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Why Developers Can Ignore Software Reviews

If you develop software or games, and sell them, you need to get used to the fact that your software will be be rated. No matter if you are on the Mac App Store, Google Play, Steam, or even your own website, people will comment and rate your software, make videos, blog texts and tweets about it. A lot of times, the feedback and comments you will be getting isn't very positive, sometimes even brutal, destructive and abusing. I'm developing commercial games and game development related software since now more than 20 years, and I've seen a lot of this. Take a look at my latest game, for example here:

For whatever reason, currently the game is rated "Very Positive", but it has had neary all stages in between already, including "very negative", "negative" and "mixed". And note that the game is available there only for about 6 weeks. People will complain about everything: That the software hasn't feature X, that is has feature X, that it isn't like game Y, or that it is exactly like game Y. The game is great but there is one single thing which the user doesn't like? "Not recommented!"
This isn't limited to this game above (it is just an example), I have this will all of my software.

It hasn't been like that all the time

I personally have the feeling that this phenomenon of extreme polarized reviews hasn't been there all the times, I think that it is a rather recent development. I have no data to back that up, but I think it has started at the same time when people started driving much more aggressive and behaving more reckless in traffic. I also blogged about the obivous behavior change of support requests of my customers during the last 10 years, which feels similar. What the reason for this is? I don't know.

Why you shouldn't care

In order to be able to do your work, you need to develop a thick skin. Especially for introverts like me, this is difficult, but harsh criticism and abusing comments are otherwise very demotivating. But there is also a reson why you shouldn't care: It is not possible to bend your software to the wishes of all the people. Of course, you can try to improve it where possible, but there will be always people not liking it. And additionally the most interesting is this:

Impact on sales has become lower

I've noticed that recently the ratings and software reviews don't seem to have a big influence on the sales numbers anymore. Maybe that's only for my software, but it doesn't seem to matter much anymore if your software for example has 5 stars or 2 stars. The amount of sales doesn't seem to be depending much on this anymore.
Maybe that's because people also know that user ratings aren't very representative? That they contain a lot of garbage? Maybe this could be a factor. But whatever it is, apparently, this isn't that important anymore, so you can at least stop caring that much.

What can be done about it

I'm not sure if this situation of user reviews can or should be fixed. Maybe it could be replaced by a new, or better system. I have no idea.

I will of course still try to improve my software where I can, and look into user feedback as much as possible. But at least I know that a lot of reviews can or even should probably be ignored.

Reddit now crippled by mods as well?

A reddit mod just banned me because I created version 2.0 of this free website editor named RocketCake and dared to submit the news. What has reddit become to?

I'm a reddit user for nearly 10 years now, and supporting reddit by commenting, posting and even spending thousands of euros in advertising on reddit each year. But I think I will stop doing this now.

Reddit is supposed to be a community where people up and downvote things they like or hate, not to be crippled by mods who don't know what they are doing. See what happened to the german wikipedia?

Crippled by mods, tons articles are now hopelessly out of date, technical wikipedia authors are frustrated. Hope reddit won't see a similar fate.

RocketCake 2.0 released

I just uploaded version 2.0 of RocketCake, the free responsive website editor.

This release contains quite a lot of new features, like multi level sub menus, selectable HTML version, support for placeholders, improved slideshows and galleries, and a lot more. See the detailed list here.

Ranges of electric cars

Did you ever consider buying an electric car? My current car is very old and nearing its death, so I thought maybe an electric car would be nice, as next one. Looking through the websites of all the car makers, you'll quickly notice that the both most important factors for buying such a car are usually not advertised at very prominent places: Price and Range. Sometimes, they are even missing on the website!

So I created a list with all current e-cars (available in Germany and Austria) which would be possible candidates, together with their range. You can see the list here, in German: Reichweiten von Elektroautos.

Maybe it could be useful to you too.

End of Early Access

After more than one year and 15 updates, I've taken the survival game PostCollapse out of early access on Steam. The game has changed significantly since the first release on Steam. See this screenshot comparison for example:

The left shows the first released version of PostCollapse, and the right one how it looks now: The world is much more detailled, has better graphics and much more content. The game has evolved quite a lot during the early access phase.

The game now has reached a state where it feels like how it was supposed to be: You get the right feeling of solitude, and that you are alone and have to work for your survival. Also, although everything is still 100% procedurally generated, it doesn't feel that much articifial anymore, thanks to the feedback of all the players.

The major features introduced in the Early Access where the following:

Thanks to all the people who have brought the game with their feedback as far as it is now. Creating this game has been an interesting adventure!

Happy New Year!

Another year has gone by and since a few hours, it's now 2018. As every new year, I'm offering most of my products with a big discount for a few days, like -75% off CopperCube and -50% off RocketCake. You can see the full list here.

Maybe there is something interesting for you as well.

I think 2017 was an interesting year, and I did a lot of new things, like for example releasing a political simulation game on steam, or implementing realtime shadows in my 3D game engine as free update. I learned a lot of things, and have plans for a lot more. I think 2018 will be exciting, especially for people using CopperCube, but let's see.

I wish you all a happy and successful new year!