“We are investigating a possible misuse of ratings on XBLIG titles. We’ll announce more information here as it develops,” stated a recent Tweet from the XNACommunity Twitter feed. The investigation stems from a Facebook post for College Lacrosse 11 in which the community was urged to five-star the game. Sound normal? The catch is that shortly after this post several games received one-star ratings, and a lot of them. This skewed the rankings for some otherwise high rated games.
Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games (Cthulhu Saves the World) told Gamasutra that their game has dropped over ten positions due to this incident. The issue with this is not only the ratings for the games themselves, but the fact that lower rated games don’t get as much face time on the dashboard, and that directly relates to sales. When you’re an XBLIG developer every single sale counts. There isn’t a publisher that pays a developer a contracted fee; developers make 70% of the game’s price, so when hundreds of potential sales are lost, that’s a big hit to a weekend warrior dev.