Review scores have a definite impact on sales in this industry. There's a reason EA routinely says they strive to produce 9+ games; it's because they know that, for the most part, quality still succeeds.

Even the biggest franchises aren't entirely immune. This year's Madden NFL 2012 received a relatively lukewarm reception and although it still topped sales charts for a while, it didn't exactly break records. However, once you reach a certain size, perhaps the review scores finally don't matter at all. Maybe all you need is endless celebrity endorsement, a multi-billion-dollar advertising campaign, and legions of dedicated fans, all of whom have willingly shelled out in years past and will do so again.

So, just for the sake of argument, what if Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 earned disappointing review scores? I don't expect it to happen but again, it's just for the sake of debate. Would this have any effect at all on overall potential sales of the game? Or would it just break more records and end up selling 30 million copies, regardless of worldwide criticism? As another question, how low would the average review score have to be to have any effect? 8s might not hurt…but what about 7s? 6s? It's very unlikely, but I'm just wondering if the rampant popularity of this franchise has superseded the critic's role.

Heck, why even review the thing? Those who want it know it already, right? Those who hate it won't ever get it. And really, it almost seems as if gamers are separated into two distinct groups; the love-it and hate-it crowds. Is anyone really on the fence?

Related Game(s): Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

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PasteNuggs
PasteNuggs
9 years ago

I don't think so. Not at first anyways. According to what the reported pre-order sales indicate. Maybe after the game is released it wouldn't have stay on top for the whole year.

tayizfire
tayizfire
9 years ago

review scores can not hurt mw3 lol in anyway possible …everybody either knows there getting it …or there not…high profile games are a must for any real gamer

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Certainly that is the case for the next game. I think if it were to get poor scores (and it won't, but like Ben said… for argument's sake), people would still get it this year.

But…

I think they will be more likely to notice the flaws all the sites mention when they play and notice issues reviewers bring up… they will all say, "Woh, they're right. They -DID- screw that up." This will cause skepticism for the following year. They will still have a following, but I bet they will have far fewer pre-orders as more people will wait and see the next year if it's any better.

So not immediately, but in the long run, it probably would.

robinhood2010
robinhood2010
9 years ago

Underdog,

That is a fair and just point, and I think it would hold true if games were sold on just what the game immediately offers. However, we all know that the majority of people who buy it do so for the multiplayer. This doesn't need to be the most stellar multiplayer experience, but more and more games are selling on the social factor.

MW3 could be absolute donkey shite but we all know it well sell. I work for Game in the UK and customers constantly refer to CoD4 as the beat FPS, and that the games have steadily declined. Each one is a new record breaker. Why? because people want to play with their mates. And as is so often discussed here at PSXE, this isn't split screen anymore.

Mr Wright
Mr Wright
9 years ago

I definitely believe that a low score would have a big impact on the sales of MW3. A lot of people have preordered it, but there are still many who are on the fence(like me) as to whether they will pick this one up. I pretty much live and die by review scores; usually I wait to see the reviews, then if the game gets awesome scores(for me that's 8.5 or above) I'll pick it up. Call of Duty is so much a part of pop culture now anyways, that if it gets bad scores and is plain just a crap game, then the media will have a field day with that I'm sure and people will know that they can save their cash and get a different game.

ZenChichiri
ZenChichiri
9 years ago

I think the problem is that many of the people that buy COD games don't really pay much attention to gaming media. There are still some that do, but out of the 6 to 7 million units that will be sold off the bat I have a feeling that the majority of those people don't pay attention to review sites.

ZenChichiri
ZenChichiri
9 years ago

Even if World War 3 broke out it wouldn't impact MW3 sales.

"We have to hold this bunker. We might be holed up here a few days. Let's be on high alert."

"Luckily I brought my PS3 so we can play some MW3!"

"What the….?!

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

I don't think the games are horrible or anything – I'm just not impressed with them. My friend rented Black Ops a while back and instead of slaying Zombies we played the twin-stick shooter minigame all night. COD usually has lame level design and generic gameplay and a total lack of music and all that, but the games do work. They're not abysmal or anything. They just don't deserve all the praise they get.

jacobRadio
jacobRadio
9 years ago

Yeah but people do keep buying the games. I totally respect your opinion (and I agree, the "SmashTV" style minigame you're talking about is a blast!), but to say they "don't deserve the praise they get" is robbing the game for what it's done: out sold every game, every time. It's basically saying that everyone is wrong and you're right. Differences in opinion about COD aside, you may think it doesn't deserve the praise, and you may not praise the game as much as everyone else, but that's not to say the praise is not to be had. Because it has proved itself as "the" game to beat amongst developers.

