Dungeon_Keeper_EA

EA Uses Loophole To Prevent Negative Play Store Reviews From Appearing

February 9, 2014 - Written By Patrick Northcraft

If you had to make a list of some of the most negatively viewed electronic companies in the past few years, EA would most definitely be on that list.  They have quite the history with ‘freemium’ games, which are games that are free to download and play, but eventually get so difficult or time-consuming that you are almost required to purchase upgrades or the like in order to continue in any kind of timely manner.  One of the more recent victims of this trend is EA’s remake of Dungeon Keeper, which has faced some massive criticism.  The most alarming of these is that the rating option that is displayed from within the app is very misleading.  At first glance, the screen looks like your normal ‘please rate this game’ screen, but after a second glance, there are some major differences.  First of all, it says ‘5-Star ratings from you help us provide free updates!’ which makes it seem that if you don’t give a 5 star rating, then the game won’t be free anymore.  While this isn’t that bad of a thing, when combined with the next issue it makes giving a 5 star rating, whether deserved or not, much more appealing.

The options on the screen read:  ‘How would you rate Dungeon Keeper?  1-4 Stars  –  5 Stars’.  If you select the 1-4 star option, you would expect to be taken to the Google Play store to write your review.  This is not the case, with the game instead opening an email to EA, making it seem that they do not want you to be able to make your less-than-stellar review public information.  In contrast, the 5 Stars button will take you directly to the Google Play store where you can leave your review.  Of course, you can always select the 5 Star option from the game screen and then change it from the Google Play Ratings page, but the fact that you need to do this is a very sly move from EA.  When confronted by Gamasutra about this, EA said in response that:

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.  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.  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.  Our intention with the mobile version was to give as many people as possible a taste of that original Dungeon Keeper experience, and for some people, that’s not the way they want to re-visit the franchise.”

What this tells me is that EA thinks that all the negative reviews will be from people who played the original version of the game and dislike the mobile remake, while in actuality the dislike of the title is more likely to be caused by the fact that it is a freemium title.  What do you think?  Have any thoughts to share?  Let us know down below!