William Usher wrote on Nov 14, 2014, 19:26:
Beamer wrote on Nov 13, 2014, 19:40:
Journalists let you know games are in the works, tell you release dates, serve you trailers, write you previews, and ultimately tell you whether or not to buy the game.
What percentage of gamers do you think hang out on messageboards like this? GTAV sold, what, 22 million copies? Kotaku, a standard games journalist, has 17 million unique visitors per month. Blues has, what, a few hundred regular posters?
We're the minority.
I actually agree with you, Beamer, about the importance of games media.
From announcement to release, how much influence does the hype train have on games -- from indies to AAA -- that turn into pre-orders and day-one buys?
The games journalism debate always keeps going back to "but teh reviews", but it's so much more than just the pre/post-release review; it's everything that leads up to it.
The question is: would a game like No Man's Sky be able to sell without any coverage from the media at all? And would a game like Payday 2 been able to manage a million or so sales without all the positive press leading up to release?
I say not at all.
But those, at least, are indies.
I look more at the games that get glowing previews when they're clearly not in good shape. I mean, sure, games change a LOT from preview to release. I have argued this a ton when people complain that a game doesn't look like a 14 month old E3 trailer. It's fun to go reread the Tribes previews from before things like skiing were in the game. That's a game that got better. Some games get worse. Many games, though, are clearly not much fun and possibly not going to get any more fun, but the previews write them up as if the features that aren't fun are factually fun because the devs tell them "we know this isn't fun, but imagine when it's like THIS!"
And, due to time or just lack of ability, it never actually becomes THIS.
I don't know if it's as common today because I don't read previews. PCG/CGW previews totally made me realize they were just bogus. But man, were they ever bogus.
All this said, the most recent game I've played in Alpha was FortNite. And it was under total journalist preview conditions - free booze and a dev sitting next to me walking me through everything and answering my "you should really do this or change this to that!" with "oh, we know, this is an old build, most of your suggestions are in the new build!" Based upon that, the game is a 10/10. But, what I actually saw isn't, because many things were missing. It was still a blast, but it's hard to judge a many-many-many hours game based upon 3 drunken hours on insanely powerful systems at a place where I was treated like a VIP.
But that's how publishers do so many previews.