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Zynga draws suspicion as CastleVille Legends amasses five star reviews

Zynga draws suspicion as CastleVille Legends amasses five star reviews
With more than 250 five star ratings currently on the US App Store, PocketGamer.biz has received word that someone may be manipulating user reviews of Zynga's CastleVille Legends.

A contact working in the industry – who wished to remain anonymous – alerted us to claims that the majority of the game's five star reviews have been posted by users who have only ever reviewed Zynga games, or have made CastleVille Legends their debut review.

Indeed, on inspection, it appears that assessment has merit.

Of the five star reviews we looked through, a large number – although not all – have been made by users whose history is dominated by Zynga games, or who have never reviewed a game before.

Get to the numbers

Of the more than 50 user reviews added to CastleVille Legends' for iPhone page on the US App Store today – Thursday 19 September – almost 90 percent give the game a five star rating.

Of those five star ratings, around 40 percent were made by users who have only ever reviewed Zynga games, or for who Zynga games make up the vast majority of their reviews.

That's in no way a conclusive share – given the way Zynga cross-promotes its games, there's every chance a large portion of its fanbase will have a prevalence for its games.

However, switching to the most favourable reviews does bring up a new of five star ratings from accounts such as the one captured below.



Interestingly, in the UK, the iPhone version of CastleVille Legends has only received two users reviews to date – one five star review and a one star review, neither of which by a Zynga dominated reviewer.

Equally interesting is the fact that, despite said mass of positive ratings, CastleVille Legends hasn't yet cracked the US top grossing chart on iPhone. The game is #15 on the top free chart, however.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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Jon Tunnell
Zynga has 2,000 employees. I would assume a lot of those 5 star reviews would be from people that work there. I don't really see a problem with that? If I worked at a company like that I would go and give 5 stars to everything we make.
Kevin Corti Chief Evil Officer at Evil27 Games Limited
Yet another "major games corporation games the AppStore rankings" example. Apple need to stop bumbling along making minor tweaks to a broken discovery model and fix it properly. It's the wider developer community and the end-consumer that looses when discovery is so clearly rigged to favour those with the deepest marketing pockets (and loose morals)
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