For example, I loathe the Halo series (beyond hate), but I understand that it deserves a certain level of praise past just *my* appreciation of the game.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
9 years ago

Of course it will, but that won't stop it from grossing another $1 billion.

AcHiLLiA
AcHiLLiA
9 years ago

that's the sad part.

godsman
godsman
9 years ago

The game most definitely will get a 9+ regardless of what gameplay. Once you are a franchise you just can't score low.

Final Fantasy XIII managed to pull a mid 8's because of the name. gameplay and story is worth a 6-7.

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

yeah, franchise names are a big thing when it comes to initial sales. final fantasy XIII sold a lot on release but gamers, especially in japan, sold their copies right away.

LegendaryWolfeh
LegendaryWolfeh
9 years ago

Not a chance. Too many mainstream people playing and not wanting to get left behind from friends causes them all to buy the next version.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
9 years ago

No way, reviews effect the sales of new IPs and games that don't already have a large fan base.

I'm guilty of this, I'll admit it. I will still be there on Day1 buying FF30.

godsman
godsman
9 years ago

That is dangerous. Mind as well pay them in advance. They can keep shaving contents out. Eventually you'll be paying $100 for an empty case.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
9 years ago

Everything about the FFXIII series was a fluke. I tell myself this every night when my head hits the pillow.

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

final fantasy 13 released? i thought that was a spin off? anyway, by the time final fantasy 30 releases they'll probably learned from their mistakes, sony bought them out, the fans finally fought back, or the very least wada is fired or dead.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

LV, at least you are honest…

I tell myself I'll be waiting for FFXIII-2 to drop in price before touching it…

Secretly… I'm not sure I'll be able to wait… I've been an FF fan for life… Sure I'm bitter… but… I'm also a bit of a sucker.

huh1678
huh1678
9 years ago

Casuals don't care about reviews for games. They just care that its easy and fun to play.

BIGRED15
BIGRED15
9 years ago

The cause and effect relationship here is simple:

If a highly anticipated game like modern warfare flops or gets sub par reviews, 3 months after release sales will likely see a steep decline.
Of course if it does well and brings in 8+ reviews which ill say the over/under on metacritic will b an 80+ MW3 will still be selling copies 6mo. After release

Reviews hold as much weight at least for me as they do for movies. I can't afford to invest 60$ on sub par games.
even if the avg. Gamer doesn't go to review sites, they are still gonna hear from another gamer about a games quality.

This is why BF3 needs to rake in at least a 90 which is tough to do on metacritic. BF3 can never hope to outdo MW3 in initial sales, but with good reviews it may still have hope to outlast cod in total sales


Last edited by BIGRED15 on 10/6/2011 10:48:37 PM

hadouken
hadouken
9 years ago

Low scores won't affect cod mw3 especially when another system likes it more.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
9 years ago

What does a particular system liking it more have to do with whether or not reviews may sway potential buyers?

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

microsoft bombarding people with ads concerning modern warfare 3 and xbox 360 everywhere like they did with previous high profile games will eventually brainwash people into getting it. luckily i dont watch regular tv anymore so i dont have any urge to buy a 360 or any of its games.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

@john ld

good point about ms bombarding everyone with cod ads. it's not just cod either. every multiplat commercial i have seen always has that xbox 360 logo at the end. probably one of smartest tactics ms could use along with the frequency of the ads. it almost gives the impression the game is only for the 360.

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

i still remember the black ops best buy ads. completely ignored the fact that its on ps3 as well. i believe it even said that the best game of all time should be played on the best console of all time or something to that effect. i'm sorry but when they say the best online experience with call of duty on xbox 360 then they havent played with other people on xbox live at all.

clockwyzebkny
clockwyzebkny
9 years ago

I agree. The game has to be horrid to get bad reviews, and improve/change things up a bit to garner the same type of review scores it's use to. To get great scores it needs to change things dramatically.
The series will eventually lose some of its steam eventually. I believe a bad entry or two and competing games such as Battlefield 3 will steal some of its thunder.
As for this year, I have both preordered. I'm losing interest in COD but i still enjoy the games. The redundancy is tiring though.

matt99
matt99
9 years ago

I think low review scores would make the difference from MW3 being a high selling game to a record breaking selling game.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

i know it's for the sake of the argument but it is tough to imagine it drawing 6's since it seems a lot of reviewers don't give out 6's. oh well, for the sake the argument…no, it probably would not have an impact on sales on mw3. i think most cod buyers would make a leap a faith. they'd pull the trigger and make the purchase anyways. if it were a dissapointing game it will have a bigger impact on the next cod game. i just don't think your average cod player is sitting around reading reviews before making the purchase on this particular game. they'd have to actually get the bad cod game in their hands. then it is possible word of mouth would hurt sales but i doubt it would be the review scores hurting it overall, especially at the start.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

