Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why the ratings of the Android Games/Apps are so extreme?

I am not sure how's the situation in the Apple App Store. But i am pretty sure that Android Games/Apps generally have an extreme record of ratings, a.k.a you would observe the peaks on both 1 star and 5 stars rating. For example:

We notice that out of the total of 7000 ratings of this Android Game, the 5-star-bar occupies 40+ percent, and the 1-star-bar is about 30+ percent.

According to my personal academic experiences, this situation is rare for any statistics distribution. Usually, the result would be Gaussian/Normal distribution with a peak almost at the 3-star-rating, with possibly left or right skewed. But the picture displays a completely different output. Why?

I have no absolute answers. But there are few possibilities to these scenarios:

In-compatible framework/tools used

Personally i experienced this as a developer. As mentioned before, there are a number of frameworks available to your needs in order to create an Android Game. However, the fact is that, Android devices vary too much, such that there isn't a standard for the implementation of the device testings. Seriously, there are hundreds of Android devices out there, with myriads of hardware designs and different Android versions. Have you really ensured that your Android Game is working on All devices first before uploaded to the Google Play Store? It would be considered sufficient if you could fulfill the needs of about 80%. Then? Right, you will get 1-star-rating from the remaining 20% as your games keep crashing on theirs. The xml configuration would help reduce some, but surely not all.

A disastrous update / design of your framework/tools

Adobe AIR IDE features 2 ways of packaging your games: Captive Runtime and Shared Runtime. The former is fine but with much larger apk file size. The latter consumes much smaller file size, but at the cost of the requirement to install another Adobe AIR plug-in. Say if you switch from the former to the latter, the users would be irked as they are required to make an additional move installing another app that they are so unfamiliar with. Hence, the stats of the uninstall rates will increase sharply. Despite the facts that the updates are actually coming with great features, the awareness of the users are desperately lacking. This only adds to their dissatisfaction, which results in 1 star rating (some even curse to rate worse than that).


Google Play Store requires a relatively much lower threshold of the cost of development. With only $35 and no annual fees, it attracts a lot of competitors. The world of competition could be merciless. It is not surprising to see that no matter how outstanding your games are, they are still some rating them so badly in order to spoil your fame. Furthermore, the increasing availability and the affordability of the Android devices do enable those competitors to engage in these unhealthy activities so rampantly. Too bad this is the realistic world.

They are actually many more. But probably these are the main points.

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