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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Why would there need to BE preventive measures in the first place? There isn't a problem...

    And where are these statistics on how much is "misallocated as a consequence of imperfect information"? I am usually not one to ask for statistics, but I do want them in this case. Because bad games generally sell poorly, good games tend to sell well*. Clearly people are buying the games they want to buy.
    There is the space for a problem to exist; therefore it exists. That's just how things work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ritashi View Post
    Or you could let market forces work it out, because they will. One games review site offering bullshit, biased reviews? Well, people will get burned by them and then go to a different site next time. Someone will pick up the slack and give real, unbiased reviews that people really want to read, and are informative. For me, that's usually RPS, although I definitely have different tastes from most of the RPS staff in certain areas. Totalbiscuit is pretty good with his "WTF is..." videos. If you get burned by bad reviews, more than once or twice, then you're an idiot. Find sites that do give good reviews and read them. They exist; there is pretty much 0 startup costs with starting a blog (actually it is literally 0 right now, other than time) so anyone can try it, which means that there is good distribution of supply. Enforcing rules and regulations that the market could have easily sorted out on it's own is stupid and wasteful.
    It's stupid NOT to enforce rules and regulations. Conflict of interest laws governing vastly identical behavior in vastly similar contexts exist for a reason- i'm not suggesting anything new at all. You can let the market sort it out but then you wouldn't need laws for misrepresentation either would you then? Oh, this brand is fond of misrepresenting its products. Consumers will stay away; stuff wouldn't need to be, by law, of merchantable quality. Refund policies could be completely dictated by companies - let the market sort it out.

    By failing to prohibit this sort of conduct you create a pervasive atmosphere, or practice, where stuff like this works. And ask yourself this: how often do firms compete against each other with better governance?

    In the end it's just about supply and demand. Price discovery is resolved by interactions between the asking price and the bidding price. The asking price is determined by how much the product is worth. Worth in this context doesn't mean return on investment or capital appreciation: it means entertainment value. When you buy a game predicated on predicted entertainment value, and that prediction is biased and therefore, likely to be incorrect, you are frustrating the very mechanism that a free market is built on.

  2. #82
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    It's stupid NOT to enforce rules and regulations.
    You want to regulate the reviews sector? What?! Trying to regulate people's opinion pieces is absurd, it's a step away from thought police. I'm all for the side of law and order, but that goes too far.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    stuff wouldn't need to be, by law, of merchantable quality.
    This, and actually most of what you say, has nothing to do with games. Is the movie review sector heavily regulated? Food reviews? Goddamn blogs? Next you'll want to legislate against forum posts. "Wait, you don't like Dishonored? Clearly your opinion is wrong, you're not unbiased. That'll be a $500 fine thanks."

    All of this "the market will sort it out" thing is true in this case, because it revolves around an entertainment product range that appeals to different people of different tastes. It's not a mechanical device that can be objectively assessed or poses a public health threat or has an intended use which it must be fit for. It's entertainment. Any court will laugh you out if you went up, said "I didn't like this movie, but I paid to go see it after reading a review that said it was great, I'm now suing for misrepresentation." If anything, regulating opinion pieces (reviews) on entertainment and enforcing penalties would just wipe out reviews. Nobody would bother to post an opinion, so you'd have nothing. That's far worse than what we have now.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    You want to regulate the reviews sector? What?! Trying to regulate people's opinion pieces is absurd, it's a step away from thought police. I'm all for the side of law and order, but that goes too far.

    Don't be obtuse, he's talking about preventing conflict of interest in order to protect the integrity of the job?

    You know, like fucking judges and doctors?


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  4. #84
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    Don't be obtuse, he's talking about preventing conflict of interest in order to protect the integrity of the job? You know, like fucking judges and doctors?
    That has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand and shouldn't even factor into a thread about opinion pieces, and you know that. He even responded to a post that was about the video game market. Nice try at deflection, but totally off topic.

    Thanks for being abusive about it though, perhaps next time you'll think about how absurd it is trying to link medicine (with objective standards) with entertainment (entirely subjective).

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    entertainment (entirely subjective).
    Entertainment might be entirely subjective, but entertainment media(books, movies, TV shows, music, radio podcasts, video games) are not. Some examples: books can be badly written with flat characters and unimaginative descriptions, movies and TV shows can have bad camera work or lighting, songs can be badly sung, and radio presenters can say "hmmmmmmmm" every second word.

