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Homefront and the value of numbers

Homefront and the value of numbers

Apparently a collection of numbers from a series of professional and semi-professional games media outlets has resulted in the stock of a major publisher dipping by around a quarter. Some numbers that some people probably didn’t really consider that much have wiped out about 26% from THQ’s stock price as a result of Homefront’s reviews. Does that not strike you as a bit… I don’t know… insane?

Of course, the number at the end of a review neatly rounds up the reviewer’s thoughts and is a nice, simple way of getting an at-a-glance, succinct idea of how the game fares compared to ALL OTHER GAMES. I’m not totally against scores and I see their purpose – even their value – at times. I also understand those in the world of money needing a yardstick to measure how well they expect a game to do, so prices can go up or down accordingly.

But when, no disrespect here, you’ve got a bunch of people slapping numbers on the end of a review and settling for a six or a seven just because it seems safe, this is where the stock market reaction gets a bit worrying. The fact that financial decisions and whatever other stuff I don’t understand about the world of finance are seemingly based on what a kid writes about a game on a site they contribute to as a hobby… where’s the logic in that? That’s not a diss on any reviewers, by the way – but it is definitely one on those who influence financial markets and share prices. Face it: a lot of review scores are worthless, especially when the text that comes before them isn’t taken into account.

It also sets a potentially dangerous precedent whereby publishers might go out of their way to try and avoid scores lower than 90% just to save their own backsides. If a number can have a tangible effect, as it apparently has had in the case of Homefront, and could end up affecting real people with real jobs, it’s worrying what measures could be taken to avoid this. I’d hope it would be by making better games, but I reckon that’s just being massively naïve.

It would be nice to get rid of scores, but then I suppose the people in charge of the money wouldn’t be able to look at a list of arbitrary sentences from different reviews and get a definite idea of what’s going on with a game and therefore what a studio is worth. Maybe that’s because reviews tend to be a widely varying selection of opinions from many, many people across the globe, and bringing their entire value in the industry – their literal value – down to the number they put at the end is absolutely ludicrous.

This opinion piece loses its way and only covers a vague point, but it flirts with enough passion and the graphics is well good: 63%

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