1. greenguppy's Avatar
    Hi everyone.

    I'm interested to know about your experiences and feelings about app rating systems. Obviously they are a necessary and unavoidable feedback system but can they be more of a help or hindrance for smaller indie devs?

    Here's my scenario:

    I have a game on Play Store - Monkey Battle Free. It is based on the old QBasic game: Gorillas that I used to mess around with back in the dark ages of home computing (PC's were powered by steam then (no not that Steam)). I'm pretty much an amateur developer working on my own and it's fairly clear this game is no Angry Birds, of which I was well aware when I released it. It's had about 150 installs of which around 55% were then uninstalled. Up until yesterday I only had 3 ratings - all of which were 4 stars and 9 Goggle+ recommends.
    Yesterday I got a 1 star rating - which dropped my rating average to 3.25 - there was a review with it and I replied as here:

    Moto G (falcon_cdma)
    .....name removed.... on Dec 3, 2014 at 3:08 PM
    Not like it used to be not at all

    You replied on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:50 PM
    Thanks for taking the time to do a review. Thought 1 star is a bit harsh. If it was intended to be like it used to be; I would have called it QBasic Gorillas and done it in 16 colours.

    I wouldn't mind a rating of 1 star if it crashed all the time or had ads every 2 seconds etc but it doesn't. It's completely free (although some features are disabled as there is also a full paid version) and harmless to the environment. I put up representative screenshots and even made a video. So the person should have a clear idea of what they were downloading.

    I know that you can't please everyone and some will like a game and some won't but is it fair to get 1 star just because someone doesn't like your game itself? Would you 1 star someone for that or would you just uninstall it?

    Conversely getting 5 stars because someone likes the game is great but hypocritical. But should 1 star type ratings be recommended for use for apps that are just unusable or unplayable?

    I know we get a right of reply to customer reviews but they aren't visible unless the "Read More" option is used, so the impression anyone who does visit is that the last rating/review was 1 star - "I won't bother with it then".

    As you all know, it's pretty hard to get noticed out there but a 1 star rating now is pretty much the kiss of death for a small time game like this.

    I'm sure I will get replies to this along the lines of suck it up and make better games but I'm hoping people will look a bit beyond my example and share their thoughts on the rating system itself rather than my failure to produce anything worthwhile. I'm probably taking a bit of a chance raising this as a discussion as well - I'll probably get 50 1 star ratings appear now .

    So - have app ratings systems been good for you?

    What do you think?

    12-03-2014 02:09 PM
  2. SpookDroid's Avatar
    I usually never look at just the first review or even the average. Yes, I do look at the newest ratings (as they tend to be more pertinent to updated versions) and if all the newest ones agree that something is wrong, then yeah, I skip the app. But if I see 4 good ratings and just one bad, I usually check out the video or at least give the app a chance.

    Don't get discouraged by one-star ratings, unless there is really something truly wrong with your game.
    12-03-2014 03:06 PM
  3. greenguppy's Avatar

    Thanks for the comment.

    I think I was just surprised that someone who just didn't like a game would take the time to go back to the store listing to give it a 1 star.

    Knowing how much effort goes into creating and releasing a game, I wouldn't give someone 1 star just because I didn't like or get it. But that's just me, each to their own I guess.

    I'm sure my next game will be a triumph of 5 stardom.

    It would still be interesting to hear what others have experienced or any perplexing reviews they have had.
    12-04-2014 12:56 AM
  4. SpookDroid's Avatar
    That's the spirit! It's like going to a restaurant... When you really like it, you're very likely to recommend it to friends, but won't feel bad if you forget to. But if you don't like it, boy, do you make sure everyone you know hears about it! Even the slightest detail, like it happened to be the place you were breaking up in, or the kid next to you threw a soda on you... not really reflecting the reality of the restaurant, just the state of your moment, can make you give out a hideous review. Sadly, bad reviews and comments are usually quicker to leave your minds than good ones, for mostly every aspect of our lives.

    Just think, how many times did your parents scold you for some mischief VS how many times they made a party and rewarded you for something done right?
    12-04-2014 11:07 AM
  5. mrjspeed's Avatar
    I know how you feel. I developed some apps for WebOS when the platform was just released back in 2009. My game was the first accelerator based game in the App Catalog and also happened to have the highest rating of any game. It was 1st in the list when you wanted to see the top games. The first few months brought in plenty of revenue.

    Then Palm released an update that had a bug. It was a garbage collection bug that affected my app badly. After a few minutes of playing, the app would freeze the entire phone and become unresponsive for 10 - 20 seconds. I notified Palm of the issue and then patched it a month later but the damage was already done. I then received tons of 1 star reviews and my app rating plummeted, as well as my revenue.

    Times have changed since then. App stores make it harder to sort by app rating alone, and versioning make things better. However, catalogs are so cluttered these days that you really need to promote your apps. For indy devs you need to make sure you release a good app because I know I don't like to download anything less than say 3.8 rating.

    Your app only has a few ratings. I'm downloading it now. Just market it and you'll probably saturate the ratings with enough reasonable people to overcome the bad eggs.
    12-04-2014 03:55 PM

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