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Predicting Launch Title Review Scores 38

Next Generation is hosting an article attempting to prognosticate the spread of review scores for the PS3 and Wii. Author Matt Matthews does this by examining historical precedents for previous system launches. From the article: "Next month Sony's PlayStation 3 will launch with only two games which will get an average review score of 90% or better. On the other hand, Nintendo's Wii will have three games which will average scores of 90% or better. And it is almost certain that each of those consoles will launch with two absolute stinkers, games which consistently score below 60%... How can we know this? Because history tells us that this is what happens with console launch titles." For even more analysis of the data, Matthews has additional charts on curmudgeon gamer.
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Predicting Launch Title Review Scores

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  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joshetc ( 955226 ) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:01PM (#16598266)
    Wouldn't "Preview Scores" be easier.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:22PM (#16598676)
      What is really stupid about this is that their methodology is probably as accurate as doing preview scores for every game ...

      Basically, most Game Review scores are less about the actually quality of a game and is far more about how it compares to other games on the same platform; the reality is that their estimate of 10% of games will recieve a 90% or higher score could be easily interpreted as "1 in 10 games will be dramatically better than the competition to the extent that it will justify a score of 90% or higher".

      Personally, I believe that the average-average score is probably more telling of the quality of a launch because the average score of the average game will probably be effected more by how it compares to games on other platforms; for example, many PS2 launch games looked as bad as playstation games and were probably butchered in their reviews for not looking as good as they could.
  • by AcidLacedPenguiN ( 835552 ) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:08PM (#16598410)
    The publishing companies will pay off the review mags so that 2 games will be guaranteed 90% or more, and "okay" games without the budget to pay for their percentage will be in and around the 60% mark.
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I have no idea about the other titles, but Oblivion is a shoe-in for 90%+ rating simply because its a great game. I guess Bethesda could seriously fuck up the port to lower that score.
  • Scores = joke (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daeg ( 828071 ) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:08PM (#16598412)
    The problem with game ratings is they aren't fair or useful. What, exactly, is the difference between a 92% and a 93%? In order for them to be accurate and useful, game reviewers should be using the entire scope of their scale, not just the middle and top. A really bad game shouldn't get a 60% -- it should get a 10%. An average game shouldn't get 85%, it should get 50%.

    Similarly, various review sites use category-based ratings, for instance, graphics are rated separately from sound effects. The game might have a low graphic, sound, and gameplay, but get a good overall grade. That doesn't make sense and they usually justify it in their review text by saying "We felt the average score of 80% just wasn't enough, so we're giving it an overall score of 90%." Why? If everything was so bad, your scores should back it up.

    These and many other reasons are making game reviews less relevant and more like blog posts than concrete reviews.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I agree that the numerical scoring is an utter joke. But by reading the text reviews associated with the score, you can look for qualities that the game does well or poorly in. These things are more important to me than the score. The review can tell you the things that the game does well or the areas it flourishes in, and the score just gives you a basic idea of its overall goodness (in relation to the other reviewed games)
    • I usually just translate percentages into a letter grade. Of course, it would be nice if the reviews just gave a letter grade in first place.

      As for breaking a game down into categories, I've hated this for a long time. What other reviews do this? I don't see movie reviews being broken down into cinematography, sound, music, acting. If one of those things is noteworthy, the reviewer will comment on it, otherwise, why bother? I hate reading in a category "average, about what's expected of a game like this". I
      • Actually I've seen DVD reviews in AV mags give separate categories for different elements of the disc; video quality, sound quality, special features, overall movie. The "overall movie" is usually what most movie reviewers would do their review on, AV magazines have a different audience and take this into account. Same thing goes for video games, I care about graphics and I care about sound and I really think they glaze over these categories too much.

        What I would love to see is for reviewers to hammer game
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrXym ( 126579 )
      There are sites such as [] and [] which tot up all the ratings for a game from dozens of sites and give an average. Just like with Rotten Tomatoes and films, it gives you a fair idea on whether a game is any good or a stinking heap of shit.

