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[Update] EA certainly isn't making it easy to give Dungeon Keeper a low rating on Android

Evil never dies (Updated with EA's response)

Product: Dungeon Keeper | Developer: Mythic Entertainment | Publisher: EA Mobile | Genre: Casual, Retro, Strategy
For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone
Dungeon Keeper iPad, thumbnail 1
Updated on February 7th, at 09:20: EA has responded to the criticism aimed at it after what certain sections of the media are calling 'Rate Gate-gate'.

Speaking to Eurogamer, an EA spokesperson explained the company's reasoning for directing gamers wanting to rate Dungeon Keeper less than 5/5 on the Google Play Store to an email form.

"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."

So, there you go.

Original story follows...

How much do you hate Dungeon Keeper?

It's probably a lot. Because apparently everyone in the world hates it.

Well, the following, which was spotted by Twitterer @mike_robbo, might just make you hate it a wee bit more.

Rate this

You see, there's a slight difference between the rating process of Dungeon Keeper for iOS and Android.

While playing the iOS version, you're presented with a pretty familiar 'Rate Me' screen. At this point, you can rate the app, ask to be reminded later, or tell EA to stop bugging you.

It's a standard F2P "Love me, please!" screen, and you can check it out in the screenshot below. Look at it closely - there's going to be a test soon.

Okay? Good.

I've embedded the Google Play Store version of the rating screen below. Both of these are screengrabs taken after the first raid in the game, when you'll have been playing for maybe 20 minutes.

Can you spot the difference? Can you?

After tapping on the "1-4 Stars" button on the Android rating screen, you are invited to email EA with some advice on what it could do to get your 5 stars.

If you tap on the "5 Stars" button, meanwhile, you're taken to the game's Google Play Store product page to rate it.

Of course, once you're on the official product page, you can attach whatever numerical star-based score you want to your customer review. Still, the whole thing certainly looks a little shady.

Especially after EA Mythic's Jeff Skalski spoke to TabTimes, defending the game against a lot of the accusations that have been hurled at it in the week since its release.

"One of the important data points we're looking at is our store ratings and downloads. At the time of this interview, App Store ratings currently sit at 4 out of 5 stars and Google Play ratings sit at 4.5 out of 5 stars."

Well, yeah...

Reviewer photo
Harry Slater 7 February 2014
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Oct 2012
Post count:
@arosbooks | 10:23 - 18 February 2014
There is no gameplay in games like this - it's just all the same tricks as gambling. Calling them 'games' is an insult to the rest of the industry.
Oct 2012
Post count:
@arosbooks | 10:00 - 18 February 2014
Disgusting. How can people keep playing mobile games when games like this are the standard?
Feb 2014
Post count:
@Abigail96881083 | 13:04 - 14 February 2014
My Uncle Adrian got a nearly new black Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon just by some part-time working online with a cheap laptop... go now C
Feb 2014
Post count:
Adrian von | 00:30 - 8 February 2014
Well now it's 2.5 of 5 starts because people are upset with the insane In-App Purchase system!
Feb 2013
Post count:
John McNichol | 21:38 - 7 February 2014
@Snowskeeper it is possible to only leave a rating on google play without feedback, which is probably why EA have taken this approach.
Sep 2013
Post count:
Summer LaRose | 20:25 - 7 February 2014
Their update / response is just pure bull squat. They also probably had it ready to release as a response all along as people were bound to complain.

It's a poor excuse to what is a blatant ratings manipulation (even if it's "technically" legal). They're like some slimy gross guy you catch doing something and then he tries to lie his way out of it, thinking he's smarter than everybody.

We're not buying it EA. We know what it is. You want people to go rate the game who think it's a 5. You want the rest of us to just mail you and not rate the game. Hey - lots of game companies want that, not just you. You guys are just being really creepy and sneaky about it and now think that we're complete idiots and will believe your excuse.

You're like a bad boyfriend that really needs dumping.
May 2009
Post count:
chanandler | 11:30 - 7 February 2014
I guess the problem is that there are just way too many people now with devices so it doesn't really matter which model developers choose, there will be enough players to sustain the business. That is of course as long as new content is delivered regularly and content of a sufficiently high enough standard to keep people interested.

On a side issue, I carried out a little experiment with Tapped Out last year. I was curious as to how much of an impact spending real money had on the game in terms of progression and then on sustaining that growth from a players perspective.

So I stumped up the
Mar 2013
Post count:
Codman7 | 10:49 - 7 February 2014
Can't edit posts :)

With "educated media" I didn't want to offend anyone here at PG. I'm a regular reader and the quality is high. But I've seen the Mobile F2P vs. Dota/LOL comparison a lot around the internet.
Mar 2013
Post count:
Codman7 | 10:43 - 7 February 2014
I wanted to add something and forgot: there have been experiments on mobile trying to implement a F2P based on cosmetic only or "pay if you like".

Total failures unfortunately.
Mar 2013
Post count:
Codman7 | 10:40 - 7 February 2014
@chanandler - you've made fair points. I'm not talking about butchering the IP - I view it like doing a Match-3 themed DK. It makes sense from a business standpoint and WE are angry because we played DK in the past. What about the other 70% of players who have no idea what DK is - for them it is a new IP, cooler and with more flavor and humor than other games in the genre ("Welcome back, Keeeeepeeeer! Slap them to incentive them!").

I will drive this chat into a F2P debate, be warned :)

How did we get to F2P? Each of the following terms can have its own article or at least a paragraph: "F2P is lowest entry barrier", "free > paid", "try before you buy", "free market pricing", "Android users not paying a dime for software", "once you go free, you never go back", "whales", "impulse buyers", "pay for what you want/need/enjoy", "lack of visibility on the stores", "market flood with options for customer", "time sinkers expectation on mobile, no immersion/complex games", "bite-sized gaming", "mobile gaming is the first gaming experience for many people", "lack of gaming culture on mobile", "casual (include the
All the rules that drive F2P design emerged from the limitations / requirements listed above. F2P is de-factor monetisation strategy on mobile at this moment. And you cannot change the basic rules of F2P design (so it would be productive): repetitive action, incremental progress (mostly driven by numbers).

I also hope that media become more educated as well and stop comparing mobile F2P to Dota and to LoL. It only feeds anger around and it is not constructive.

Dota 2 is a FREE GAME by all means and you pay for cosmetic features or you invest in the game (to get some items, then selling them on the market - it is a business for some).

In LoL the developer actually tricked (very clever and pretty fair I'd say) the player that he can actually play free by purchasing heroes with soft-currency; that's not the case because you will have to sink soft-currency in to runes (if I remember correctly).

Both games are multiplayer only with heavy hours collected under each player's belt. I talk about having tens or hundreds of hours before first purchase occurs. How can mobile compete with this human behavior?

But the discussion remains open, history shows that there are no frozen systems, they evolve all the time. On mobile you can go premium some types of games, mostly a niche genre or without progress or non-math based progress.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION: 22 comments >>