If the review scores are as low as around 7 or less it has to be a result of the game being that much worse than the former CODs. Then it has to have an effect on the sales at least of the *next* cod after this one. Many million utterly disappointed customers is not an easy task to turn around…


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 1:14:19 AM

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

we all know that wont happen. nobody ,other than psx extreme as far as i know, would even try to fault call of duty for being the same. the only way the next call of duty is worse than the previous one is if the game itself is unplayable at launch. which is a step down from the usual call of duty glitchfest. they should take a note from dice. actually do a beta and fix the problems with it. its kinda funny that each game is practically the same but they still have the same problems with every game.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Funny how people in one discussion are screaming about unwanted changes to a genre or IP, while in another are accusing a title of just being "more of the same".

Why change a concept if what you got is what the world wants and it break every sales record? Why is "more of the same" a bad thing when "the same" means a 80+ rated game?
Of *course* COD will not differ hugely from the earlier games. It will still be COD. They will only try to make it better, not different. If they succeed in that only time will tell. But turning away from what made your product such a huge success in the first place makes no sense. Isn't this the entire problem with the Final Fantasy games?

It's like with a new James Bond movie: The framework is set.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 3:28:01 AM

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

I like that idea Beamboom. Maybe it's because RPGs had reached something approaching their perfection, and now the accumulation of influence from other genres is taking away for that purity in the eyes of many, so they want it to return to the way it was.

While FPS games have similarly reached their level of perfection, but they are so frequently attaining that, seemingly easy, target that the boredom with them is increasing, leading for consumers to cry for more bells and whistles and whatnots.

So CoD is like James Bond, but FF is more like… Saw? I say that because anything after the second was nowhere near as good as those first two.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

lol omg – I would assume someone somewhere out there would object to comparing FF with SAW ūüėÄ Just wonderful.

But has rpgs and fps reached their perfection? I don't think so, just as I don't think we've seen the perfect movie yet or heard the perfect song. Things can always get better, always improve.

I just think it is human nature. We like what is familiar to us, and we want to keep what we love. That's only natural. Plus, the universal truth that "everything was better before".

At some stage in life we more or less stagnate. From that point on we want to keep things the way they are. The same music, books, movies, games, friends, tv shows, opinions… In many (often sad) cases even clothes and hairstyle. Not necessarily all of the above, but we all get there to some extent, sometime. It's inevitable.

And then we will get kids, and we will start complaining about them and their lack of <insert almost anything here>. Just like our parents did before us, and their parents before that again.

… And then we die. That's life for ya! ūüėČ


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/7/2011 7:02:25 AM

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Objection, I'm expecting crucifixion!

And I didn't necessarily mean perfection, only really what we deem it since the muddying of RPGs has begun and FPS are a pretty bland bunch.

And true that, no matter how badly we choose to rebel against those that came before, we ultimately are only a simulacrum of them. The thought makes me sad…

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

lol yeah me too. The only comfort is that it's worse to never stagnate. Those grandmas with trendy clothes behaving like teenagers are definitely worse than grumpy old grandpas.

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

i just find it irritating that most reviewers would bash other games, not just ps3 exclusives, for the exact things that they believe makes call of duty great.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I guess they didn't consider those other games as a "winning team" then, ergo a change might do them good. Some games should be developed further, others has found their balance.

The exact things that makes cod great from a MP perspective is the intuitive gameplay, large amount of players and the layout of the maps. That's what makes it great – not that the games don't differ much from eachother. They don't need to, cause they are what people want right now.


Last edited by Beamboom on 10/8/2011 1:00:55 PM

Fox hounder
Fox hounder
9 years ago

The only thing that might have an impact on COD's sales is if it had to go toe to toe with something like GTA, or if it lacked online multiplayer (as if that would ever happen).

johnld
johnld
9 years ago

right, aside from psx extreme, i'd be surprised if any other mainstream review sites would give modern warfare 3 the score it deserves. with the advertising blitz highly emphasizing modern warfare 3 and the xbox 360 that i'm expecting microsoft to do and the call of duty zombies word of mouth (false)advertising, review scores wont matter to uninformed gamers. its kinda sad that the term gamers now refer to those facebook type gamers.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

I expect MW3 to get a high 8. Black ops was 8.8 and MW2 was an 8.9 here.