    I'll let you figure out yourself what can be objectively judged about video games(but it's pretty much "all of the above plus game mechanics")

  6. #86
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mohorovicic View Post
    Entertainment might be entirely subjective, but entertainment media(books, movies, TV shows, music, radio podcasts, video games) are not. Some examples: books can be badly written with flat characters and unimaginative descriptions, movies and TV shows can have bad camera work or lighting, songs can be badly sung, and radio presenters can say "hmmmmmmmm" every second word.

    I'll let you figure out yourself what can be objectively judged about video games(but it's pretty much "all of the above plus game mechanics")
    But who decides that books have flat characters? This can also be entirely subjective as well. What decides a good game mechanic? People are torn over Metro 2033's, for example.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    But who decides that books have flat characters? This can also be entirely subjective as well. What decides a good game mechanic? People are torn over Metro 2033's, for example.
    Correct. But what you are essentially saying is that opinions from reviewers are so subjective that they can be anything, which means no matter what factors they consider, including economic ones that have nothing to do with the merit of the game itself, the review is still good. But then what you are really saying is that reviews are useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    You want to regulate the reviews sector? What?! Trying to regulate people's opinion pieces is absurd, it's a step away from thought police. I'm all for the side of law and order, but that goes too far.

    This, and actually most of what you say, has nothing to do with games. Is the movie review sector heavily regulated? Food reviews? Goddamn blogs? Next you'll want to legislate against forum posts. "Wait, you don't like Dishonored? Clearly your opinion is wrong, you're not unbiased. That'll be a $500 fine thanks."
    I think you misunderstood what i said. A reviewer is free to say whatever he wants. However, preventive measures are imposed to prevent these reviewers from any potential conflict of interests when issuing their opinion.

    All of this "the market will sort it out" thing is true in this case, because it revolves around an entertainment product range that appeals to different people of different tastes. It's not a mechanical device that can be objectively assessed or poses a public health threat or has an intended use which it must be fit for. It's entertainment. Any court will laugh you out if you went up, said "I didn't like this movie, but I paid to go see it after reading a review that said it was great, I'm now suing for misrepresentation." If anything, regulating opinion pieces (reviews) on entertainment and enforcing penalties would just wipe out reviews. Nobody would bother to post an opinion, so you'd have nothing. That's far worse than what we have now.
    Again, the content itself is not being regulated. The relationships that give rise to conflict of interests are prevented from happening.

    And you illustrated precisely the problem with media: the product is an experience, and experiences are subjective. This makes ascribing measurements and quantities a pain in the ass. So you can get away with a lot. But surely this doesn't mean you are free to spout out a review with a score decided by a publisher who hands you cash over the table in exchange.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Am I biased? Of course. Reviews cannot be objective, they are always a subjective assessment of a game coloured by the reviewer's personality. Reviews are not a scientific analysis, there is no defined "good" and "bad". Reviews are an opinion, which by strict definition can't be objective. In terms of "objective" as "judged fairly" that definition has serious problems because everyone has different ideas of what is "fair".
    Yeah - also worth noting that there's selection bias in the whole process that leads to generally more positive reviews. If someone doesn't like modern man-shoots, they don't get given CoD to review. That's also another reason it's dangerous to make anything original or different: because it's harder to pair it up with a reviewer that's likely to enjoy it.

    But the important thing here is the motivation. Reviewers aren't being given games they're more likely to enjoy because the publisher paid for it. They're being given them because they'll have a better knowledge of the genre, and part of the job is putting the game into context of similar games. Also on a human level, games reviewers work a ton of unpaid overtime - you don't get to spend the entire working week playing through a 40-hour game, you have to take it home with you, so best hope you're having fun! A site where reviewers picked the games they were reviewing out of a hat would be interesting, but ultimately impractical.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    There needs to be a best practice guideline that excludes potential conflicts of interest between reviewers and publishers. Reviewers should not be hosting ads of a game that they review. Or at least the departments responsible should be separated by a chinese wall
    Well that's the job of the editor. Still, while there might be a conflict there, it's so visible to not be worth legislating against. Yes, if there's a glowing review of a game, on a site surrounded by take-over ads for that game, it looks bad. It looks bad to anyone, everyone is going to question the impartiality of that review. Even if the site is completely innocent. Conflicts are generally only a problem when they're undeclared.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    But who decides that books have flat characters? This can also be entirely subjective as well.
    It's either that or you assume nothing is ever bad because someone, somewhere, can enjoy it. Which is utter nonsense.

