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Microsoft Rethinks Indie Rating System Following Abuse

| 19 Apr 2011 11:43
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The platform holder takes the first step towards fixing its broken rating system, but developers say more steps are needed.

A spate of rating sabotage that pushed a game way up the Xbox Live Indie Games charts - and several others way down it - has prompted Microsoft to change the way indie games are rated. Whereas previously anyone with an Xbox Live account - gold or silver - could rate any game he or she wanted, the new system restricts that privilege to just those with gold memberships.

The changes came after Cross Studio sent out a request on Facebook, asking fans to give its game, College Lacrosse 11, a good rating and push it up the Indie Games chart. Unfortunately for other developers, some of these fans got the bright idea to give bad ratings to other games, thus giving College Lacrosse an even greater boost. This only came to light after Cthulhu Saves the World developer, Robert Boyd, noticed that his game was suddenly getting a lot of one star reviews, and traced it back to Cross Studio's call to arms.

Microsoft said the changes to the rating system should go a long way to limit any potential abuse in the future. Unfortunately, it also said that it had looked into rolling back any suspicious votes, but was unable to do so. Microsoft stated that it was investigated any potential violations of the Xbox Live user agreements that happened during this incident, and that penalties for those found guilty could involve removal of privileges, or banning from the service altogether.

Comments on the XNA Game Studio blog suggest that indie developers are pleased with the changes, but think that there is more that Microsoft could do to prevent rating sabotage, such as restricting rating privileges to people who actually own the game in question.

Source: via EDGE

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