5 star ratings

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Issac, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Issac

    Issac Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2011
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    I hope this is the right place to ask this, but... Developers! I was wondering what the impact of below a 5 star rating does to you? I am asking because I often see things like "only 5 star ratings matter to us", or "your high ratings ensure that we will continually support the game".

    Do you loose funding? Does Apple penalize you?

    I also ask because when I rate a game in the app store (I've only rated two, a 4 and a 5), I want to be honest, but at the same time a) not sh*t on hard working devs, and b) not be negative just for the sake of it.

    Like I said, I hope this is the right place to post this, and thanks for your time!:)
     
  2. Blackharon

    Blackharon Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2010
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    Game Designer for Ludia
    Canada
    Devs like those are trying to trick users into giving them more stars then their app is worth (to the player). My personal opinion is that they should be asking for any honest rating, and not 5 star ratings.

    Ratings motivate us smaller teams somewhat, and if I see we're getting decent sales and good ratings I'd be more inclined to add more content to a game.
     
  3. David Phan

    David Phan Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2012
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    President & Producer
    Vancouver
    Be honest. You're not doing the developer a favor when you provide a 5 star review with minimal feedback. Be honest with your score and provide positive or negative (constructive) feedback. The biggest thing that helps and motivates developers is when they get honest and detailed feedback that they can act upon to improve their game.

    Cheers,
    DP
     
  4. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    QFT.

    Here's another angle on it. If you see any developer begging for 5 star reviews, how much do you think they're actually worth anyway? If their game was any good they'd let them accrue naturally and not look so desperate.

    Avoid.
     
  5. Blackharon

    Blackharon Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2010
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    Game Designer for Ludia
    Canada
    We have a review request pop up in our latest game.

    I wanted it to say "Say anything you like about the game. We're listening" and 2 buttons [Not Now] and [Review it]. Sadly, beta testers didn't like the text so we went with the standard "Enjoying the game? Why not review it" approach.
     
  6. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    We stopped doing even that in GBWG.

    We still seem to get plenty of reviews. And they're generally better overall - less one star rantathons from players we dared disturb by asking for a rating. Such impudence! :)
     
  7. Juan_Arteaga

    Juan_Arteaga Member

    Jul 13, 2012
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    Does Apple approve of those apps that send you "Please give us 5 stars and we will give you in-game coins" messages?

    Personally I just find them unethical, but for Apple they might represent a problem if this method to get good reviews proliferates and turns the whole rating system more useless than it already is. *

    * Well, most games have no reviews when I check them out, but I do stay away from those who have very low scores.
     
  8. EvilArev

    EvilArev Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2011
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    That's actually agains the rules of the AppStore. You're trying to influence the ratings/rankings. Any reviewer should reject something like this, most do even if it's not actually 5-star review you're asking for, but also the honest ones.
    Save yourself the time for resubmitting the app and think of something else, like giving coins for social activity.
     
  9. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    England
    Yeah but look here as well, in the Promo section theres plenty of 'download our free app, write a review and the best review will be in with a chance of a $25 gift voucher'

    So all the lemmings then write reviews about a ridiculous app such as 'Menstrual Calculator 2012' (okay made that up) saying how great it is just to try and win the gift voucher, depressing.

    Wish those threads would be deleted or even the people who take part in them suspended/deleted.
     
  10. nvx

    nvx Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    Depends on the quality of the game:
    your GBWG is clearly a very high quality game, I loved playing GLWG so I'm sure the sequel is even better, so players feel inclined to let their feelings known and leave comments without needing to be told

    For most of us still struggling to make even mediocre-quality games, it isn't a given that players will leave any comments, let alone positive ratings

    But I totally agree with Blackharon, developers shouldn't be asking for "5 star" reviews for any reason.
    And Apple should be enforcing that policy :mad:
     
  11. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    1,538
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Thanks for the compliment. :)

    Coupla things.
    1) Don't put yourself down with negative comments like that. If others see it, it's hardly gonna help your cause. I went to look at your game and sure, it's not oozing features, but it looked ok to me. Be proud!

    2) You have 3 good reviews on the landing page and that's really all you need. I've already seen a 4 and two 5's which tells me the game isn't shite. (And is in fact better than you made it out to be.) Now I know that, I'd buy it if the game looks like something I'm interested in.

    As long as there's no bad ones, you don't need loads.
     
  12. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    1,538
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    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    I was on about the archery game btw. I just went to look at your others and they all look decent to me.

