Game Dev Tycoon developer Greenheart Game has seen 77% of five-star reviews for its flagship game removed from Google Play shortly after release.
Writing in a blog post, Greenheart director Patrick Klug noted that by day six of the Game Dev Tycoon's Android launch, it had received over 2,000 reviews and earned a star rating of 4.98.
However, a week later around 2,000 reviews reviews had been mysteriously deleted, and the game had 25 fewer reviews than it had when it first launched, despite a consistent stream of new reviews. Its star rating had also dropped to 4.92.
The issue appears to be Google's algorithm detecting the five-star reviews as fraudulent and deleting them automatically. Klug asserts that Greenheart has not paid for any reviews and does not incentivise players to leave a review.
Curiously, when the developer contacted Google, the platform holder claimed to have removed the ratings on purpose and triple-checked the removals were done in accordance with the company's guidelines. It declined to provide specific reasons for the removals.
In better news, Game Dev Tycoon's mobile edition broke even just over a month after it was first released on iOS. It also earned our Game of the Week when it launched and scored a Gold Award from our sister site PocketGamer.co.uk on account of it being a great game.