To our Xbox LIVE Indie Games Community:
We’ve heard your feedback and have made some changes to the ratings system on Xbox.com. Starting today, only users with Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions will be allowed to rate content on the Xbox.com website. By implementing this change, we believe our customers will experience more consistent ratings and a significantly reduced potential for abuse across the entire Xbox catalog. We have also investigated rolling back suspect votes, however, we determined it will not be possible to do this. In addition, 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. We appreciate everyone’s patience on this matter and are excited about the fantastic games being posted to Xbox 360 through the Xbox LIVE Indie Games program.
Like I posted in the forums: Thanks XNA team. I'm also voting for efforts on cancelling the bad votes. The damage done is devastating. Our two top-30 games (google cache: http://bit.ly/eLIOY5) have ratings below 160 now, off the charts. That type of damage can only be repaired by Microsoft. And according to ViNull's stats, we were receiving a fairly consistent five 1-star votes per day, should be easy to nail down. We're here to help if you need us.
It's great to see the XNA team are listening and attempting to fix the issues. I really hope something can be done to repair the damage done already as Matthew said, some games have been maliciously attacked and were previously decent little earners for the developers. It's unfair that their games which fought to be in that highly visible location on the dashboard can so easily be pushed out of sight by voters so easily.
I still think voting should be locked down to people that own the game, I don't see any value in allowing people to vote if they haven't even played the game. It only leads to situations like this. There are still enough Gold members out there to be able to make a difference to the votes if they so wished. I know I have about 50 people I know who would gladly go and vote up my games. I would never expect anyone to down-vote another game just to get my games higher in the rankings however.
Half a solution is better than none, I guess. With regard to the ability to rate without even playing - useless and totally ridiculous.
I'd like to see ratings for both the trial and full versions of games, since a rating of the trial doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of the full version. The full version may be either better or worse than the trial and that should be noted somehow. The trial may only capture the best moments of the full version and leave out hours of boredom, frustration, or just plain bad gameplay in the full version. The reverse could also be true - the trial just doesn't have the time to capture the true awesomeness of the full version. Either case is unfair to the potential buyer of the game.
I'd also like to see ratings made public. This may help make people more honest and provide some mechanism for tracking. It may also give developers some way to provide feedback.