In a morning GDC session packed full of interesting game sales trend data, EEDAR's Geoffrey Zatkin shared some research on how important game review scores are for sales. While it would stand to reason that highly rated games would sell more copies, it's surprising to see how poorly anything below 80 fares.
The average review score floats around the 68-71 out of 100 range, but the games rated in that range rarely sell more than 100,000 copies. In data that showed the 3-month average sales of titles in 2011, games in the 70-79 range sold only 62,000 units. The games in the 60-69 range fare even worse, with an average of 57,000 units sold over the first three months. Last year 1,024 games rated at 50 or below, and average 3-month sales comes in at only 30,000 units.
Only 216 games rated at 90 or above in 2011, and the average sales comes in at 700,000 units. While an 80-89 rated game may be almost as good, the 3-month average drops to 236,000 units. Knowing this, just missing the 90 mark has to hurt.
It's really wierd to think about how the reviews of Destructoid and other outlets has a direct effect on a game's total sales. It's also a shame that potentially great games in the 80s are being missed by many gamers. Perhaps too much emphasis has been placed on these numbers.