The thought occurs that, these days, hype is as good at selling a game as that game's actual content. Skyrim sold respectably on the PC, which is saying something, and I don't think it did so because people were watching gameplay videos and reading reviews. It's the hype that did it.
Not just these days, snakeoil sales pitches have been a large part of selling gaming software as far as I can remember (20yrs?). However I do believe that today it is easier to find out if a game sucks or not before you buy it.
People get wary after a while. Ubisoft has a track record of selling half-baked goods and quickly dropping any after release support. People might put up with this for a game they "must have" but odds are they won't buy any other prodcts from that company.
Years ago I used to pre-order every game I was even remotely interested in. A few dozen coasters later and I learned my lesson
Gamers have become smarter consumers. If the company was pushing crap and relying on hype and marketing to move it, their bottom line will have steadily dropped over the past number of years.
I think in Skyrim's case there are many other important factors however. For example, it is building on an already well established franchise (going back to TES: Arena) so people have a fair idea what to expect even outside the hype.