Microsoft has made major changes to the ratings system for its Xbox Live Indie Games channel, after reports that users were manipulating individual game ratings last month. As of today only Xbox Live Gold subscribers can rate indie games on the service.
Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games (Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World) alleged manipulation on the Facebook page for XBLIG game College Lacrosse: The Video Game. The developer of the game had urged fans to provide 5-star ratings to boost the game up the XBLIG charts. Boyd also claimed that those fans went further by providing minimum 1-star rating to competing XBLIG titles to help improve the Lacrosse games' positions. That would explain why Boyd would be talking about it.
A post on the XNA Game Studio Team blog this week detailed the changes:
"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," said the blog post.
Concerning the alleged 1-star voting, the XNA Game Studio Team explained:
"We have also investigated rolling back suspect votes, however, we determined it will not be possible to do this."
"In addition, we are investigating users who may have violated their user agreement during this series of events. Violating user agreements may result in actions up to and including banning from Xbox Live, removal of currently posted games, and loss of ability to post games in the future."