Conduit 2 Gets Amazonbombed

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Conduit 2 Gets Amazonbombed

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In a stunning turn of events that absolutely no one could have foreseen, Conduit 2, which catalyzed a recent Amazonbombing controversy between High Voltage Software and Joystiq reviewer T. Michael Murdock, has itself been Amazonbombed.

In what can only be described as a shocking shocker, the angry internet has reared its vengeful head and demonstrated once again that it is not a beast to be messed with. Last week we told you about the kerfuffle between High Voltage Software, which developed Conduit 2, and T. Michael Murdock, who absolutely trashed it in every conceivable way in a vicious review for Joystiq. High Voltage tried to get a pound of flesh in payback by suggesting that employees "review" Murdock's book, The Dragon Ruby, on Amazon (after reading it, of course) which resulted in small but suspiciously-timed number of one-star ratings.

Word got out, High Voltage apologized, drive-by reviews disappeared and that would have been the end of it, except that this is the internet and justice will not be denied, even if "justice" just means more of the same pointless silliness aimed in the opposite direction. As Coffee With Games noted, Conduit 2 last week had seven five-star ratings, four four-star ratings and a pair of three-stars, for an average customer review score of 4.5; today, however, a pair of two-star ratings and 15 one-star scores have been added to the mix, dropping it down to an average of 2.5.

Just as High Voltage's Eric Nosfinger noted that the four one-star reviews of Murdock's book didn't exactly constitute a full-scale Amazonbomb firestorm, neither does 15 negative reviews out of a total of 31 for Conduit 2, and in fact the percentages are very close to the same. So is this a case of the goose and the gander? Not really; it's impossible to control the anonymous mob and expecting it to do anything but behave badly is just asking for trouble. Individuals in positions of visibility and influence, on the other hand, have an obligation to hold themselves to a higher standard. Maybe that's not fair, but that's the way it goes.

It also bears mentioning that while the four one-star reviews commissioned by High Voltage are gone, Murdock's book has been slapped with 13 new one-star reviews but also attracted a bunch of fresh five-star ratings too. In other words, it's becoming increasingly obvious that user-submitted review scores of any sort are essentially worthless in this day and age. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just agree on that and move on to better things?

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That would be nice, but with this being the internet, where people will endlessly argue and swear life-long blood feuds over the most insignificant and worthless things, I doubt it'll ever happen.

15 votes is sure one hell of a bomb.

I don't know how they ever can regroup.

Heaven forbid 15 people just didn't like the game at all.

/sarcasm

Woo! Maturity! Way to go gamers of the world!

Isn't this the whole reason why metascores are meaningless these days?

15 people downrating a game is news? You know it's a slow gaming news day when, I guess.

I don't think it counts as being 'bombed' when the number of people involved barely exceeds the number of fingers you have.

BWAHAHAHAHA. Karma is a bitch ain't it?

At least these are likely just angry gamers and not the author of that book telling people he works with to go review bomb the game (after playing it of course wink wink nudge nudge).

Jumwa:
15 people downrating a game is news? You know it's a slow gaming news day when, I guess.

Took the words right out of my... err... hands.

Originality:
Isn't this the whole reason why metascores are meaningless these days?

Exactly why I don't bother with any reviews anymore. Everyone has an opinion that isn't mine, so what do I care what someone else thinks? I'll listen and be weary, but ultimately its my decision, and no amount of tomfoolery reviews are going to effect it. Even published reviews from "reputable" sources are trash funded by marketing and advertising, and will never give 100% unbiased info.

This childish amazon bombing needs to stop. It is made even worse when news sources sensationalize and publicize this crap. As if Amazon reviews mean anything when any joe smoe can post something without ever having purchased or touched what they are reviewing to begin with.

I think it says more about the game, or the website, that only 31 people even bothered to review it.

meh. Amazon is the worst for online reviewing. I saw the likes of Homefront, Splinter Cell, Perfect Dark Zero and even Nintendogs get one star reviews because 'They weren't Call of Duty'

not a joke. Somebody actually reviewed Nintendogs and said it was shit because it wasn't Call of Duty. It instantly made all amazon game reviews null and void.

This is a shame for the poor developers :(

Tiswas:

not a joke. Somebody actually reviewed Nintendogs and said it was shit because it wasn't Call of Duty. It instantly made all amazon game reviews null and void.

Imagine if it were though.
"Mr Scruffykins! Nooooooo! You were so young damnit!"

OT: " And perhaps what you see is not justice, but only amusement and irony... two things which I value more" - Myrkul

Still, this does give free publicity to them, so perahps it all works out.