    We have an in-house job open...
     
  13. DistantJ

    DistantJ Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2012
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    Us indie devs don't have big (if any) advertising budgets, so people are kind of taking a leap of faith when they spend their money on our apps. If the number of stars is higher, it makes people feel safer and happier to click the buy button and risk a dollar or two.

    Unfortunately, in life, people tend to feel more compelled to let the world know how they feel about something when they're angry, whilst if they are content with something they just happily use it.

    This is why a lot of developers add a 'rating nag' system to try to get more of the users who enjoy the game to rate it. Usually the nag pops up after you've played a certain number of times, so somebody who dislikes it has usually given up by now, so they can target the people who do enjoy it.

    There's no penalty from Apple whatsoever for a low star rating but the overall rating usually factors in when somebody is trying to decide whether to buy or not.
     
  14. EvilArev

    EvilArev Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2011
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    Right, that's also against the rules, just that Apple doesn't monitor every topic on every major mobile gaming site to look for such things. When you're trying to do it under their noses they'll most likely take immediate action.
     
  15. Jason Stark

    Jason Stark Active Member

    Jun 5, 2012
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    Games Developer
    Noosa, Australia
    From a developer point of view I love honest feedback. You tend to learn more from the negative comments than the positive so don't be afraid to say what you really think.

    Balanced and helpful feedback makes games better for everyone.
     
  16. Issac

    Issac Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2011
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    First of all, I know you are all probably really busy, so thank you for all of your responses.

    Secondly, in response to the posters I quoted - the two reviews that I left on iTunes (under Atlier Fan), I feel, were honest. I had/am having fun with both games.
    Also, I generally just like games. I feel that many of the other gaming sites are too negative for the sake of it, and it seems to attract and promote that type of attitude amongst their users.
    To me it feels like there is a learning curve to touch controls, and to the intricacies of a new game, so I always give it time for me to learn before saying "the controls suck" or something as reactive and poorly stated. And, if there is anything I have learned, if an (iOS) game is released before it is completely ready, an update isn't far behind.

    Long story short, I do like to contribute to the gaming community in some form - including being constructive about this and that; I just wanted to know about the ratings aspect. Thanks, everyone!
     
  17. DemonJim

    DemonJim Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    App Developer
    UK
    I agree totally that giving a player a reward for giving 5-stars is very unethical - am glad this is against the rules.

    Besides, I want my average rating to be an honest reflection of the game's quality so I can judge whether people genuinely like it. That benefits me far more than a load of fake incentive-based 5-star reviews.

    You have to remove bias from the equation, not just for fairness but so you know if you made a great game. Knowing what you did right or wrong helps you make better games in the future.

    I can totally see though why devs state that "giving us 5 stars helps us improve the game!" because that's true. It's informing the player that it helps the dev sell more and therefore afford to spend time on updates, sequels and stay in business. I suppose this will bias the score up slightly, but is nothing like offering extra coins or powerups or something.
     
  18. schplurg

    schplurg Well-Known Member

    Several games in the current top charts promise a bonus if you leave a review. Not sure if it specifies a five star, but I see a lot of reviews for Offroad Legends that say "Just doing this for the 500 points", and it's a 5-star.

    OL is a decent looking game, but it's one of a billion side-scrolling car physics games. Suddenly it's number 12 on the app store (although it isn't so high on the grossing charts). I dunno, maybe it's just that good, not saying it isn't. Same with some other new games. 51,000 ratings for CSR racing? I mean it looks really nice, but seriously?

    I'm surprised Apple allows this because some of these top games are not the top earning games for Apple. It seems like they'd want games that are making the most cash at the top of the list.

    Lotta shenannigans on the App Store, or any other business for that matter.
     
  19. nvx

    nvx Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    UK
    I dont know about Offroad Legends, but seriously, you shouldn't underestimate CSR Racing.

    I downloaded the game when it came out because I dig car customization and 'racing' like this (huge fan of "Fast and Furious" movies) and I've played it far more than I would care to admit

    as a game developer, I could clearly see just how much effort Bossalien has put into every aspect of the game in order to maximize social and iAP

    True, the actual game mechanics are extremely shallow, but everything else is designed very professionally with a lot of thought and love, and the game could have easily passed as a priced game (without the fuel and gold coin shenanigans)

    Many of the reviews and ratings are left by customers who are truly and genuinely satisfied with the game.
     

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