      It can be useful to look at especially if some site has a weird rating system, or Nintendo or Sony buy a good review. Naturally you still have to read reviews to see if the game appeals to you but these site help there too since you have links

      • by Sparr0 ( 451780 )
        I would like to see a site that normalizes other sites' rankings. Take every score that has given and fit it to a bell curve, then adjust that curve to a Normal distribution from 0% to 100%.
    • Rating games on a new console is even more meaningless than rating other games because there is nothing to compare it to. Some of the first games on a new console are generally rated high strictly because there is nothing better out there to get a high rating. Should games be rated against other console games? I'm not saying games shouldn't be compared to other console games, but I'm not sure that other consoles should be taken into consideration when rating. And if you do think that they should be rate
  • Pointless (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is just like when the guy on the Weather Channel predicts how many hurricanes there will be in a season- the figure is always incredibly wrong, and the only people who care are hurricane fanboys. "Oh wow, three major hurricanes this year? This year is going to be so much more active than last year when they predicted two major hurricanes!"
  • What's the deal with all the gaming news? I mean, I like to read the occasional bit on next generation consoles or a new game, but four out of the last five articles have been in the gaming section. If this keeps up I'm going to have to get rid of gaming articles entirely. Is there a huge game convention going on right now that has somehow not been an article by itself?

    • I think it is because of the Wii and the PS3 coming out soon, so there is a lot more interest now than usual.
    • how about how so many reviewers aren't even familiar with various landmark games in console or computer history? should you really be permitted to review final fantasy x3 if you haven't played 7-9 (or never touched an s/nes)?

      criticizing the newest gran turismo's gameplay when you haven't played 1-4? some of the things that many reviewers despise are signature parts of the game, so it doesn't really matter that "except for ____, i really liked it"

      the most confusing part of game reviews, which is causing me

      • So actually read the contents of the review, and decide for yourself if it's your kind of game. If a game gets a low score because it has dated graphics and no multiplayer, take these things into consideration, but also look at the rest of the review and decide if it's the kind of game that you want to play.
        They're describing the game, not just giving it a base score.
  • Questionable (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nasajin ( 967925 )
    I think this approach to analysing computer game review scores is pretty flawed. Naturally, a percentage of games are going to be better, and a similar percentage is going to be worse than the average. All this shows is that there's a consistent mean score, and that the rest of the scores operate in a bell curve. It may be that the reviewers for GameRankings are required to work within a certain spread of figures for their reviews.

