March 14th, 2007

GoPlay

Unselling - The Dark Side of Reviews

I wrote a generally negative review of The Esoterrorists for RPG.net shortly after it was released. As always, I maintained an upbeat attitude during the review and just listed what I consider to be the flaws with that product. Upon later perusing this thread on games folk did NOT buy because of RPG.net I counted 11 people citing that review directly or indirectly as a reason they didn't buy the game. And one who didn't buy Con X 2.0 because of my review...

I find it fascinating. There were several people in the Esoterrorists review thread who thanked me for unselling them on the game too. While it's good to be an honest reviewer, it sure does feel sucky to turn people off of a product they might have enjoyed.

Some people maintain that whether a review is positive or negative doesn't matter so much as product exposure. I've always bought into this, as it's a very convenient line of reasoning for me. I've been wondering if this is really the case, however, and suspect that products able to advertise through banner ads and other means really don't benefit from a negative review (as opposed to very small press games that can't afford advertising).

It's something to think about.