Ubisoft’s North American executive director, Laurent Detoc, has got onto the soapbox and spoken of his belief that game reviewers do not want innovation – despite what reviewers themselves may claim.
Speaking in the wake of what he describes as disappointing review scores for Ubisoft’s Rocksmith, Detoc said:
“What I read [from] the reviews is a lack of enthusiasm for something that is new. But more importantly, we call ourselves gamers. Are we gamers – or players? I think the ‘gamer’ label has actually been hurting the industry.
“As our industry evolves, we need to be more mature and find a way to look at content and judge it as if we were real consumers instead of as gamers.”
Rocksmith is currently sitting on a Metacritic average of 78. By our count, a 78 is not a bad score at all. Perhaps part of the review score issue is that some publications hand out 9s and 10s so freely that anything less than that is instantly considered garbage. A 78 on IncGamers (probably an 8/10 in our scoring system) is something to be damn proud of.
“We need to judge the products for what they are. You can’t compare, say, a Just Dance to an Assassin’s Creed. We can’t expect critics to be experts at everything.
“There are different types of entertainment experiences for different people and different appetites for quality. For example, today when you watch The Price is Right on TV, it’s free and supported by advertising. The actors in that show are mainly people like you and I, and the cost is somewhat low.
“Compare that to wanting to go see, say, Tintin with your wife on date night. You’re going to pay for the movie tickets and parking. Maybe there’s a babysitter involved. You may want to go to dinner. By the time it’s done, it’s a $200 night – but it’s a different entertainment experience.
“That, to me, is like what’s happening with consoles versus other types of play. It depends on what you want to do as an entertainment experience.”
Detoc’s point is a valid one – most game reviewers are not equipped to review something like Uncharted 3, then move on Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster and then Dance Central 2. It’s for that very reason that IncGamers will only review products that fit with our audience (i.e. you ‘hardcore’ bunch reading this) and our reviewer’s abilities.
For example, if we’re going to review Sesame Street we’d get a parent to review it for us who would be able to play it with their kid/s. It’s is simple, if you want to read a review of Just Dance, Sesame Street or Zumba Fitness pick a publication geared towards your audience – a specialist online/print videogame publication is probably not going to be able to provide a decent angle on such things.
Specialist publications’ audiences tend to be hardcore followers of the medium – in videogames that tends to mean you like things such as shooters, strategy games, RPGs, simulators etc etc.
As for reviewers wanting innovation… we want it, but we want it in a way that appeals to us.
Source (quotes): Gamasutra