Pictured: A successful commercial
Speaking during a presentation at the recent Montreal International Game Summit (as covered by Edge), EEDAR Director of Analyst Services Jesse Divnich highlighted a tenuous connection between game review scores and commercial success. In the case of Nintendo's DS, Divnich is quoted as saying "scores don't matter." But do they matter among a more dedicated gaming audience?
"When we did compare Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 only games, we did, to no surprise, find that review scores highly correlated to sales," Divnich told Joystiq. "However, marketing correlation was still just a tad bit more." According to EEDAR's research, marketing has played the "more crucial role" with DS games and, to some degree, Wii games (a point Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime seems to agree on).
While emphasizing that his aim was not to dismiss the value of critical evaluation, Divnich suggested that marketing plays a more persuasive role in what has become a burgeoning industry. "Video games are now a mass marketed product, it is a product that targets all major demographics, very similar to television or movies or any other sector within the entertainment division." While Joystiq readers may lock out the din of marketing as they tap the F5 key and anxiously wait for review embargoes to lift, the industry has grown to encompass people who aren't as exposed to the likes of Metacritic.
It seems that being informed takes precedence over being entertained -- at least until you start playing the game. "Quality does matter," concluded Divnich, "but marketing matters just a little bit more."