Xbox changes 'indie games' voting structure

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Microsoft has changed the way it promotes titles on its "Xbox Live Indie Games" channel.

The company has faced mounting criticism over the way certain games were featured on the digital download platform, largely because anyone could go in and rate a game, regardless of whether or not they played.

The Indie Games storefront allows individual developers and those with no marketing budget to release a game on the console, but the only way to really get noticed is to have a high ranking from thousands of users.

It's a similar structure to the way iPhone and Android games become featured apps. The difference with the Xbox platform was that anyone could submit their own user rating for the game, even if they never downloaded it. So a developer could go through and rate every other game as a one-star game, and encourage all of their friends to rate their game five stars.

Microsoft said it is now "investigating users who may have violated their user agreement" as a result of the vote spamming that has become increasingly commonplace. Additionally, it now restricts the rating of Indie Games through Xbox.com to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, those who pay an annual fee for basic online gaming services on the console.

It's a start, but there is certainly still opportunity for people to game the system moving forward. The Xbox Live Indie Games platform hasn't really managed to gain a lot of traction, and this debacle certainly isn't helping.