The Score Doesn’t Add Up

There’s a lot that can be written about the whole “Gerstmann-gate” situation but because so much of it is speculation and rumour, all of it will be useless. Of course that doesn’t stop the gaming forums but reason has never been their strong points. One thing that is suspect and beyond mere rumour can be seen in Gamespot’s official response. The point in question:

Q: Why was the Kane & Lynch review text altered?

A: Jeff’s supervisors and select members of the edit team felt the review’s negativity did not match its “fair” 6.0 rating. The copy was adjusted several days after its publication so that it better meshed with its score, which remained unchanged. The achievements and demerits it received were also left unaltered. Additionally, clarifications were made concerning the game’s multiplayer mode and to include differences between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.

My question is: if the review score didn’t match the copy, why change the copy and not the score? Why make the review more favourable instead of making the score match what was already written? That’s a thing that makes me go “Hmmmmm”. In my mind’s eye it makes all GameSpot scores seem suspect (well, more so) and highlights just how useless these arbitrary numerical values are.

There’s been posts calling GameRankings and MetaCritics and the like “part of the problem“, but it’s a little too late now. Changing the formula that most of these publishers set for themselves isn’t going to be easy and as the industry evolves they’re going to stagnate themselves to extinction, taking their arbitrary 100 point scales with them.

As a final note: the wonderful people at Idle Thumbs called it. Four years ago. (Almost to the day.)

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