Is EA Cheating the Google Play App Rating System With Dungeon Keeper?

By Gerald Lynch on at

EA isn't exactly always the most well-loved of developers, despite its games regularly topping the charts. Bug-filled launches of high-profile titles like Battlefield 4 and SimCity have caused significant consumer backlashes in recent times. But it now seems EA may be employing shady tactics to ensure its new Dungeon Keeper mobile app avoids public criticism.

Despite being slated by reviewers for its heavy-handed approach to the free-to-play business model, the game sits on the Google Play app store with a 4.5 out of 5 star rating, based on more than 84 thousand reviews. This is a game that received a score of 1 out of 10 from Eurogamer. So why the high user scores?

It appears that Dungeon Keeper is adding a confusing extra step before allowing users to give a 1-4-star rating. After playing for a while, gamers are presented with a screen asking if they would like to rate the game, and are given two options: To leave a 1-4-star rating, or a perfect 5-star rating. While hitting the 5-star button sends you directly to the Google Play store rating system, pushing the 1-4-star button presents users with another screen, encouraging users to email EA, asking them "What would it take to make Dungeon Keeper a 5-star game?" From this screen, there's no option to actually leave the 1-4-star rating. And so, the only way to leave a low score is to initially hit the 5-star button in the app, and then leave a lower score when presented with the actual Google Play app rating screen. Confusing or what?

EA responded to Eurogamer's report on the matter with the following statement:

“We're always looking at new ways to gather player feedback so that we can continue to improve our games. 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 wanted to make it easier for more players to send us feedback directly from the game if they weren't having the best experience. Players can always continue to leave any rating they want on the Google Play Store.”

Hmmm. Not convinced EA. The original Dungeon Keeper PC game is one of the most well-loved strategy games of all time. Why not put the effort into making something comparably good, and not into trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with this sort of thing? [Eurogamer]