EA Accused of Falsifying Ratings for Dungeon Keeper

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The Dungeon Keeper saga continues, this time with news that the numerous five-star Google Play ratings for the game might not have been obtained through strictly ethical means.

EA Mythic Producer Jeff Skalski was keen to point critics of the new game in the direction of the Google Play star ratings as evidence that he and his team had "made a game for mobile gamers and they like it" -- but delving a little deeper into the Android version of the game reveals a system at play that has the potential to skew the game's ratings in direction favorable to those who wish its exploitative, intrusive free-to-play model to continue unchecked.

Indie game developer Mike Robinson tweeted the following screenshot earlier today, showing a dialog box that pops up before any in-app purchases on the Android version of the game. As with many other mobile games, it is strongly implied that five-star ratings are "needed" to keep the game free and to keep providing updates, and two options are given to players -- rate the game five stars, or rate the game between one and four stars.

Here's the twist: tapping the "1-4 Stars" option doesn't take you to the Google Play store to write a review at all. Instead, it pops up this dialog box:

(Tapping the "5 Stars" box does indeed take you to Google Play, where you are, in fact, free to lie to EA and give the game 1-4 stars if you wish, but this isn't made at all clear when the box first pops up.)

While the fact that EA Mythic is seemingly genuinely soliciting feedback from customers who do not wish to rate the game 5 stars is perhaps worthy of some praise, the implementation of this system is deeply, deeply...

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