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Microsoft Puts a Band-Aid on XBLIG Ratings

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A few weeks ago, a story came out that revealed ratings abuse on Xbox Live's Indie Games channel. The creators of the newly released College Lacrosse 2011 had asked their fans via Facebook to rate the game highly. The fans took that effort one step further, rating similar games lower and abusing the Indie Game rating system.

Xbox Indie Games could be rated by anyone, whether or not they had ever played the game. Microsoft was said to be investigating the issue, and it seems they've offered a solution of sorts. Not a lot has changed, though--their solution was to lock out non-Gold account Xbox.com users from rating games. Those with Silver accounts would have to rate the games from the console itself.

The solution does make abusing the system a bit trickier, as most of the false ratings probably originated from Xbox.com (considering the push came from Facebook). The baffling part is that it seems there is a much more obvious, logical solution that Microsoft isn't putting into practice. Why don't they just limit ratings to users who have played the game at least once?

A Microsoft blog post, which highlights the change, insists the solution is a sound one: “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.” But what's to stop me or anyone else from logging on to their Xbox 360 and giving the top games one star each just to be a jerk?

Do you think this is a valid solution, or is Microsoft just being lazy?

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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