Developers using fake reviews
When a game doesn't do well, the developers will sometimes pay for positive reviews from gamers and users of video game sites. This practice not only makes the product or service in question look better than it really is but also results in the developers and companies losing their credibility.
- Steam: Many indie developers bot or bribe for positive reviews of their games, which prompts Valve to eradicate them. However, the developers can simply create a new account and repeat this process. Most often than not, sockpuppet accounts can also be used. Digital Homicide is a notable example.
- Google Play Store/App Store: A lot of developers of rip-offs and poor quality games tend to use fake reviews to make their games seem better than what they actually are. Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is a prime example, since Machine Zone uses bots to write positive reviews for the game.
- LawBreakers: When the game was dying, the developer bribed YouTubers to praise the game and beg others to try the game, which backfired tremendously.
- Brianna Wu was rather famously caught putting up fake reviews on her developer account to harass herself during GamerGate.
- Art of Stealth: The developer used duplicate accounts to post positive reviews of their own game. This was quickly found out and the developer was banned.
- On review sites like Metacritic, fake reviews are rampant.
- Bubsy 3D: Accolade cherry picked some quotes from an EGM article about the game and miscontructed them to pass them off as if it were a positive review, when in reality the quote was presented completely out of context and wasn't even taken from the review itself, which was very negative.
Why This Practice Sucks
- Fake reviews can easily ruin the image of a developer and/or publisher. Never mind the fact that a lot of developers who do this, can't accept criticism.
- It makes the developers look desperate, which in turn is a dead giveaway; a game that gets fake reviews is usually not good.
- The vast majority of these fake reviews are complete nonsense and lie a lot about the aspects of the game(s).
- Not only can you make money from putting up fake reviews but you can get away with it, which is just scummy.
- Just the simple fact that the game in question is being misrepresented, especially when it leads to a really bad game receiving better coverage than it deserves.
- The fact that publishers/developers can get away with this is also just as scummy.
How To Spot Fake Reviews
- If the reviewers have suspicious names (like random characters) or fake names, then it could be a dead giveaway. Note that sometimes these characters are intentional, this is probably the hardest step.
- If the review of the game is nonsense or if it lies about an aspect of the game or if they say it is more fun than they claim it is, then you know right away it's false.
- If the user that posted the positive review has no activity other than a few positive reviews, then it's most likely a bot or a sockpuppet account.
- If a game has a suspicious amount of very high scores that don't really talk about the game's contents, then those are fake reviews trying to bump up the overall score.
- On the opposite side, if a game has an unusually large amount of very low scores without explaining them then those are an attempt at review bombing, which is equally as harming as fake positive reviews.
- If it's a positive review of a shovelware game that is usually received negatively, then it's obvious. This applies to almost everything on Steam.