  10. #90
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    Keep the discussion civil, folks. I will hand out bans for direct insults.

    Regarding the "advertising influences reviews" thing, I want to say this: our views are never influenced by adverts for a game being on the site. I know this for the simple reason that we generally do not even know whether or not the game will be advertised on the site when we write a review.

    Advertising is handled by a separate company. We like it that way. It's completely separates sales and editorial.

    I often see an argument which states that editorial must necessarily be favourable to advertisers to get them want to keep advertisers. I can see why people would think this, and I have known advertisers throw a wobbler over bad reviews and previews in the past. But they always come back. They come back because there are things which vastly outweigh our negativity about their products. The things that advertisers want are traffic and an appropriate demographic. We have both of those. Millions of people looking at the site, and those people are exactly the kind of people that advertisers want to sell to. It's not cheap, shit SEO traffic, it's hardcore gamers who want to read about and discuss games. The kind of people who tell their friends what to buy. And being able to advertise to those people vastly outweighs whether or not we called their game shit. Which we sometimes do.

    And how do we get and keep the traffic and the valuable demographic? By being honest about what we think about games. We've done it for years, and will continue to do it. I totally understand people's cynicism, but I have spent many years making this my livelihood and so I really do know how it works. Plenty of people will be convinced they know better, but they really don't.

    Sites like this one only work if you say what you actually think, every time. People might not agree with it, but it's nonetheless honest copy. The question of corruption is one that won't go away, of course, but I feel sad and insulted every time it arises in the case of RPS.

    Hell, if nothing else, why would I be in games journalism for the money? ​Everyone I went to school with is better off.

  11. #91
    Network Hub Dubbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rossignol View Post
    And how do we get and keep the traffic and the valuable demographic? By being honest about what we think about games.
    Everyone that howls about corruption ignores this. If reviews are unreliable, gamers will go elsewhere for their reviews. If readership drops, ad revenue follows and the imaginary envelopes full of publishers' cash would also dry up. You can't make a long-term living out of deceiving consumers.
    Open-faced sandwiches are upon you whether you would risk it or not.

  12. #92
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    There is the space for a problem to exist; therefore it exists. That's just how things work..
    Someone might get confused, let's dumb down this game and just make it a single-button click fest!
    Someone might be offended by our mature story, let's go rescue princesses from spikey turtles!
    Condoms are not 100% effective. BAN ALL SEX NOT INTENDED FOR PROCREATION!!!! :p


    Seriously, the system already HAS oversight. If a reader thinks the review is too biased, they are less likely to go to that source. If it continues, that source goes out of business.
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  13. #93
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rossignol View Post
    Hell, if nothing else, why would I be in games journalism for the money? ​Everyone I went to school with is better off.
    On the positives you got to play Dishonored & Xcom before any of them Jim.
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  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dubbill View Post
    Everyone that howls about corruption ignores this. If reviews are unreliable, gamers will go elsewhere for their reviews. If readership drops, ad revenue follows and the imaginary envelopes full of publishers' cash would also dry up. You can't make a long-term living out of deceiving consumers.
    That's why flawless diamonds in the rough like gametrailers and kotaku are about 20 times bigger than RPS?
    Please.
    You overestimate the average gamer and reader.

  15. #95
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    That's why flawless diamonds in the rough like gametrailers and kotaku are about 20 times bigger than RPS?
    Please.
    You overestimate the average gamer and reader.
    GT is a general gaming site with lots of videos
    Kotaku is a "gaming culture" site that also is general purpose

    RPS is a PC gaming site

    What you would instead want to do would be to use PC Gamer (are they still around?) or Total Biscuit as a comparison, since those are at least targeting the same demographic.

    Also, at least as far as console gaming goes, I like GT. I don't always agree with their scores, but they show actual gameplay which really helps me to make a decision.
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  16. #96
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    You'd think that sites etc. have so much power over advertisers that pissing them off over one game would be a non-issue. What would EA possibly gain by withdrawing support from IGN etc? That must be a massive part of their exposure and not showing ads there could be pretty damaging. Admittedly for IGN to lose EA/Activision would be bad for them too, but it's seems like if it wasn't them it'd be Ubisoft/Sony etc.

  17. #97
    Network Hub SirDavies's Avatar
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    Anyone who has ever read an RPS review would know they are always honest, well thought out reviews. Reading it, you can see that the reviewer's opinions are clearly justified and visibly distinguished form the facts about the game. That's what ultimately constitutes a good review. But videogames, just as all media, are a matter of personal taste, so the fact that you don't agree with a reviewer's opinion doesn't make them instantly corrupt.