15 people voted one star

stop the fucking presses here

Tiswas:
meh. Amazon is the worst for online reviewing. I saw the likes of Homefront, Splinter Cell, Perfect Dark Zero and even Nintendogs get one star reviews because 'They weren't Call of Duty'

not a joke. Somebody actually reviewed Nintendogs and said it was shit because it wasn't Call of Duty. It instantly made all amazon game reviews null and void.

Well, to be honest that is generally a fair thing except in the case of Nintendogs. I sort of touched on this in my recent rant "Shadows Of Gerstmann: Professional Game reviewers" on the general gaming discussion board, which apparently like 20 people viewed and nobody responded to. I guess beause it was too serious in tone or something, but that happens with a lot of the threads I started.

See, one issue among many with reviews is that I think that games are rated only in of themselves, rather than much comparison being done to what other games have been made before and if they approached these basic things better. Granted a single star is perhaps too much, but at the same token "it's not Call Of Duty" is kind of fair given that "Call Of Duty" is a huge success for doing pretty much every apect of it's genere really, really, well which is why it sells so many copies. Games like "Homefront", "Splinter Cell", "Perfect Dark", and others are all in the same genere and have failed to rise to the bar that has been set. With games like "Call Of Duty" setting a standard you sort of have to look at not only whether these games reached that bar, but also how far they fell below it...

Mostly in my rant I talked about standards for professional game reviewers, and this isn't being done by professionals, but still I think the basic principle applies.

One of the problems is when you see a game with a 4 or 5 star rating when it really doesn't doesn't deserve that compared to other products in the same genere, you find people who get annoyed by the over-rating and then decide to react by under-rating the game to try and bring the rating down to where it should be. By all accounts on a 5 star scale with 2.5 stars being average "Homefront" should be somewhere around one a and a half stars (a point down from average) due to myriad failings people have pointed out in various threads, not to mention it's ridiculous scenario and unjustified political trolling. It seemd to largely be aiming to generate contreversy for the sale of contreversy, in a sort of "bandwagoning" since other games had gotten away from it. Left to the fans every game will be rated above average, and that's the problem, what's more given the role game companies play in the industry even on a 10 point scale people freak out with any rating below a 7 or 8. Those doing reviews politically or not have to step out of the crowd and be willing to provide middle of the road ratings rather than just saying every game is either a masterwork or a major bomb. People right now would freak out over a game getting a 1.5 out of a 5 star rating, but really that's just rating a game as overall subpar (it might have various advantages), as opposed to a total dog which would be in the 1 point or .5 point range.

Such are my thoughts at any rate (and understand, this isn't about Homefront specifically, so no point for fanboys to jump all over me about it).


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At any rate, for those that got this far, I will say that all of this "Amazon Bombing" or just "Review bombing" crud along with the product Shilling as Bioware was caught doing during the "Dragon Age 2" thing is just plain out ridiculous. We've also seen more of it recently than ever before. I think it's a sign of a lot of things coming to a head with the review system, it's not the issue of a "point scale" which works fine, but simply due to the fact that there are no standards of professionalism for pro-reviewers, which cause the user reviews to differ greatly, and this leads to everything turning into a warzone with companies and fans all fighting to "cook the books" and attack anyone on the opposing side any way they can.

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Otherwise, Shooters aren't my genere, however like "Kane And Lynch", the "Conduit" series is one of those franchises where it surprises me that there is a sequel to begin with.

One of the problems with the game industry (unrelated to the above) is that it's unwilling to experiment properly and be willing to let go of something that is obviouly failing, probably due to the investment in money. Even with on chapter the industry is more likely to pump money into a potential franchise that is failing than just cut their losses and work on something new, and really I think this is also why we see a lot of failure when game companies like EA decide to "bite the bullet" and try and experimenting, only to head back into the retreading of successful francises, pointing a finger at the failures and saying "see we tried!" when at best they coughed out a trivial effort. One of the big problems of course being the development of new products being interpeted as "the development of new franchises", which is the wrong approach, the right thing to do is to produce stand alone products and then see if they do well enough to warrent a franchise, that way you aren't sitting there with 200 tons of concept material for possible sequels and continuation of something very few people liked. I think this is very much what causes problems with things like "Kane and Lynch", "The Conduit", and of course "Dead Space" which I personally like (and I'm not a shooter fan) but seems to be hitting mediocre response overall. I mean when you look at something like "Dead Space" underperforming, maybe they should have say waited to see if the first game was going to succeed before producing things like an animated movie for it and then having that cost fold into the overall investment and what the series would need to make to succeed.... but hey, that's just me. Likewise with new releases mellowing the advertising can help to, if you spend a hundred million dollars on a new property to reskin people's websites, as opposed to being a bit more understated and careful with a new property, your putting yourself in a rather bad position and setting a crazy high bar to begin with.

