Send News. Want a reply? Read this. More in the FAQ.   News Forum - All Forums - Mobile - PDA - RSS Headlines  RSS Headlines   Twitter  Twitter
Customize
User Settings
Styles:
LAN Parties
Upcoming one-time events:

Regularly scheduled events

Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans

Gamasutra interviews Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez, who provides insight into Ubisoft's evolving view of the influence of review scores on game sales. Though he confirms their commitment to quality, he also says they've come to the realization that review scores may be an overrated component of a game's reception. Specific examples are given as Assassin's Creed, which went on to be a hit in spite of an average Metacritic score of 80, compared with Metacritic scores in the 90s for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which went on to be a retail disappointment. This leads Martinez to comment: "It's not ratings that mean everything, but we think quality and innovation are the key." He also expresses disappointment at Atari's acquisition of Cryptic, saying Ubisoft had also bid on the MMO developer, but that they still have other acquisition deals in the works, and he expects one or two of them will be closed in the next three or four months. In other Ubisoft news, the collapse of Woolworth's and its distribution business EUK will cost several game companies some cash, though arguments over how much are underway and EUK says they are still looking for a buyer, and GamesIndustry.biz quotes Alain Martinez on Ubisoft's potential losses, saying "Woolworths is going to be bigger, probably it's going to be between EUR 1.2 and 1.5 million."

View
9 Replies. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 ] Older >

9. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans Dec 11, 2008, 19:14 danebramage
 
Quality and innovation are not the key. Advertising is the key. Unless your game is truly terrible (which AC was not, it just wasn't good), you can spend enough on advertising and advertising-related endeavors such that hype will glide you along to profitability.
I think you're missing the guy's point. Sure, advertising is necessary. Who would argue with that? I think what this guy is saying is that what's important when it comes to a purchasing decision is the perception of the game in the buyer's mind, and that the buyer's overall perception isn't as influenced by reviews as it is by his perception of the game's content and quality gleaned from other sources. That doesn't necessarily result from advertising hype.

AC succeeded because it looked like a cool, exciting game to play--an assassin jumping around and backstabbing people is inherently cool in the eyes of gamers--and BECAUSE IT WAS AN A-LIST TITLE FROM A MAJOR PUBLISHER. (PoP:SoT didn't succeed because, even though it had publisher cred, its content apparently didn't particularly appeal to the mass of gamers. Gamers today love evil: princes in shining armor are out, dark, bloody assassins are in.) If AC had been a $20 shelf-stuffer from JoWood, it would likely have flopped, no matter what the reviews said. As long as Ubisoft puts out the best quality stuff they can, and the stuff they put out "looks cool" in the eyes of gamers, AND they retain their brand credibility in the mind of the consumer, their games will sell.

The game review "industry" (and it almost is, or was, one) has brought this on themselves. Reviews by any except a very few established names--and who but true geeks even know who those people are--are mostly worthless, because anybody and everybody who has ever played a videogame thinks they're a game reviewer and now clogs the web with his/her shallow, sometimes incomprehensible and contradictory opinions. I give little credence to the vast bulk of what I read about a game, because I know that the vast bulk of what I'm reading has been written by simpletons...I also know I'm not alone in that. The same goes for movie reviews and just about every other other kind of review in the age of the Internet. Their ubiquity and the poor quality of their authors has made them worthless as any kind of dependable guide to quality. (This is not an attack on all game reviewers. There are some very good ones out there--Chick, Geryk, et al--but Metacritic doesn't measure the good ones. It lumps everybody in together, which makes its scores something akin to judging the quality of a school's football team by measuring the muscle mass of the entire student body.)
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
8. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans Dec 11, 2008, 17:51 wallace321
 
Didn't Sands of Time have Starforce on it?

"well that's your problem right there..."
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
7. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans Dec 11, 2008, 15:05 CrimsonPaw
 
It's all about hype; the more stories that run on how "cool" a game is and how awesome it'll be when it releases the more it'll sell. For AC, I knew very little about it until I read people on various boards hyping it up and it became a pre-order for me.

