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May 8th, 2013, 16:48
Larian Studios' Swen Vincke has penned down a new article, which this time is about the press attention (or lack thereof) in their Kickstarter campaign, the effort it took them and the quality of (p)reviews in general, concluding that it is better to be selective in where you devote your attention to.
Anyway, it was observations like the above one that lead me to conclude that we should start screening who we show the game to, and review the quality of their articles, prior to actually demonstrating the game to them. In the past I abstained from doing that, even when I wanted to know, but now I think it’s good practice. We’ve been perhaps too eager for attention past, and happy to show our creative babies to anybody who passed by. That delivered us some good but also quite a lot ofbad results, the most memorable one being PC Gamer UK giving Divine Divinity 56% wheras their US sister magazine gave it 84% and later put it in their top 100 games of all times. The irony
Perhaps there’s another more focussed approach that might yield more benefits. I remain intrigued by the click-through numbers in our Kickstarter campaign and the link between article appearing/pledge counter increasing. It was clear who had what impact, and the results were very counter-intuitive, at least to my traditional view of games media.
To give you an example – There exists no such thing as IGN, the person. There’s only Joe, John and Daisy working at IGN reviewing and previewing games. If there’s a John who like turn-based fantasy RPG’s and played several of them, it makes sense to show him Divinity: Original Sin, if his editor will let him.
But if Joe, John and Daisy think the world ends with Assassin’s Creed and Battlefield, then perhaps we should not send a version to them, because nothing good can come from it. You wouldn’t offer mushroom-only dishes to a gourmet critique who hates mushrooms and is the editor of “fabulous cooks that don’t use mushrooms monthly” either.
More information.
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May 8th, 2013, 16:48
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May 8th, 2013, 17:32
oh, seems like some gaming "websites/journalists" are going off Larian's list of people to care about.

That's interesting…
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May 8th, 2013, 18:26
We’ve been perhaps too eager for attention past, and happy to show our creative babies to anybody who passed by. That delivered us some good but also quite a lot ofbad results, the most memorable one being PC Gamer UK giving Divine Divinity 56% wheras their US sister magazine gave it 84% and later put it in their top 100 games of all times. The irony
Hahaha, this is hilarious! Only goes to show the massive disparity between reviews for a given game.
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May 8th, 2013, 19:49
Really, a little common sense goes a long way.
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May 8th, 2013, 21:53
Hmmm… Avoiding biased reviews by being biased as to whom may review. I dunno…
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May 8th, 2013, 22:32
Originally Posted by Zerotown View Post
Hmmm… Avoiding biased reviews by being biased as to whom may review. I dunno…
Not quite what they're talking about. They're talking about being selective about who they make an effort to get preview material in front of and go out of their way to entice to publish articles on the product. Nothing they're talking about has anything to do with blocking reviews from unfavorable outlets. This would be particularly true in the cases of larger publications and gaming sites like IGN - for whom the cost of a review copy is not a big deal and for whom there would be little incentive to get a day 1 review out anyways.
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May 8th, 2013, 22:52
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
Not quite what they're talking about. They're talking about Maria selective about who they make an effort to get preview material in front of and go out of their way to entice to publish articles on the product. Nothing they're talking about has anything to do with blocking reviews from unfavorable outlets.
I understand there's a subtle difference and, in a way, I understand that a company like Larian - with limited resources and a strong bond with it's own products - would pre-select previewers. Still… such a strategy could lead to a game being hyped sky-high, only to have it crashing upon release because both gamers and review-sites become dissapointed. There can be a sort of regulating-mechanism to broad-range previews, I guess.
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May 8th, 2013, 23:10
Originally Posted by Zerotown View Post
I understand there's a subtle difference and, in a way, I understand that a company like Larian - with limited resources and a strong bond with it's own products - would pre-select previewers. Still… such a strategy could lead to a game being hyped sky-high, only to have it crashing upon release because both gamers and review-sites become dissapointed. There can be a sort of regulating-mechanism to broad-range previews, I guess.
I'm not sure it's fair or safe to assume picking certain reviewers instantly equates to favorable reviews or inflated hype. Potentially, a reviewer well versed in a specific genre could be even more critical.

Scroll down the main page here at The Watch and take a look at the most-recent review of Eador for an example of a reviewer who just doesn't understand his subject matter and probably shouldn't be reviewing that particular game at all.
Last edited by Capt. Huggy Face; May 9th, 2013 at 00:05. Reason: typo.
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May 8th, 2013, 23:34
Personally, I would be trying to get my game in the hands of as many people as possible. More previews equals more potential interested customers. Even a poorly written or negative preview could have value. I'm sure Swen knows what he's doing, though, and I hope it turns out to be a good move for them.
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May 8th, 2013, 23:53
Originally Posted by Zerotown View Post
Hmmm… Avoiding biased reviews by being biased as to whom may review. I dunno…
You didnt read the blog post and if you did you didnt understand it.

Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Personally, I would be trying to get my game in the hands of as many people as possible. More previews equals more potential interested customers. Even a poorly written or negative preview could have value.
Swen explains that is the thinking he started with in the past but now believes it doesn't work. Time will tell.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
Last edited by TheMadGamer; May 9th, 2013 at 00:34.
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May 9th, 2013, 05:31
That selective review process will be tricky, too. If you just preview your game to a bunch of fanboys, you'll be missing out on some valuable feedback.
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May 9th, 2013, 08:33
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
That selective review process will be tricky, too. If you just preview your game to a bunch of fanboys, you'll be missing out on some valuable feedback.
It's more about picking a reviewer who is familiar with the RPG genre rather then getting a fanboy of the game itself.

Swen says
It may sound straightforward, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it makes no sense demonstrating your game to somebody who has no interest in your type of game
He didn't say your game, he specifically says your type of game.
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May 9th, 2013, 17:46
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
That selective review process will be tricky, too. If you just preview your game to a bunch of fanboys, you'll be missing out on some valuable feedback.
While I agree with Swen's basic premise, I too think Swen needs to be careful how he goes about implementing this. But I think such a policy can be done to good effect.

I'll never forget the 'review' of Oblivion where the reviewer states, repeatedly, that she was frustrated that she could not save her game whenever she wanted to.

While blunders of this magnitude are a bit uncommon, it provides a pretty solid peek into the chaotic industry of game reviews where many times almost no care is taken to match game genres to people who enjoy those genres and when it comes to RPGs either the reviewer chooses not to spend an appropriate amount of time with the game or is simply not allowed to because of work load or other time constraints.

On top of all that, I'm convinced there is a sizable number of reviewers out there who take an adversarial approach to reviews, particularly with genres they're unfamiliar with or outright do not enjoy, because it's "edgy" that way.

I admit, I am a bit biased on this subject as I've come to loathe online reviews after years of my life that I can never get back reading so much stupid, inaccurate commentary designed mostly to show off some self-important sense of writing ability that
is sophomoric at best.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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May 10th, 2013, 01:08
it makes perfect sense. If I was a game reviewer, and you gave me the best shooter game there is, I wouldn't say good things about it, because to my eyes, all shooters are the same thing. Likewise, for someone who doesn't play RPGs, or in particular, turn-based RPGs, they would probably give an undeserved bad review to a turn-based RPG, because they're reviewing the 'genre' instead of the 'game'.

That doesn't mean that I would give a good review to a turn based RPG, but at least I would hopefully give an informed review for people interested in looking for information about a turn based RPG.
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May 10th, 2013, 02:23
It absolutely makes sense if there are limited number of reviews possible. Give the game to people who like that kind of game. Don't give it to someone who only likes shooters, for example.
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