ARTICLE: 2009: The Year of Rating Deflation

2009: The Year of Rating Deflation – K_smoove

Have you noticed how many high-scoring games there have been lately? It seems like just about every hyped game is scoring in the 8’s and 9’s all across the board. When so many games do so well, it diminishes the actual values of their ratings. But it also raises a question: are game developers really just getting that good, or is there an underlying factor?

I’m starting to wonder if professional reviewers might have a bit of a bias… not against individual systems, but for game series. Web sites like IGN and Gamespot run previews to build hype and attract attention to games… but could this affect their reviews? Granted, not all games end up as amazing as their previews make them out to be, but most of the super-hyped games of the year have turned out exactly as expected.

Are reviewers going soft? Are they afraid of angering fans with lower-than-expected reviews? Or are they falling subject to the hype trains as well? It’s no secret that game reviewers chose their careers out of a passion for gaming, so why should they get any less hyped for games than the rest of us? A reviewer may have a personal preference for a certain game series or developer, and that can influence their reviews. While most reviewers aim to sound as professional and unbiased as possible, it’s really difficult to hide a natural bias in any situation; after all, reviewers are just as human as the rest of us.

So I’m not blaming reviewers if they do fall prey to hype, but if they’re really giving away high scores to appease readers and bring in a larger audience, shame on them. Reviews are subjective, and that’s something readers need to understand. So, here’s my message to professional reviewers: be tougher on these games! Don’t worry about what the teenagers on the forums think! If a hyped game is a disappointment, rate it as such! While I won’t point any fingers, I have noticed that Gamespot tends to rate a few games lower than other websites, and that’s a good thing. When every game is scoring an 8 or 9, it’s impossible to tell which game is really better. So make sure the really magnificent titles get what they deserve, and same for the above-average ones.