Professionals vs Consumers: Who’s MORE QUALIFIED to give a quality review?


To piggy back off of the article Metacritic vs User reviews…which is more important?  In which I wrote about, (inspired by “Feeback”, G4’s show led by Blair Herter) the startling direction — “the review angle”, in which they tackled before directly addressing the Mass Effect 3 ending.

In that article I focused on which is more important?  Now I ask, who’s more qualified to give a quality review? (I told you there were so many directions it could go in).

So Gaming world, who’s more qualified, “Professionals” or “Consumers”?  The G4 team made a case that just because it’s their job, it doesn’t necessarily make them more qualified, but  however pointed out if they can get their hands on 50 games a year vs 15 games a year that your average consumer can get their hands on — just blanket numbers by the way, ultimately may be better suited to tell consumers — out of these wider range of games which are the best. Some may view that as a compelling argument if you look at the wide spectrum, but what if you look at it from a case by case  and individual by individual basis? A argument built on that concept may very well  be weakened. But of course the ‘masses’ determine that (no pun intended).

Professional                                                  Consumer

VS

For instance let’s take ME3 shall we? Yeah a professional may be able to tell you — if your shopping for RPG’s,  “ME3 is the best option” —  of course their opinion, but if you just take it as a stand alone title, now other things can quite possibly come into the fold that even a consumer may not  think of, like, what if said “professional”  is not a fan or not invested in that universe? Do you want a reviewer basing their opinion on a franchise they know nothing about? And it’s understandable that some like a reviewer with “fresh eyes” but will they get the depth their looking for. Quite possibly some could feel shortchanged, because the reviewer doesn’t know entirely what to look for.  That is of course, largely based on what game, genre and  will almost always be a franchise scenario. If it’s a new IP I would gather the rules change because every one is at the same starting point. However a consumer  could provide instant integrity because they bought the game, and 9 times out of 10 they are not only investing but also invested.

I’ll use myself as an example, Say a professional reviewer is reviewing one of my favorite franchises — and I’ll use WWE 12 because that’s what I’m playing the most right now. In that scenario if said reviewer never played a WWE game or has never watched WWE programming — especially currently, yeah he could tell me core things like if it’s “fun” (loosely used) or how it controls but he wouldn’t be able to tell me if they nailed the character models or if the entrances are spot on, or overall if it looks, feels and behaves like how a real WWE show would. There’s  just little intricacies in there that just can’t be covered by any ol’ body.

I can almost see the argument between the “Professional” and the “Consumer”:

Consumer For you, it’s just  a job

Professional: That means I’ll make  more of a serious effort and have access to more games

Professional: I’m more qualified

Consumer: More qualified? Your me, with a bigger forum

Consumer: I’m a gamer

Professional: I’m a  gamer too!

User: I’m a fan

There may indeed be pros and cons to both the professional side an consumer side a like but who do you see being the more “qualified”? CCU wants to hear from you.

Terms used in this article:

IP – Intellectual Property, refers to a creation of the mind where exclusive rights are granted. In this case Video Game Developers coming up with new ideas for game titles.

RPG – Role-Playing Game, refers to a game where players assume a role and is driven on character development and a choices system —  decisions that affects outcome throughout gameplay.

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One Comment

  1. Fact is, it’s a person-by-person decision. A lot of consumers are biased, and we pay people not to be biased–not that it always happens that way, IGN. On the other hand, a lot of professionals, having as many connections as they do in the industry, have things on their mind beyond the basic and all-important question of “is it good?”

    This is one of the things that bothers me about the “is gaming an art” discussion, as well: Braid tells a lovely story and there’s no doubt that it’s art, but it’s not actually a better GAME than Megaman or Earthworm Jim. Why is it that we have to ask the question of whether or not games are art? Is “The Colour out of Space” art? It’s just a story about aliens, at the heart of it, but literature is certainly art. Yet the minute that a game like Dark Souls is accused of being a 100 hour waste of time, games are an invalid form of entertainment because they’re not artful enough.

    Games are meant to be fun first, intellectually and graphically interesting second, and those things together should create the end goal of good sales. Many industry reviewers are too focused on the sales and the hype and not focused on having fun because for them, games aren’t fun, they’re work. By necessity they move onto other subjects like how deep the story is or how great the graphics are, and this is what leads to things like The Witcher 2 getting a 9.25 from Game Informer, with the review containing gems like “if you’re anything like me, you’ll hate portions of the game with a burning passion.”

    Because perfect for a game, or VERY NEARLY perfect, has nothing to do with how much fun you’re having. It has to do with something completely different, for some reviewers. And as a gamer and a person I just can’t agree with that.

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