Meta says it is taking steps to improve its Quest Store reviews system as developers express frustration.
A number of Quest developers are expressing frustration with several features of Meta’s public review system for VR games on its storefront for nearly 20 million VR headsets. In particular, there’s spam driving advertising into the reviews of games. Meta’s app referral program turns Quest owners into “advocates” who can target those likely to buy a game for a mutual reward. Terms for the program explain:
“Earn a $5.00 USD Meta Quest Store Credit for yourself and a 25% discount for your friends who purchase your referred app using your referral link!”
Posts listing store credit referral links seems to have overtaken the most visible areas of the reviews system on many Quest store pages. Meta “advocates” leave five-star reviews marked as “helpful “by others. The page system lists those reviews first and effectively turns those posts into discount ads on Meta’s own storefront.
“We are aware of user reviews being used to promote unrelated topics and are in the process of rolling out various solutions to address it,” a Meta spokesperson sent over email. “This week we began blocking new reviews with specific types of URLs in them. We are also working to address existing reviews.”
Hrafn Thorisson, the head of Waltz of the Wizard development studio Aldin, told UploadVR the system “degrades the value of reviews, making the motivation questionable whether the person wrote the review liked the title – or whether they just wrote it to profit from sharing the referral link. If this is here to stay, then my personal suggestion would be to just add a field for referral links when writing reviews that appears as a small tiny icon. That would at least make reviews appear less like spam.”
“There are a bunch of issues with user reviews that I think Meta should look into in addition to the referral spam,” Virtual Desktop developer Guy Godin told UploadVR. “Quite often, users will leave a 1 star review to request a refund because they didn’t read the requirements of the app for example (they don’t have a computer or they are using a ChromeOS laptop). It doesn’t seem like it’s easy for them to find where they can do this. I have to tell users to go to their purchase history in the Meta Quest app to request a refund. A simple link that brings them to the ‘request a refund page’ would alleviate that.”
Even outside the referral code spam many other top reviews marked “helpful” are simply pasted ASCII art.
More developers commented publicly in threads on Twitter about the system as well.