If Steam Starts Curating Games, Then What's The Point Of Game Reviewers?

By William Usher 2014-03-24 01:01:40 discussion comments
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But that's only part of the problem. That game I just mentioned, BoneTown, has been the result of a lot of uproarious fury in the gaming community about the “failure” of Steam's Greenlight and the process of filtering “bad games”. In addition to curating games through optional filters, TotalBiscuit and some other gamers are egging Valve on to start curating what appears in the Steam store, such as laughably bad titles like Desert Gunner [Editor's Note: This is not a point explicitly discussed in the video on the first page, but the video created the result of a lot of adjacent discussion from the community about the need for more strict curation].

Here's the thing: If Steam starts gauging what gamers deserve or don't deserve to play based on their own methods of curation and quality (something that existed before they put Greenlight into place), then what's the point of the gaming industry having a middleman known as game reviewers?

It's a little like Netflix opting to not supply Steven Seagal movies because they're beyond terrible and they want to avoid people from having to suffer through his movies (even though some of us still secretly enjoy his movies).

I don't know, I could be off my rocker but I always imagined that the purpose of a game reviewer was to curate the good from the bad and roll out a score so people would know what's good and what's bad. I always imagined that the point of some of these dedicated sites was to provide users with valuable information on just about every game out there so that they would know what to buy and what to avoid based on a standard measure of quality. Is that not their purpose? Are they not tasked with providing this service to consumers?



Pray tell, what then is the point of Valve having an established collaboration with Gamer Network's affiliate sites, Future, Gamefly and Gawker if the purpose doesn't include games being thoroughly detailed with said information to help the community at large make an informed purchase? That is the point of a game reviewer, no?

Unsurprisingly enough, Valve has gone and opted for their own embedded user reviews for every game on the store page to help gamers make those informed purchases. The closest gamers get to warnings and praises from the “professional” game reviewer happens to be confined to snippets of quotes on the description page and a small Metacritic score on the side of the game listing (sometimes).

It puts into question the whole point of an affiliation with massive gaming networks and the point of professional game review scores (or the review process) when the distribution platform still has to go through the process of reviewing and selectively green-lighting releases for the customer. More than anything, maybe it's more a sign of the uselessness of PC game reviews when the community seems intent on ignoring them in the first place.

The argument of Steam cleaning up the navigation of their storefront is fine. The argument of Steam curating games for gamers (some of which people may or may not agree with) seems like the community taking that final step to say that they don't need or want the game reviewer anymore, especially when the community is begging the distributor to tell them whether or not a game is worth purchasing.
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