    If anything it probably says more about three or four people working at Game
    • FYI, GameRankings does sort of an aggregation of scores. It gathers a score from a bunch of review sites, then calculates the average.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:39PM (#16598998)
    "Welcome to The Intenet, brought to you by new Google Pepsi. Please enter your search criteria."
    *Playstation 10 NintendoUniverse XBoxForever comparison
    "You have chosen to search for a comparison of the three upcoming next generation gaming consoles, Playstation 10, Nintendo Universe, and XBox Forever. Based on your previous searches The Internet assumes that you would like to know the features of each console, prices, and launch titles available. Is this correct?"
    "Is there any additional information you would like to know?"
    *Review of available launch titles
    "Please wait. Analysis of your online gaming selections and performance over the past 5 years, along with your purchasing habits of games, levels, weapons, extra lives, and replay tokens, indicate that you would be most satisfied with the Playstation 10. Do you agree with this recommendation, or would you like more information?"
    *More info
    "Your play habits show a definite trend towards RPG and first person shooter titles, both of which are strongly represented on the Playstation platform. Further, a random sampling of your friends culled from 1500 websites, chat rooms, and virtual playgrounds indicate that 69.7% of your friends plan on purchasing the Playstation 10, while only 34.6% plan on purchasing the Nintendo Universe, and only 23.4% the XBox Forever. Do you agree with this recommendation, or would you like more information?"
    "Your Credit Account has been debited for a Playstation 10 Gold Membership account, in the amount of $1499.99. Gold Membership entitles you to download the Playstation 10 Virtual Console and two games of your choosing. For an additional $999.99 you can upgrade to the Platinum package, which entitles you to a hardware backup of the Playstation 10 console, shipped to your billing address within 4-6 weeks. Do you wish to upgrade?
    "Very well, you may upgrade your account at any time should you change your mind in the future. Displayed on your info monitor is a listing of currently available Playstation 10 titles. Do you wish to see recommendations on which titles you might like?
    "Analysis of your past purchases and play times indicate that you would be most satisfied with Tony Hawk Sky Boarding Extreme and Shadow the Hedgehog: Commandos. Do you wish to accept these recommendations?"
    *More info
    "Tony Hawk Sky Boarding Extreme allows you to take to the skies of Los Angeles as you..."
    *Stop, More info on other titles
    "There are 13 other titles available. However, analysis of your past game purchases and play time indicate that the best choices for you are Tony Hawk Sky Boarding Extreme and Shadow the Hedgehog: Commandos. This recommendation is further based on Review Scores submitted by 345 gaming websites and 11,578 customer reviews of the titles, which carry an average score of 94 and 91 respectively. Do you wish to accept these recommendations?"
    *No, info on RPG and first person shooters
    "I'm sorry, at this time there are no RPG or first person shooter titles available for the Playstation 10 that have an average review score over 50. Predictive analysis of your play times indicate that should you purchase any of these titles, you would engage in only 4.5 hours of play. Playstation 10 highly recommends that you purchase Tony Hawk Sky Boarding Extreme and Shadow the Hedgehog: Commandos. Do you wish to accept these recommendations?"
    *You told me PS10 had great RPG's and FPS's, WTF?
    "Invalid input. Playstation 10 Virtual Console download complete. By default, Playstation 10 has begun the download of your two included games, Tony Hawk Sky Boarding Extreme and Shadow the Hedgehog: Commandos. These titles were selected for you based on analysis of your play..."
    *Stop download, I didn't want those two games.
    "Your Playstation 10 Gold account has already been debited for the cost of Tony Hawk Sky Boarding Extreme and Shadow the Hedgehog: Commandos. Are you sure you wish to cancel the download?"
    "Sony Corporation
    • I like this post, and would read more posts from its author in the future. A+++++
      • I wont- (I know your being sarcastic!!!) Note to Slashdot developers - could we place the author of the posts name in the live bookmark feed so I can safely navigate myself through the minefield that has become Zonks posts against Sony. even just a "-Z" at the end will suffice for his articles For F Sack Zonk - yes we all know you hate Sony and Love the Wi. Get off this bandwagon and post something decent, or move onto greener pasture. The fact that a fair wack of Slashdots readership are on PC's and play
        • I wont- (I know your being sarcastic!!!)
          I wasn't being sarcastic, I liked the poost I responded to. Please figure out the comment trees before you start recoding Slash.
    • Funny post, but did the PS10 come out while you were online? You went from "upcoming next generation gaming consoles, Playstation 10, Nintendo Universe, and XBox Forever" to "Your Credit Account has been debited for a Playstation 10 Gold Membership account."
  • Predicting Launch Title Review Scores
    Is this the gamer nerd version of that "fantasy football" crap my coworkers are always going on about?
  • From the article:

    The Nintendo 64 launched in North America with only two games: Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. The choices were to exclude the N64 entirely, include it with only two games, or include more games. We opted to include the games released through the beginning of December 1996. The next game after that, Mario Kart 64, was released in February 1997.

    There is a huge difference between "launch" and "launch window," but they want you to forget that in hindsight, figuring 3 months is no big de

    • by BTWR ( 540147 )
      And, BTW, they decided *not* to include Gamecube's Super Smash Bros Melee, one of the highest-rated (and one of the first-released) games for the system, that came out very shortly after launch.
  • I'm not impressed with current review metrics. The numbers are almost always irrelevant to me. Dead Rising scored less than Perfect Dark Zero. Playing both games, I've found the difference between them staggering. Dead Rising looks far, far better, plays far, far better and the story is far, far better. Perfect Dark Zero doesn't really look or feel good, and the controls are klunky.

    Reviewers are far easier on console games at launch than they are later. You could argue that this is because launch titles are
  • And it is almost certain that each of those consoles will launch with two absolute stinkers, games which consistently score below 60%...

    And this is almost certainly why I stopped reading games magazines - their scales are so off base that it's hard to differentiate between a good and bad game. 60% should not be a stinker. It should be about 'okay.' 0 - 10% is a stinker. The Australian games mag 'Hyper' was criminal with this - 87% meant pretty dull, 89% meant pretty good, 91% meant awesome. Bollocks to t
  • It's a bell curve. Who woulda thunk?

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.