Analyst: Read reviews, not just review scores


EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich has criticized the investors who pulled stock out of THQ following mixed Homefront reviews, arguing that reviews are no guarantee of sales, and that review scores are the wrong way to judge a title's profit potential. A friggin' baby could've told them that.

"As an industry -- and this is specifically targeted towards analysts and investors -- it is easy to become too reliant on a single metric, which may erroneously drive forecasts and/or investment decisions," he argues. "The reality is that numerous factors exist that can impact the overall sales performance for a title.

"Review scores are simply a weight, not an absolute. The impact of review scores on video game title sales are determined by the potential size of the market, direct and retail promotional spend, competition at launch, overall level of interest in the title before release and more. This helps to explain why titles such as Demon’s Souls can achieve 90+ reviews, but produce lower revenues, and why a game such as Medal of Honor from Electronic Arts can get an aggregated review score in the 70’s and surpass nearly 5 million units in sales worldwide."

Divnich argues that review scores were not a good way to determine Homefront's success, as a single metric can't provide details on the disparity many reviewers felt concerning the single and multiplayer modes.

"Additionally, if analysts and investors took the time to play Homefront they would have seen that there existed a wide disparity in quality between the single-player and multiplayer campaign, which was additionally pointed out nearly unanimously across the review community," he says. "If anything Homefront is an example of a potential flaw in the video game review system and its ability to clearly represent in a single score the differences that can exist between online and offline gaming aspects within a single title.  

"Fortunately, reviewers did an excellent job messaging within their reviews the disparate level of quality, something discerning consumers likely took into consideration and something investors clearly did not. Again, focused too narrowly on just 'the score'."

The fact that negative reviews can't stop the success of a well-hyped, cleverly targeted game is nothing new. The fact that an analyst is telling investors they don't know jack-shit and should pay more attention is pretty fun, though.

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Jim Sterling
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Filed under... #Analysts #Sales #THQ



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