Google will change app rating scores on the Play Store to focus on recent reviews
Reviews are a great way of relaying the quality of a product or service to the user. When used correctly, they can be an incredibly useful source of information. The sad thing is the resulting data can also be skewed in either direction for a multitude of reasons. When Android developers log into their account they will see a new banner in the developer console that tells them how Play Store app ratings will change in the future. The tidbit of information we have says app ratings will weigh newer ones heavier than older ones.
This is actually an interesting change for a few reasons. If Google were to change the way Play Store app ratings were handled you would think they would have taken a page from YouTube and switched to a thumbs up and thumbs down approach. YouTube had its reasons for this change, but I can see how applications and games can benefit from a point system. Another thing that shocked me is that Google will be putting a greater significance to an application or game’s most recent ratings.
I personally think this is strange because “review bombs” are a thing. We’ve seen this destroy overall ratings of PC games on Steam and it drove them to the point of informing the user if a game has received a lot of negative reviews recently. Thankfully, this isn’t as prevalent in the Play Store, but we have seen plenty of applications roll out a new update and get bombarded with negative reviews and ratings because people tend to dislike change. However, I can also see the other side of the coin here.
If an application developer published a brand new app then they could have made a lot of mistakes along the way. That app could have received a lot of bad reviews at first, but then the developer goes in and updates the application to fix those bugs, fix those crashes, and improve other aspects of it. It does seem unfair to let those older app ratings weigh as much as newer, more complimenting reviews for the updated version.