    What I take an issue with is websites or publications where differentiating a review from a press release is a hard task, where the reviewer spews out opinions as well-known facts and where videogames have an average rating surrounding 9.5. That is where shit starts to get suspicious. I don't believe that the fact that RPS has advertisement about videogames alone is enough justification to accuse them of corruption.

  18. #98
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woundedbum View Post
    You'd think that sites etc. have so much power over advertisers that pissing them off over one game would be a non-issue. What would EA possibly gain by withdrawing support from IGN etc? That must be a massive part of their exposure and not showing ads there could be pretty damaging. Admittedly for IGN to lose EA/Activision would be bad for them too, but it's seems like if it wasn't them it'd be Ubisoft/Sony etc.
    Its brinkmanship, just at a much lesser scale.

    IGN wants to say "The new Medal of Battlefields is average", but they don't want to piss off EA who just bought every ad on their site. So they say "The new Medal of Battlefields is pretty good, but has a few shortcomings" instead. Nobody really gets hurt, and the magic number WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT BE BASING YOUR DECISIONS ON is the only thing that changes.

    Then you have the stuff which has happened very rarely (but many in this thread seem to think happens all the time...) where IGN wants to say "The new Medal of Battlefields is garbage" and EA exerts pressure and basically says "You don't give us a good review, we pull our ads". Sometimes the publisher('s ad company) wins, other times the site pushes the review anyway and the ads get pulled for a month or two and then goes back to normal.
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  19. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by SirDavies View Post
    Anyone who has ever read an RPS review would know they are always honest, well thought out reviews. Reading it, you can see that the reviewer's opinions are clearly justified and visibly distinguished form the facts about the game. That's what ultimately constitutes a good review. But videogames, just as all media, are a matter of personal taste, so the fact that you don't agree with a reviewer's opinion doesn't make them instantly corrupt.

    What I take an issue with is websites or publications where differentiating a review from a press release is a hard task, where the reviewer spews out opinions as well-known facts and where videogames have an average rating surrounding 9.5. That is where shit starts to get suspicious. I don't believe that the fact that RPS has advertisement about videogames alone is enough justification to accuse them of corruption.
    Something that should be noted is the phenomena of score inflation. Basically, for whatever reason, the 100 point scale is anything but. So when a reviewer wants to get across that the game is average, somewhat enjoyable but ultimately forgettable, on an actual 100 point scale, he might give it a 55, slightly above average - but in reality, he needs to give it a 80-85. If he would actually give it a 55, not only would people falsely think that the game is incredibly terrible, but there would be a massive uproar in the comment section.

    Basically, the main flaw of numbered reviews is not the publishers, but the consumers, not corruption, but (and I really hate using this term, but it works and I can't think of a better word at the moment. sorry.) fanboyism.

  20. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGodzillaHunter View Post
    Something that should be noted is the phenomena of score inflation. Basically, for whatever reason, the 100 point scale is anything but. So when a reviewer wants to get across that the game is average, somewhat enjoyable but ultimately forgettable, on an actual 100 point scale, he might give it a 55, slightly above average - but in reality, he needs to give it a 80-85. If he would actually give it a 55, not only would people falsely think that the game is incredibly terrible, but there would be a massive uproar in the comment section.

    Basically, the main flaw of numbered reviews is not the publishers, but the consumers, not corruption, but (and I really hate using this term, but it works and I can't think of a better word at the moment. sorry.) fanboyism.
    I'm not sure anyone troubles themselves to set out exactly what a score means, so I don't see average scores being far over 50 as anything of a problem. In fact it seems quite reasonable to me. Most games are pretty playable if you like the genre. I'd prefer playing most "average" games in a genre I liked to sitting in silence doing nothing (I quite like sitting in silence doing nothing, so it's a fairly high bar to beat). Were I reviewing games, I might choose 50/100 to signify a game that is essentially neutral---equivalent to sitting on my own in silence. Most games would beat that, so they deserve a higher score.

    Then there are some games that are absolutely horrible. They deserve a score so far away from average games that you need quite a big score buffer between them and normal games. It's quite a useful tool. If you see a game averaging under 50 on Metacritic then you can fairly certain it's a dreadful game that you mustn't ever touch.

    I think you're wrong that average games get 80-85, that range tends to encompass games that are fairly strong. Average games will usually live in the seventies.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

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