Following a spate of suspected malicious and bogus low ratings for games on Xbox’s indie game service, Microsoft has stepped in and changed the way votes are cast.
A post on Microsoft’s developers network blog said:
“We’ve heard your feedback and have made some changes to the ratings system on Xbox.com. Starting [April 18], only users with Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions will be allowed to rate content on the Xbox.com website.”
Microsoft said it hoped this change will reduce the potential for misuse of the system which previously allowed anybody with a free Xbox Live account to rate games via the Xbox.com website, irrespective of whether the user had purchased or played the game.
An investigation began after a number of highly-rated titles received a flurry of negative ratings in rapid succession. Gamasutra reported that this appeared to take place shortly after the developer of indie title College Lacrosse: The Video Game requested that fans rated its game highly to drive it up the charts.
The statement from Microsoft went on to say that it had investigated the possibility of rolling back suspect votes but that it has “determined it will not be possible to do this.”
Lastly, Microsoft is “investigating users who may have violated their user agreement during this series of events.”
It reminded users that the penalty for such violation could be be a ban from Xbox Live, a removal of any currently posted games and the possible loss of ability to post games in the future.