Google Play removed thousands of legit ‘Game Dev Tycoon’ reviews

Google has removed some 77 percent of reviews for Game Dev Tycoon's mobile port on Google Play. Developer Greenheart Games contacted Google to find out why the (mostly) five-star reviews were disappearing, and was told that the scores were removed on purpose, with little other explanation. Greenheart's theory is that Google uses the same algorithm to police free-to-play game reviews on the Play store that it does paid games; Game Dev Tycoon costs $5 and you can't write a review unless you've purchased it. Free-to-play games, on the other hand, anyone can write a review with practically no time investment.

"We are not engaging in any dubious practices regarding reviews," the developer writes. "We don't incentivize reviews, we don't review the game ourselves and we don't even tell our friends to review it."Since the game hit Google Play early this month, it's been downloaded between 10,000 and 50,000 times. Greenheart says the reviews started disappearing slowly at first but within the first week,...