Frothing Demand

Rabid commentary on video games, movies and television.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Reviewing the system

Over the last seven years, I’ve written 420 game reviews – about half of those in the last two years for “professional” rates. I’d love to review games for the rest of my life, but over the last three months, I’ve been educated on just how volatile this industry can be, having gone from reviewing 8-12 games per month to none.

In the extra time I’ve had to twiddle my thumbs and watch other people review games that I wanted to cover. Much of it, even from alleged “seasoned veterans” has made me want to bang my head against the wall until I pass out.

Reviews of AAA titles have become superfluous. The sheer amount of media – screenshots, previews, videos and demos – provided before a game’s release is enough to influence the consumer’s decision to buy a game well before a review hits. People who read websites for games news are well-informed compared to what we were 15 years ago when we solely relied on magazines for all gaming news – there’s no need to provide these consumers with advice. Most people who read online reviews basically come to see whether or not you agree with their opinion on the game so they can feel validated.

The system is so focused on reviews of these mass-market titles that many smaller projects and independent games – games where a review could have due influence – go uncovered. From a financial perspective, it’s well and truly understandable, but there’s a gap there – one that I intend to start filling.

posted by Matthew Keller at 1:16 pm  

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