Posted by murse2008 (239 posts) -

Yes, I'm aware of all the Metacritic is bad arguments out there, but I still use it as a central access point for reviews and as a starting point to find new games worth my time. Often I'm dismayed to find review lists like the one on the left.

Alternately, when clicking on the reviews for Halo 4, you will see this:

Do you really need 87 opinions (one for every point in the Metacritic average), to make up your mind about Halo 4?

My point is this: I know it might not be any fun for a reviewer to review all of the games on the list up there. But for the sake of informing the consumer, shouldn't a little more time be spent reviewing less advertised games so that we can at least get some idea of how good they are? I'm sure I'll find some reviews if I google those titles, but surely from the 87 outlets that covered Halo 4, 4 out of 87 could give enough attention to color that list a little; besides reading reviews of shitty games is entertaining and gives new talent something to do.

#1 Posted by rentacop (107 posts) -

You'd think with the games journalism industry being so hard to break into and sustain that people would be trying to stand out any way possible.

#2 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1504 posts) -

The thing is that a Halo 4 review would probably get more hits than reviews for all of those games combined. I see where you're coming from, but you're asking these outlets to make bad financial decisions at a time when there's not a lot of money floating around to waste.

#3 Posted by murse2008 (239 posts) -

@grantheaslip: I'm not sure that the financial argument is quite that simple. If I was a smaller website and I was trying to drive traffic I'd think there are 2 ways I could make something like Metacritic work for me. Either I could post a dissenting opinion on a popular game (QuarterToThree does this a lot) or I could cover games that no one else covers. If a game gets to 4 reviews (and this is an issue with the way Metacritic does things IMO), my chances are 1/4 that someone would click through to my review. In the case of Halo 4, my chances would be 1/87 when choosing randomly. I feel there is an opportunity for this type of thing if anyone out there is willing to tackle it and do it well.

#4 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1504 posts) -

@murse2008 said:

@grantheaslip: I'm not sure that the financial argument is quite that simple. If I was a smaller website and I was trying to drive traffic I'd think there are 2 ways I could make something like Metacritic work for me. Either I could post a dissenting opinion on a popular game (QuarterToThree does this a lot) or I could cover games that no one else covers. If a game gets to 4 reviews (and this is an issue with the way Metacritic does things IMO), my chances are 1/4 that someone would click through to my review. In the case of Halo 4, my chances would be 1/87 when choosing randomly. I feel there is an opportunity for this type of thing if anyone out there is willing to tackle it and do it well.

That makes sense, and you might be right. I was thinking more from the perspective of a site with a solid existing audience.

#5 Edited by Slag (3919 posts) -

@murse2008: I agree with @grantheaslip. It's a reality of the business of that these sites basically have to cover the blockbusters . If they don't they risk losing a ton of traffic volume and potentially angering their readers. There is high demand for coverage on those games ,which is why there are so many reviews. And let's face it if the average reader wants to know about the new Tomb Raider game they will not likely accept a substitute review on an indie game. Instead they will go to the site that has a review on the game they want to know about.

They may not land any new readers that way, but it is I think a necessary defensive move to prevent their existing elsewhere from going elsewhere as well as to protect their reputation of mattering in the zeitgeist.

Now I do agree past that these sites need a differentiating hook to keep readers beyond doing what everybody does. But I don't think they could get away without covering the basics.

#6 Edited by murse2008 (239 posts) -

@slag: I agree that they should cover the blockbusters. It doesn't mean that it is all they should cover. And of course it is important to stay above water, it is an extreme to argue however that if they review anything than the games with high marketing budgets they will not stay afloat. As I discussed with @grantheaslip the coverage and review of lesser known games can actually be a very good differentiator. All a gaming site has to do is say "Hey new guy, go review this truck/crane/bus simulator game.". That's not going to bankrupt anyone. There are sites that review that kind of thing, but there's no reason there shouldn't be more and that great content cannot come from it.

#7 Posted by phantomzxro (1558 posts) -

You also have to look at our community as a whole, sure we may take the time to take a look at lesser known games but I'm sure a large amount don''t care and want that halo 4 review for example. So i think it depends heavily on demand and what the "whole" want to see. But i do think there are sites out there that hit some of the lesser known stuff along with podcast where shout outs of these games happen too.

#8 Edited by Corvak (831 posts) -

I prefer quality over quantity.

Giant Bomb does wide coverage of the big names, with reviews and quick looks. For smaller titles, it really depends on their workload, but for what they cant cover, the wiki offers the best community involvement anywhere.

On Metacritic, user scores arent even worth reading, theyre usually some vocal faction of a fandom out to prove a point, or carry out some sort of rant against a publisher or developer. However, Giant Bomb's community often produces quality close to the level of the people being paid to write about games.

#9 Posted by Slag (3919 posts) -

@slag: I agree that they should cover the blockbusters. It doesn't mean that it is all they should cover. And of course it is important to stay above water, it is an extreme to argue however that if they review anything than the games with high marketing budgets they will not stay afloat. As I discussed with @grantheaslip the coverage and review of lesser known games can actually be a very good differentiator. All a gaming site has to do is say "Hey new guy, go review this truck/crane/bus simulator game.". That's not going to bankrupt anyone. There are sites that review that kind of thing, but there's no reason there shouldn't be more and that great content cannot come from it.

Well then we actually pretty much agree.

I wasn't arguing that they couldn't/shouldn't cover indie games, I was saying they basically have no choice but to cover the blockbusters regardless of what else they focus on. What they choose to do beyond that depends on the site and their target audience. As you pointed out covering smaller titles can be a good differentiator. Although admittedly I think it's a common tactic as well so you probably need to do more than that. e.g. Giant Bomb's secret sauce seems to be Quick Looks + personality driven Lulz.

And to be honest I'm not sure that isn't what is actually already happening, Indie titles by their very nature are going to be covered by less sites while Halo etc will be covered by most. All 87 of those review sites likely review smaller titles as well I bet. They just don't all cover the same ones or the same number of them.

I guess I must have misinterpreted your original post about Halo 4,I I thought you were arguing some of those sites should not have been reviewing that game in favor covering something like Alien Spidy which has only 5 reviews so far. If Giant Bomb's recent Quick Look it should be at least 6.

http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/alien-spidy

anyway yeah more coverage small titles would help everybody, like you also pointed out most of us probably generally know what to think of Halo4 without metacritic's help. But something like Alien Spidy, I'd have no clue. (FWIW the GiantBomb Quick Look showed me I wouldn't like it)