Frontier Boss: Wii Reviewers Are The Problem

Says writers are appealing to their own audience, not a game's intended crowd.

The issue of review scores for casual games rumbles on. David Braben, head honcho of Frontier Developments, the folks behind the critically acclaimed WiiWare title Lost Winds, doesn't find it wise to discount Metacritic scores for Wii, unlike a certain Mr. Moore recently claimed. The problem is not the games, it's the reviewers of casual-friendly games. Well, the games surely have something to do with it, but that's beside the point he's making:

It throws up a difficult dilemma for those reviewers. Are they reviewing the game for those people likely to play it, or for those people who form the bulk of their readership? Clearly it has to be the latter, as that is why they are writing the review, why they are getting paid, but it devalues the accuracy of reviews as a measure of quality for family games, as most reviews are targeted at these "core gamers," despite the fact the core gamer is unlikely to play it whatever the score.

It works both ways, though: many so-called "core" titles on Wii review well but sell like crap, and games that receive middling Metacritic scores sell like gangbusters. So what's Braben's solution?

If there were an equivalent rating to Metacritic that only indexed family review sites, MetaFamilyCritic say, indexing the 'mommy bloggers' to which [Moore] refers, then he is not circumventing review sites - simply using a more appropriate collection that better match the audience.

The common complaint of the Wii catalogue being overrun with shovelware is valid to some, but it stems mostly from the whole "blue ocean" thing Nintendo has going on; one person's shovelware is another's family game night. It also stems from developers wanting to make tons of money for cheap.

[via eurogamer.net]

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