazon, buy product, have owned product for set amount of time, can now vote.

Who buys games based off a website's reviews (Amazon). Gamers get the demo, play it see if they enjoy, then buy. If there isn't a demo they go to an actual gaming site/forum with tons of people that have bought it already for reviews to see if they may like it.

Either way, I like WAR's comment

Rating system is worthless to begin with. Most of the indie games have almost no rating at all. Just download the trial and if you like it, support the developer.

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