Following the upset when it was alleged that fans of College Lacrosse 2011 attempted to boost its visibility on Xbox Live Indie Games by maliciously down-rating other titles, Microsoft has tightened the rules. While anyone who registered a free account could rate XBLIG titles before, this is now restricted to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
"By implementing this change," Microsoft said, "we believe our customers will experience more consistent ratings and a significantly reduced potential for abuse across the entire Xbox catalog."
Microsoft notes that it investigated rolling back the dodgy votes, but "determined it will not be possible to do this." One cannot imagine that the developers whose games plummeted down the ratings chart will be too pleased with this.
The company also says it is "investigating users who may have violated their user agreement during this series of events." It may result in banishment from Xbox Live, removing any games they've released, and blocking them from posting games in the future.
While the change will doubtless hugely reduce abuse, it'll also adversely affect Xbox Live Silver members who genuinely do play the games they rate. One sensible alternative solution suggested by the XBLIG community was to only allow people to rate games they own; only Microsoft knows why this wasn't the solution chosen.