But the content Ben talks about will be important.

The problem with CoD games, is that it takes 2 weeks or so before you start to REALLY notice the big problems in multiplayer that will inevitably destroy the game. Initially, they always look pretty good.

jacobRadio
jacobRadio
9 years ago

Underdog15,

"The problem with CoD games, is that it takes 2 weeks or so before you start to REALLY notice the big problems in multiplayer that will inevitably destroy the game. Initially, they always look pretty good."

That's a /really/ good point. And I feel like an idiot for not seeing it sooner. I'm a COD fan, and have enjoyed the series since 4. I always start out with "OMG this game is amazing, they fixed all the problems from the last one!" then after a couple weeks it's like "EFF this game it has a whole new set of problems!" But then a few weeks later it equalizes (for me) and I get to the point of "Ok this is a solid game, I just wish they'd fix ______ and ______ and etc…"

But I think you hit the nail on the head. I look at it like this: Did I get my $60 worth of entertainment out of each COD? Absolutely. Best game EVAR!? No.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Good point at the end there about value. And thanks for the kind words prior!

I always look at value as dollars spent per hour when it comes to my entertainment. If your cost of entertainment is under $2 per hour, you're doing well.

How many hours have people put into CoD? Some people have an incredible amount. What if you put in, according to their online counter, 4-5 days, which is pretty average to a CoD fan? That's over 100 hours and literally pennies per hour at 60 some odd cents per hour. Good investment if you enjoyed yourself, whether it's a 9+ title or a 7.

It's also why I wait out shorter games to drop in price.

Fane1024
Fane1024
9 years ago

I use the same formula, for all media…which is why I don't go to the movies anymore.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

That is a good formula. But not without exceptions. There are some shorter experiences I would not be without and value high, even though they did not last for long.

Like… Uhm… yeah.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

I think you're right with the closing comment about minds already being made up. As such, I don't think that a single year would do a whole lot of damage to the sales potential of the brand. Yeah, it might lose a couple of million sales, but the amount of people buying it based on the name and relatively baseline info is mindboggling. However, a drop in quality that extreme would certainly impact it in the second year, though it could also pick itself up, and I believe that people would be less trusting a second time, so would be more likely to look into the critical reception.

This is a blanket statement; this is my mentality for anything that manages to be even half the size of CoD as I sincerely fail to understand why the sales are as huge as they are for a game that, to me, simply is not compelling in any way.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

it's the multiplayer along with the social aspect of cod that is main driving force behind its huge sales. people buy it to play with their friends. i have noticed a lot of peer pressure going on with this title. especially among 360 users. they want to be on live playing cod with their friends. i dare say the 360 would not be as big as it is without cod.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

The multiplayer is what I really don't get. How can people be contented and satisfied by playing that day in, day out. Admittedly, I've only played CoD MP for about three and a half hours, but I was near bored to tears by the end of it… I dunno.

jacobRadio
jacobRadio
9 years ago

Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with Excelsior1 on this one. Lawless SXE, you have to look at it from the standpoint of an online gamer. I mean World of Warcraft is 100% reliant on their online gamers. If you fail to understand what's so fun about the MP experience in COD, it's understandable that the sales numbers aren't understandable.

I have friends who are not online gamers. When Black Ops came out, I played nothing but the MP for at least 2 weeks before I even started the campaign. A friend asked "How's Black Ops?" and I replied with some stories and information and such about the MP. He asked "Yeah, but how's the single player? That's all I care about." and I told him "Oh dude, if you're considering buying this for the single player only? You might be wasting your money." I'd wager to say that (for most people) you'd have to be a massive FPS fan to enjoy a COD game strictly for it's SP aspect.

So I hope that helps out. There are definitely different types of gamers out there– The online player, the "single player" player, the "play with my friends" player, and so on. Then you have the ultra geek like myself who plays anything with pixels.


Last edited by jacobRadio on 10/7/2011 9:49:42 AM

___________
___________
9 years ago

absolutely not!
the game could get the worst reviews since ET, be condemned to a landfill in the middle of the desert, and it would still become the best selling title in the history of the industry!
NOTHING can stop that!
hell look at this years biggest releases.
there are still collectors editions available for it, bar skyrim but thats only because the CEs were in such small numbers.
every other one is still available for purchase.
MW3 hardened edition?
SOLD OUT!
i think that answers the question quite well……..
hell, DNF is one of the worst reviewed games this gen!
but did that stop it from selling millions of copies?
yea, exactly!


Last edited by ___________ on 10/7/2011 4:18:12 AM