Yesterday, the XNA Game Studio Blog posted a message to indie devs assuring them the days of bad voting and rating manipulations were over, writing:
"We%26rsquo;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."
Microsoft also said it would be weeding out those who had violated their terms of agreements by partaking in unscrupulous voting activities, and punishing them by removing their games from the site, taking back their ability to post, or banning them outright from the community.
Rating manipulations have been around since the service started, but it recently came to a head when Cthulhu Saves The World developer Robert Boyd accused the makers of College Lacrosse of asking its Facebook fans to flood its games with 5-star ratings. Not a crime in itself, Boyd alleges some fans took the call to action a step further by unfairly 1-starring the competition (p.s. that's a bad thing). This prompted Microsoft to launch its own investigation in March.
The changes to Xbox Live Indie Games are already in effect, with further investigation into specific individuals to continue on an ongoing basis.
[Source: XNA Game Studio Blog]
Apr 19, 2011