EA's Dungeon Keeper prevents the submission of negative reviews
Oh, EA. We all thought you were doing so well. It seemed for a while like you were finally starting to learn from your mistakes -- like you were actually beginning to respect your customers and fans. Then this happened.
As it turns out, the Android version of Dungeon Keeper - a game already infamous for making every mistake a freemium title can possibly make - actively stacks reviews in the title's favor. Typically, a mobile application will ask users to rate it after a few hours of play. In Dungeon Keeper's case, if the player uses this method to rate it anything less than five stars, they're taken to a private submissions page; their review only goes onto the public app store page if they give it a five-star rating.
EA's executives can then feel good about the game's incredibly high review scores, using them to deflect any criticism leveled at the title. Any negative feedback can be dealt with privately by the company, without sullying the title's good name. From a marketing perspective, it's also incredibly stupid: people don't react well to being censored, particularly gamers.
EA, for its part, remains gleefully unaware.
"At the time of this interview, App Store ratings currently sit at 4 out of 5 stars and Google Play ratings sit at 4.5 out of 5 stars. We're also seeing a lot of game downloads and in-game engagement so that tells us there is a large group of people who are playing and enjoying the game," explained EA Mythic's Jeff Skalski in an interview with Tab Times. "Obviously, this is counter to some of the angry reactions we've seen around the internet, so we're still trying to look at all of these data points."
Uh huh. Fun fact about 'data points?' If they're skewed in the way Dungeon Keeper's is being skewed, they become effectively useless.
"We’re always looking at new ways to gather player feedback so that we can continue to improve our games. The 'rate this app' feature in the Google Play version of Dungeon Keeper was designed to help us collect valuable feedback from players who don’t feel the game is worth a top rating," EA told Polygon. "We wanted to make it easier for more players to send us feedback directly from the game if they weren’t having the best experience. Players can always continue to leave any rating they want on the Google Play store."
Oh, they certainly can...but if they think EA is going to make that process an easy one, they simply aren't paying attention - much like EA itself.
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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