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Microsoft combats XBLIG ratings "abuse"

Restricts ratings to Gold members.

Microsoft has restricted the rating of Xbox Live Indie Games via to Gold members in a bid to combat the abuse of the system.

Last month complaints emerged over the way game ratings were handled, with some accused of manipulating the system to boost rankings.

Now, Microsoft has taken action.

"We've heard your feedback and have made some changes to the ratings system on," read a statement on the XNA Game Studio Team Blog.

"Starting today, only users with Xbox Live Gold subscriptions will be allowed to rate content on the website. By implementing this change, we believe our customers will experience more consistent ratings and a significantly reduced potential for abuse across the entire Xbox catalogue.

"We have also investigated rolling back suspect votes, however, we determined it will not be possible to do this."

Microsoft pledged to investigate those who may have "violated" their user agreement. It warned those found guilt may be banned from Xbox Live and see their currently posted games removed.

"We appreciate everyone's patience on this matter and are excited about the fantastic games being posted to Xbox 360 through the Xbox Live Indie Games program."

Microsoft launched its investigation last month after the developer of College Lacrosse: The Video Game encouraged fans to award generous five-star ratings to its game.

But fans took proceedings a step further, dishing out harsh one-star ratings to many other popular Xbox Live Indie Games titles as well.

Fellow XBLIG developer Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games brought the matter to Microsoft's attention. "I have no idea how this sort of thing could be prevented, but I'm really upset," he said.