To the ones that didn't got, here is Mr Spector thoughts and it’s funny, a complete wannabe (me) commenting on a Legend's thoughts… So I apologize in advance, while I must say that I did got his “purposed exercise” before comment.
The first thing that got my attention on his article was his comparison, he got Disney Epic Mickey Vs Thief and Deus EX telling that Epic Mickey sold more, unfortunately if we get both we’ll get to a situation where we can to calculate that – probably – “Disney” epic “Mickey” sales were pushed by a brand and a big franchise name written on the cover, I’m not telling here that the game is good or bad (haven’t played it and have no plans in doing such), but these “sales’ boosters” need be gotten into account.
On the other ring’s corner, we get Thief and DeusEX completely unknown names/franchises at release date that “while he said didn’t sold so much as Mickey’s games” got no help from well established brands, but, I doubt that didn’t sold well, or at least, got Eidos to a solid breakeven.
I would declare a draw on the success as “sales”, getting into account that Eidos games were on a marketing disadvantage.
I really trust that Metacritic “(IF)” you get the right (talking literally here) score is an amazing way to evaluate games and you know why? Because it can’t be tricked/faked/bought/manipulated (as the entire pro advertising and marketing field), if the guy paid full price and got angry by being tricked to buy a “brand printed on a case instead of the game he wants to play” he can go to Internet, loggin on Metacritic and literally Obliterate the product.
Well, we can also take into account that “haters gonna hate”, but if your game doesn’t got enough “empathy” among all the buyers to push at least some of then to also loggin on Metacritic and give you enough good scores (Right side) to at least balance the things or “to positive” it, guess what?
By curiosity you can go to Metacritic to check Left Vs Right scores on a list to see how many times the “PRO Reviews” differ a lot (3+ points in some cases 6+) from the guy that got angry and “downnoted” a game, and (if you get time) you can check that rarely the inverse happens.
It’s easy to say that the tool is wrong, it’s not scientific, especially when the things won’t goes as planned. But the big fishes from this market need to get aware that people is changing – finally! – They are getting tired in go to a store, buy “a known brand” and get “the wrong game” to home (notice I’m not talking about good or bad, art or non-art all this is about player/fans’ expectations).
The phrase from his article where he advice us to question if “gamers” can be just “mediocre” – ok, it’s a provocation, I got it – are not the kind of thing that anyone can say, a legend as he, does, but is a poisoning and destructive line of thought to early entrants.
This “entire market” does exist because “the gamers” buy our games, so ideally we can force a game to succeed simply doing what the “guys we really works for” do wants/awaits. If we “really” think they are not sophisticated enough, it’s a pretty simple task, no? More from the same with a small spin off or new technology.
We don’t need going trough the “art innovation” thing, and I’m not suggesting here that we must stagnate our industry on 90’s trends. I’m just suggesting a small adjust: If we do want to be creative/artist/genius and bring something really new and sophisticated we just need to be sincere!
Get a “new” brand, create a “new” franchise and get fans to this “new” purposed concept telling then “exactly” what is this new thing about, don’t try to trap someone with a well-known logo on the box (or do such and take the consequence as a man). Build a “new” fanbase and “please” just still offering things you did promise and that fits on the original purpose (reward the trust they put above you).
You’ll first attract people that wants something new, artistic or whatever, but if what you did is really good calm down, your sales/good ratings/success will also came.
I would like to suggest the inverse exercise, get the “lower” user rated games and pay attention on how many big names/brands appears there. You can consider the hypothesis about your audience being “mediocre” – I don’t, will not and can’t - but it’s to count on luck consider that they’ll not to overreact on notice that were tricked, maybe this can just be the first sign that publishers could also consider putting money into bring some “really” new things on the shelves.
I’m personally aiming on making games to the right-side of Metacritic, and if I get a lower score on the future I’ll just apologize and assume that I did fail miserably, but this is just my idea of success since I’m plenty comfortable with the idea that my “job” is please the gamers that will inve$t on my idea.