UPDATE: Microsoft has officially announced and implemented what they hope will prevent instances like this from happening again. As of today only Xbox Live Gold members will be able to rate games on xbox.com. Sadly, thats all Microsoft is doing but have thought of pursuing further action. In a quick announcement, Microsoft stated plainly, “We have also investigated rolling back suspect votes, however, we determined it will not be possible to do this.” Is this just laziness or true fact? Either way, the damage is done to the handful of indie titles that were affected and there won’t be any damage control.
For those of you who participated in this shameful act, don’t think you’re going to get off scotch free. In the same announcement Microsoft addressed all the “violators” saying, “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.” This may only seem like a half-solution to the problem, but at least Microsoft took the time to actually address this issue.
We’ve all heard of gamers rating and speaking of certain games out of spite, arrogance, and fanboyism, but deliberately “badmouthing” a game simply to one up another game? I can’t say I’ve heard of something like that to the point of other titles taking a serious plunge in critical success…but I have now. All Xbox 360 owners are familiar with the star rating system for Xbox Live titles correct? (For those not aware of the “stars”, this rating system judges a game based on its performance and the higher the score the better). It seems a plethora of Indie titles available through Live have suffered “a massive influx of 1-star ratings” including the hit game Cthulhu Saves the World. The cause? Well you’ll have to hit read more to see this unbelievable event.
With a little digging around a game based website, dealspwn.com, discovered that one game was strangely soaring through the Xbox Live rankings. The game in question, College Lacrosse 2011, was promoted highly on its Facebook page with the administrators asking the following.
“College Lacrosse 2011 is already the 4th top rated Indie Game! Help lax become #1 – Rate CL11 five stars! (Non-Xbox owners who want to help can sign up for a free account here http://www.xbox.com/ and rate the game five stars here) You guys rock!”
Nothing too bad right? Just an Indie developer promoting its game’s well-being. The only questionable thing about the post was asking people, who didn’t even have the game, to create free accounts and rate the title a full five stars. Well the fans/supporters took things a little too far. In an effort to “go above and beyond” what they were told to do, users targeted other hit Indie titles by giving those games the worst possible rating and causing them to fall heavily in the overall rankings.
For the record, I do not blame the developers or the Facebook page. They even asked their fans “not to rate other games low to help CL11”. It is just astonishing what people will do just to get “in good light” of someone and in this case the College Lacrosse 2011 developer. What do you readers think? Is the star rating system fair by the terms that established Xbox Live or think something needs to be done about it because of problems like this?