Reviews on the iTunes store can seem like a bit of a mystery. Why do people hate my game? Why do they love that game? Do the ratings even match what people are saying? We have looked at reviews for 38 free-to-play games. Some of these are the most popular games in the iTunes store, some of them are much smaller. Let’s what we can learn from their reviews.
First of all let’s see how games are rated in general. Below we can see the number of reviews we counted at each star rating.
The good news is that the vast majority of reviewers give a 5 stars. The second most popular rating is 4 stars and after that…1 star. It seems reviewers tend to be quite polarised, generally giving a very high rating or a very low rating. We’ve found that even poorly rated games have quite a lot of 5 star reviews. They just also have a lot of one star reviews too.
Now let’s look at the words used in reviews. Below we can see the top 100 most commonly used words in game reviews:
No surprises here – when reviewing games reviewers tend to use the word game. Again, we can see that reviews tend to be pretty positive about the games they are reviewing “good”, “fun”, “love” and “great” are used frequently. However, if you look closely there are some less positive words in there: “crashes”, “ads” and “annoying”. Let’s look more closely at which words are positive and which are negative. The bar chart below shows the top ten positive words and the top ten negative words.
We built a model to predict what rating a reviewer will give based on the words in their review. Every time a reviewer uses the word terrible they will give on average one star less that they would have otherwise. Also from the graph you can see that people using “awsome” tend to rate slightly higher than people using “awesome” – maybe they are so excited about this game they don’t have time to spell check?
What can a game developer take away from this data? While ads and crashes are disliked they are not as bad as being boring, disappointing, stupid or rubbish. It’s more important to be awesome that it is to be epic. But most of all – make sure your games are excellent, not terrible.