About a month ago I started interviewing people in the gaming industry about reviews. I'd read plenty of rants about the state of game reviews. But I wanted to know more. I wanted to do some reporting.
I wanted to ask some big questions:
- How much do game reviews matter to the people who make games?
- How exactly do bad game reviews affect the business of game making?
- What are the biggest problems reviewers face while doing their jobs?
- Why didn't anyone -- well, just about anyone -- review "Ape Quest"?
- What's the most ridiculous thing about the games review process?
I asked a lot more than that. And I found out plenty of information which I'll be sharing all week. Read on for a schedule of the posts to come and some initial findings.
I conducted a dozen in-depth interviews with developers, publishers, p.r. people and reviewers. Off the record, I spoke to dozens more. I wanted to talk to retailers too, but so far none will speak to me. As for gamers themselves, I hope these posts will get them talking.
I learned a lot.
I learned that many developers are deeply suspicious of the qualifications of many game reviewers.
I learned about a controversial industry practice that has caused bad reviews to literally keep food off developers' tables.
I learned that Jeff Gerstmann was going to give the PC version of "Kane & Lynch" a lower score than he did the console one.
And I learned what changes, if any, some of the top game creators and bloggers want to make to the reviews process.
So here's the schedule for the week. You can expect a week dedicated to exploring the ins and outs of how reviews work why they really matter and who influences them. Arm yourself with knowledge and check out some more game review reporting.
MTV Multiplayer Reviews Week (Tentative) Schedule
- Tuesday: Kick-off --> Some juicy quotes. And a rough draft of the Game Reviewers' Bill of Rights.
- Wednesday: Download Day --> A polite, memorable request from a game publisher. And an investigation into the widespread reviewer neglect of downloadable games.
- Thursday: The Developers Speak --> What game reviews mean creatively and financially to game developers.
- Friday: Looking Forward --> Top game reviewers on the art of not second-guessing. And a few proposals from the experts about how to change the reviews system.