Are reviewers gamers too?

Are reviewers gamers too?

OPINION

Despite the fact that we’re both batting for the same team, it sometimes seems like game reviewers and gamers are at odds with each other. I’ve seen gamers calling out reviewers as sell-outs or liars, reviewers calling gamers whiny and immature and game publishers calling both uninformed or confused. Are we really that different?

The last major reason that I feel user scores differ from reviewer scores is that users tend to take into account external factors that may not have any real bearing on the game into account. These can be anything from dissatisfaction over day 1 DLC, to personal feelings towards a company, or specific industry personality, poor customer service, or more. This is a bit of a tricky scenario because it’s really up to what each person considers the game, and what that review should take into account as something people want to know. I personally think that a reviewer should review whatever comes in the box. DLC, customer support, and everything else I see to be a separate issue that should be addressed independently. From my experience, most reviewers believe something similar. Most users, however, seem to almost universally take these things into account. Again, we can look towards a Metacritic user review of Arkham City to see how this can effect ratings. User Couchfox writes:
Couchfox, 6, “I had a lot of fun with this game. The reason I am giving it a 6 out of 10 is because I am getting really tired of game developers charging money for DLC content that should have been a part of the original game.
This is tough, because I do agree with him. While I love Arkham City a whole lot, do think that the Robin DLC should have been available to everyone instead of needing to be bought or included with retailer-specific pre-orders. However, it’s not something that makes the game itself bad. Couchfox 6 even admits that (s)he loved the game and only marked it down for DLC practices. Is this fair? Do you truly believe that the game on-disc is a 6/10 game? Maybe. And perhaps your message was lost being conveyed in the wrong arena. IN fact, it seems that user reviews have become the default arena for users sending a message to developers and publishers that they want to be heard. Looking at the reviewer versus user scores, for games like Modern Warfare 3 (88/100 reviewer, 3.2/5 user), Mass Effect 3 (93 /100 reviewer, 4.3 user), and more, show that clearly there are different goals or issues being addressed. Again, these are perfectly valid issues, but one that game reviewers and user reviews tend to attack from a different angle.

Well we’ve certainly looked at a lot today pertaining to game reviewers, the gaming community, and how they’re interlinked. I know it sometimes seems easy to criticize reviewers as being sell-outs or faux-gamers that only play a game enough to slap together a review, but I hope that you’ll see and believe that all of us love and cherish games just as much as everyone else that plays them. We might look at them a bit differently from time to time, but we’re all part of the same big gaming world, which none of us could enjoy nearly as much without each other.