PoP:SoT on the other hand I knew nothing about until a buddy was saying it's cool, even then it took me about 4 months to pick it up. Undoubtedly, advertising and marketing are key since the more people know about the cool aspects of a product the more apt they are to pick it up without reading reviews (and not realizing said product is the same missions rehashed).
 
~~Crim~~
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
6. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans Dec 11, 2008, 14:20 JohnBirshire
 
Advertising is the key.

I agree with this statement, because we've seen proof of this phenomenon over and over and over and over again in our society.

Remember those belts that you could wear, that supposedly gave you six pack abs? Well they were reviewed HORRIBLY, with people complaining about it causing stomach ulcers, being electrocuted by the device, etc even before it became popular. Low and behold, they made hundreds of millions of dollars from selling the device before the phenomenon dissapeared. Remember that awful movie Blair Witch Project? Horrid reviews, people were throwing up while watching it due to motion sickness, etc. $30,000 to make it *they kept bragging about that*, but they spent untold millions marketing it. Can probably come up with a couple more dozen examples off the top of my head.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
5. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans Dec 11, 2008, 14:02 4D-Boxing
 
Specific examples are given as Assassin's Creed, which went on to be a hit in spite of an average Metacritic score of 80, compared with Metacritic scores in the 90s for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which went on to be a retail disappointment. This leads Martinez to comment: "It's not ratings that mean everything, but we think quality and innovation are the key."

Quality & Innovation really!!! No more blamming pirates etc...where is CliffyB??

BTW. Advertising is also very very important...I've said it before, devs should get together to to finance the advertising...especially on the PC side. Why wait to have the Windows logo added to a Console version adds?!
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
4. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans Dec 11, 2008, 12:30 JaguarUSF
 
Except that people want a short summary of the review, so that's why many places have scores. Of course, superior sites only use, say, an out of eight scoring scale instead of the unnecessary 10-point scale. Sites like Crispy Gamer have taken it even further, boiling it down to the basics: good, OK, bad.

This comment was edited on Dec 11, 2008, 12:32.
 
Avatar 24934
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
3. Wait Dec 11, 2008, 12:27 Wildone
 
I thought it was the pirates that influenced game sales?! NO WAIT! I thought it was the 2nd hand market that influenced game sales!!!...Im confused mommy Sweatdrop  
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
2. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisi Dec 11, 2008, 11:27 Zzet
 
Some years ago I imagine game sales lived and died by magazine reviews, simply because the consumer was pretty much limited in how he found out about said games. With the advent of the tubes, I imagine many more people are looking for multiple reviews, opinions, discussions and evaluations about a game they're interested in before they make the yes/no decision.
The problem is, the big publications (IGN, Gamespot, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, PC Zone, the official console magazines and perhaps even some papers) tend to be influenced in one way or another to give a game a higher score than it deserves. Corruption? Maybe not so strongly worded, but yes, there's got to be some influence behind the scenes. Unbiased reviews are so rare nowadays, even by people who claim to be freelance or hobbyists, since you can rarely give an objective view on X if you only like W, Y and Z.

I did a bit of freelance reviewing (even got paid, yay), and it's a fact that the site(s) you write articles for prefer to continue receiving review material from the publishers as it's pretty much their only way to keep going. The catch? Favourable reviews. Review scores simply won't be a good way to judge a game from the outside alone, hands-on experience is the real determinant.

So the solution? Remove scores, percentages and just stick to the facts. Provide everything the consumer could possibly want to know and explain your preference (or indifference) based on existing genre material and not on some abstract scale you have in your head. If the review is good enough and you give your honest opinion, a number at the end isn't necessary anyway.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
1. Re: Ubisoft on Review Scores and Acquisition Plans Dec 11, 2008, 11:21 ViRGE
 
Quality and innovation are not the key. Advertising is the key. Unless your game is truly terrible (which AC was not, it just wasn't good), you can spend enough on advertising and advertising-related endeavors such that hype will glide you along to profitability.  
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
9 Replies. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 ] Older >


footer

.. .. ..

Blue's News logo