More Reviews
REVIEWS Slender: The Arrival Review
Few games can offer genuine scares in the horror genre. Can Slender: The Arrival prove otherwise and it can offer more?

Pillars of Eternity Review
Obsidian Entertainment creates a retro Infinity Engine RPG funded by Kickstarter. Is it as good as previous Infinity Engine games, or does the novelty quickly wear off?
More Previews
PREVIEWS Dirty Bomb Preview
Looking for a more competitive, challenging online FPS multiplayer game? Splash Damage is introducing just that by dropping a Dirty Bomb on the free-to-play game market.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones
Release date: 04/01/15

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Release date: 04/07/15


LATEST FEATURES 6 Helpful Tips for Pillars of Eternity
Simply put, Pillars of Eternity can become maddening if players aren't careful.

Top 10 Active Video Game Kickstarter Campaigns
There are lots of indie projects going on right now, so we did the dirty work for you and found the best.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Top 50 Pokémon of All Time
Can you believe there are now six generations of Pokémon? Six!! That's a crazy amount of different creatures to collect. But which are the cream of the crop? Don't worry, Magikarp isn't actually one of them.

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137
The perils of the Hype Train…
By shandog137
Posted on 03/09/15
The recent release of Evolve and The Order 1886 really got me to thinking about the disparity between the perspective of sales-driven publishers and the quality-driven purchases of consumers. The “Hype Train” is nothing new, but the way it is utilized has been creating far more...

Amazon Customer Reviews Are Extremely Inflated

Posted on Thursday, November 21 @ 13:42:17 Eastern by
In response to my review for Knack, in which I gave it a low score of 2 stars, comments I've read on GameRevolution and elsewhere have expressed that people should take low reviews for Knack with a grain of salt because user ratings and customer reviews, particularly those on Amazon, are positive. Indeed, I checked and, at the time of this writing, it has a 4-star rating out of 5. That seems like a far cry from the game's Metascore of 56.

So what the hell is going on here?! Are reviewers just some group of jaded cynics who enjoy being contrarian for the sake of it? Are we just out of touch with "the people"? Or is there something deeper going on with professional review scores and non-professional customer reviews on Amazon?

Well, this isn't the first time that there's been a disparity. Here's a chart comparing the Metascores and the Amazon customer review scores (scaled to 100 to match the Metascore) of twenty of the lower-scoring titles in the past three years:



Whatever the case may be, some kind of strange fidgeting seems to be going on with Amazon reviews. No matter how terrible professional reviewers seem to give a game, Amazon reviews don't seem to drop lower than 2.8 stars (or a 56 when scaled). Of course, there are more than a few exceptions to the rule, as this is just a small sampling, but something weird is going on.

Some sites have already warned that up to 30% of user-generated online reviews are fake (some more conservative estimates have this at around 10-15%). There's certainly a vested interest for publishers and developers to create customer reviews that are positive for their products to generate and maintain sales, though I believe that most of the larger companies would avoid this as it's, well, fraudulent. Now I'm sure this happens in small numbers, but that doesn't fully account for the stark differences in some of the figures in the chart.

Indeed, a large part of the discrepancy comes from the mathematics. Professional review sites generally have a scale that goes from 0 to 100, or 0 to 5 stars, but Amazon as well as other retailer sites have a scale that only goes from 1 to 5 stars. This essentially drops the lowest part of the grading scale, effectively making the scale from 20 to 100 and increasing the average score by default. That's one of the reasons that you see Amazon customer review scores hovering around the average 3-star rating.



Then you have post-purchase rationalization, also known as Buyer's Stockholm Syndrome, where the customer has a bias for the choices they make; that is, the purchases they make. Someone who has already purchased a product will tend to overlook its faults, and given that most games cost $60, which most consumers consider to be somewhat expensive, gamers are more resistant on attacks upon their judgment. It's a psychological effect of commitment.

Users are also less bound to the strict scale that reviewers have and have no qualms giving games the lowest score or the highest score. So any games that receive even a small number of 5-star ratings will have a much lower probability of receiving less than an overall 3-star rating. (It takes two 1-star reviews to knock one 5-star rating to an average of 2-stars.) Combine this with the other factors and it makes this almost a certainty.

In other words, Amazon customer ratings are inflated. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be trusted insomuch as you should expect them to be much higher on average, especially for games that critics have ravaged. Certainly, it's up to you to decide which side of the fence has more piles of salt. Just know that there's plenty to go around...
Tags:   Amazon, Review
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

comments powered by Disqus




More On GameRevolution