Hype and gaming

This article got me thinking

A quote

Study participants were split into three groups: one exposed, prior to playing, to high-scored reviews of the game; a second exposed beforehand to negative reviews, and a control group who was not shown any reviews.

On completing the study, participants got a choice: Take $10, or take a free copy of the game. Fascinatingly, “participants exposed to higher review scores were twice as likely to take a copy of Plants vs. Zombies over the $10 cash, and 85 percent more likely to take the game than the control group,” says the study. And they were 121 percent more likely to take the game than were those who had seen poor scores beforehand.

Notice how the three groups played the game, they could have formed their own opinion witht that. Still, the experience of reading positive or negative reviews affected them

Positive reviews matter for most people, not only the affect sales, but they seem to even affect your own opinion and enjoyment of the game.
I have put “hype and gaming” in the title because imo, it’s not limited to professional reviews and score, it’s professional reviews, user reviews, impressions on forums, etc, so in general, “hype”.

Imo, this explains so much of the mainstream opinion on AAA games, which have a constant, positive feedback from the press first in previews, after in the glowing reviews, later in the echo chambers also called “big gaming forums” (at least for the first days of the release).
I am speaking in general, not making a snipe to A or B game.

edit: uh… not saying AAA games have to be bad, doh, but there is some quantity of “free pass” with AAA games, where people just assume they are good. “They are expensive, they have good graphics, they have very positive reviews, of course they are good!”

So to sum up, Leigh Alexander believes that professional game reviewing is a racket designed to bolster the overall game industry-at-large’s goal of parting people from their money.

However, I think using Plants Versus Zombies was a rotten choice for this experiment.

The people who took the 10 dollars instead of a game copy most likely came up with the plan to get free cash and then summarily went on to pirate the game.

They should have chosen a more neutral title such as Flower or Weird Worlds for a more accurate reflection of influence, in my opinion…

How is this compared to buy plots of land?

If you run a survey on a plot and theres high level of crystite, the odds to buy that land are higuer.

Reviews are somewhat like mineral surveys.

Reviews of PvZ probably leak the information that theres more game in PvZ than what the eye may see, because theres different hidden gamemodes that unlock latter. So your willl to buy PvZ enhance wen you know more about the game!.

Sould have taken a different game for the study.

Why isn’t Plants vs Zombies a rotten choice? It’s a good, nice but not incredible game, which can be liked by all publics. Appealing but simple mechanics and graphics. Kind of neutral choice, imo.

Much more neutral than Flower or Weird Worlds.

But i can agree in what a much less neutral title like Flower or Weird Worlds would be interesting for this study, to try the extremes, and see if they can be also affected by reviews like other, more usual videogames.

True, giving only half and hour was perhaps a problem in the study, now i think of it.

This would be true whether they saw high-scoring reviews, low-scoring reviews, or no reviews. It doesn’t explain the observed differences between them.

People who saw negative reviews were less likely to buy the game than people who saw no review, though. So you’re not accounting for the difference between positive and negative reviews.

Moreover, there’s another conclusion in the study:

The group that saw high scores tended to offer their own scores on average 20 percent higher than those that were shown low scores, but only 6 percent higher than the control group who had not seen any scores.
which speaks for itself.

Issues like “pirating a ‘free’ copy” obviously don’t apply to this result. Also, it’s interesting that the high-scoring reviews have little effect here (I don’t know if the result is actually statistically significant).

More pointedly, it plays into selection bias and therefore is a relevant detail but it doesn’t invalidate the results.

It’s an interesting study, although not tremendously surprising results. I’d love to see some more follow ups.

edit - I would even say the study is visually stunning if they would pay me for it ;)

I think enjoyment is largely dependent from our expectations.
The prejudice that something is going to be (un)pleasant will filter and color our experiences, and putting more enthusiasm in an activity will make it more pleasant.

For example, now I’m playing a lot of WoW. If I go into a dungeon thinking I’m testing and honing my skill, taking and overcoming a challenge, I’ll generally have a better time than if I do the same with the idea that its just an endless grind with no tangible reward.
Is interesting to note that both perspectives can be considered correct.

What is most interesting to think about, however, is how this can be applied to all our life experiences, desires and pleasures. Makes me wonder how worthwhile my different desires really are.

Fabio Volta

The study reminds me of one they showcase in Penn and Teller’s Bullshit (S8E2) on fast food. Wherein one group was given a “Southwestern Salad” from a place called “The California Grill,” and another was given a chicken ranch taco salad (or what ever its called) from taco bell.

Unfortunately for the participants both salads were the same one, and both were from taco bell. The group which were told that they were not being served fast food described their salad as being much better than the group told they were going to be eating taco bell did.

Also as another correlation, people told they were going to be eating from “The California Grill” were off by about 50% on their calorie estimates.

Anyway food and taste are so very much more subjective than video games at least in my personal experience, but the similarities were interesting to me.

I looked around for a good write up online about the actual research but I am supposed to be working and didn’t spend much time on it.

Newsflash! People are sheep and Octonoo is a troll. Details at eleven.

Another Gamasutra article in a similar vein, this time discussing the 5 psychological phenomenon that can affect GOTY voting.

Or read it at his original site, and stay and read more articles because the site is frickin fascinating

This seems to be a normal part of human nature. Our opinions aren’t entirely our own. we are social creatures and our opinions are biased by those around us. Especially from people we respect or sources we believe are more knowledgable in the subject than we are.

The alternative is to always believe that our opinion is definitive, or admit that we aren’t qualified to have an opinion on most things.

Allowing our opinions to be shaped by other sources than direct experience isn’t a problem with journalism (I’m not saying anyone is pushing that view) but the purpose of journalism.

This is, as I understand it, a general phenomena; in addition to reviews one could cite “critical acclaim” for clever consumers or price for luxury items.

I’m not a fan of Freakonomics - Chicagoites - but they had a podcast about wine prices and criticismthat touches on this issue. In a nutshell, if you convince people wine is expensive and/or prizewinning, it’ll “taste better,” even if this is a hoax. (The podcast begins with anecdotal examples but leads into more scientific study.)

QT3/RPS reading gamers undoubtedly enjoy playing their critically savvy games all the more knowing that they’re the thinking-gamer’s games. I’d make an analogy with the sociology of music nerdery but I’m sure noone here wants to be compared to hipsters.

At any rate, it’s a good thing consumers are swayed by good reviews. Otherwise the big publishers would be wasting a lot of effort debauching gaming journalism into a Lyonsian chorus of trained seals.