Dungeon Keeper Stacks Deck in EA’s Favor When It Comes to Android Feedback

Chris Plante, writing for Polygon:

It’s typical for an app to ask the player to submit a review after it’s been played for a few hours. A prompt appears, pointing to the app store, where the player can select 1 through 5 stars and leave a blurb of text.

In Dungeon Keeper, if the player selects the “1 - 4 Stars” option, they’re directed to a private feedback submission page. Only if the player selects the “5 Stars” option will they be taken to the Google Play page, where they can leave any rating they wish along with a blurb. The system is designed to make good feedback public and visible, and to allow EA to keep negative feedback hidden so it can be dealt with privately, or ignored entirely.

I’ve seen screenshots from a slew of apps — including Facebook — that use similar chicanery so that only users who intend to rate the app with five stars are actually forwarded on to the store. EA should be ashamed of themselves, but they’re far from alone.

In principle, these app store user ratings are a fine idea — but only in an ideal world where all such reviews are honest and legitimate. Here in the real world, developers are gaming the system.

Friday, 7 February 2014