- Game Dev Tycoon saw 77 percent of positive reviews removed from the Play Store.
- Greenheart Games blames the mass removal of reviews on Google’s algorithm for fighting fake reviews.
- Google confirmed it purposely removed the reviews in accordance with its Comments and Ratings policy.
According to Greenheart Games founder, director, and manager Patrick Klug, Game Dev Tycoon garnered over two thousand five-star reviews during the game’s first six days of availability. However, Klug noted that a quarter of those five-star reviews disappeared from the Play Store.
A few thousand reviews have since been taken down, which resulted in 77 percent of positive reviews being permanently removed. Game Dev Tycoon currently has 723 five-star reviews, though Klug said that number would be around 3,000 by now.
Klug reached out to Google, who said the game’s reviews were purposely removed and pointed Klug to its Comments and Ratings policy. The search giant also said it triple-checked to make sure its decision was done according to its policies.
Ultimately, Klug hypothesized the search giant’s algorithm for fighting fake reviews is to blame. The developer also said Google uses the same algorithm to identify fake reviews for free-to-play and premium titles.
Klug said Greenheart Games does not incentivize reviews, nor does it have its employees and friends post reviews.
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Since Game Dev Tycoon costs $5, however, you cannot write reviews for the game unless you fork over the money. As such, it is unlikely that reviews left for the game were disingenuous.
The silver lining is the game’s rating actually went up, from 4.92 to 4.96. Even so, Klug and Greenheart Games feel this is disrespectful to players and are upset at Google for having no safe-guards for pirate sites if folks wanted to download the Game Dev Tycoon APK for free.
Android Authority reached out to Google for more information and will update this post accordingly.