Posted by Tauriq Moosa - 14 May 2012
Gavin recently noted that games that receive almost universal dislike from professional reviewers still sometimes sell better than ones highly praised. For example, Sniper Elite V2 sold better at one point than Mass Effect 3. Ignoring for the moment that sales don’t indicate quality – Twilight, anyone? – it is still interesting to wonder about game reviews’ purpose, in general. After all, if reviews that universally hated a game do nothing to reduce a game’s sales, then what is the point of reviews? To be clear, the aim of a critical review is not to reduce the sales of a game (though I did hope to stop at least two purchases with my column on Skyrim): but reduced sales of a game is usually a sign that people aren’t going to invest time and money, because they know it’s crap. And obviously people discover crappiness through reviews.
Gavin’s point was that this data means either that people don’t care about reviews or that they simply ignore them. Both are good things, but it doesn’t negate reviews altogether. It just means in many instances, reviews are ignored – it doesn’t prove reviews are pointless.