Explained: Google Play Store’s new rating system across various devices and what it means for users

Google Play Developer Console is a platform provided by the company for Android app developers to publish and monitor their app’s performance in the Play Store. The tech giant has now shared a new message with the developers on this platform that concerns the app ratings and reviews on the Google Play Store. Google has confirmed that users will now be able to see app ratings that will be based on devices of similar form factors (spotted by Esper.io’s Mishaal Rahman) and not brands. In August 2021, Google revealed its plans to offer “device-related” app ratings for the first time. The company initially wanted to make the changes live within early 2022, however, the new reviews and ratings have just started to appear on the Play Store.
How do the new app ratings work
Currently, all Play Store apps are showing a new message in their “Ratings and reviews” section. The newly added notice confirms that the scores and ratings allotted to each app are “from people who use the same type of device that you use.”

This doesn’t mean that apps will show various average ratings on different devices. However, the number of reviews counted is expected to differ across multiple Android devices that you’re using.

For example, when the Xbox app is opened on Google Play Store on a smartphone, the reviews section shows that more than a million ratings have been recorded for the app. Meanwhile, if you open the same app on Play Store using a tablet or a foldable device, it will show that a mere 100,000 ratings have been recorded so far.
Moreover, the app might have the same star rating on different platforms but it is now clear that different metrics are being counted depending on the form factor.
What it means for users
Nowadays, Android apps are not just restricted to smartphones as they are available on a wide variety of gadgets that you use regularly including — tablets, smartwatches, smart TVs and even your laptop. The diversity in gadgets not only runs these apps differently but the usefulness of their Play Store ratings is also limited.

For example, if a specific app ships with poor tablet optimisations, it doesn’t mean that the software will cause similar issues on smartphones. However, this small change by Google can have a major impact on how users download their apps. The company wants to ensure that the Play Store ratings remain accurate for smartwatches, tablets, and other gadgets, as Android continues to expand into new product categories.

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