Feel the...err..wrath? of the internet, High Voltage! Turns out as many as 15 people were both pissed off and immature enough to review bomb your game (though chances are a couple of them just thought Conduit 2 was really, really shit), bet that one stings!

Seems like you guys call anything in a dozen a "bomb" nowadays. What is this? This is barely newsworthy if you ask me. The game itself is so terrible, those one-stars might be actually deserved and legit.

Denamic:
I don't think it counts as being 'bombed' when the number of people involved barely exceeds the number of fingers you have.

Speak for yourself.......... :P

but yeah this is hardly a "bombing" but it does rate fairly highly on the bloody silly-o-metre.

I'm starting to hate the internet...
It's like an annoying, vapor-headed girlfriend that I can't stop coming back to.

Pointless meandering bullcrap. That's about all this sums up to. Not even newsworthy.

Leave the children to their petty games if you please.

And thatīs why i dont bother reading metascores! I prefer to read a couple of reviews from a few reliable sources and thatīs it! These "amazonbomb" attacks do not lend credibility to the industry.

Here's the thing, kids. 15 one-star ratings aren't many except when a game only has 31 ratings to begin with, and then suddenly it represents half your votes and has a serious impact on the average rating of your game. Same with four one-star votes for Murdock's book; that was 40 percent of his vote. Dropped his rating significantly.

As for whether or not any of this is newsworthy, if you don't find the idea of game devs abusing Amazon's rating system (or any other similar system) to fuck over someone who gave their game a bad review, then I'd have to say you deserve whatever sort of useless, dysfunctional system you end up with.

Andy Chalk:
Here's the thing, kids. 15 one-star ratings aren't many except when a game only has 31 ratings to begin with, and then suddenly it represents half your votes and has a serious impact on the average rating of your game. Same with four one-star votes for Murdock's book; that was 40 percent of his vote. Dropped his rating significantly.

As for whether or not any of this is newsworthy, if you don't find the idea of game devs abusing Amazon's rating system (or any other similar system) to fuck over someone who gave their game a bad review, then I'd have to say you deserve whatever sort of useless, dysfunctional system you end up with.

And professional reviews are just as useless and dysfunctional with review embargoes and giving out review copies to some publications and not others.

I am not sure I understand why the amazonbombing is such a problem. A company did something wrong, it dishonestly manipulated reviews for retribution/financial gain. The reviewing community then got angry and dinged the companies reputation by downvoting company products. This seems like a perfectly reasonable response.

Can anyone explain to me what is so wrong about this?

Edit: I also just saw an article on Ars Technica about dentist (one of several) who is making his patients sign away their right to post reviews about him. I checked his profile on Yelp and sure enough lots of one star ratings starting on the date the article was published. I should note that all of those reviews were explicit about the censorship being the reason for the low rating. If people to downvote they should be clear about the reason but otherwise I stand by by my question.

HerbertTheHamster:
15 people voted one star

stop the fucking presses here

15 people voted one star on a really, really bad game.

This is bigger than PSN going down.

This does seem like weaksauce if it was an attempt at bombing Conduit 2. More likely 15 people got around to telling the world their true opinion of Conduit 2.

Andy Chalk:
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just agree on that and move on to better things?

So, we should move on from conduit 2?

at least if the 15 one star ratings were given out by people who bought the game it means that 15 more people bought conduit 2

Would be nice if Amazon just made it so you can only review something if you've purchased it. Think that might help here. People would be less likely to fake review-bomb something if they actually had to pay for it first.

"Kerfuffle" will be my word of the week. Learning English is fun!

The fact High Voltage was petty enough to 'reviewbomb' Murdock's book out of spite means i'm quite frankly glad the internet has retaliated. A developer should know better than to trash a reviewer for the simple fact he didn't like their product. No bloody sympathy.

It's like when Jim Sterling gets abuse because he gives 'popular' games low scores. For example, he gave The Witcher 2 a 6 / 10 because of problems he had with the game, and yet people trash him in the comments because it's "not in line with what metacritic says". Heaven forbid the man should have an opinion of his own.

qwerty19411:
And professional reviews are just as useless and dysfunctional with review embargoes and giving out review copies to some publications and not others.

That's an easy and sweeping position to take but I don't think you can seriously suggest (or expect to be taken serious if you do seriously suggest) that the typical user-submitted "review" offers the same credibility as something published by a well-established, respected and "professional" site. It's not a matter of differing opinions - I disagree with the majority of game reviews I read and have for years - but a question of professionalism and legitimate criticism which the average off-the-cuff forum post or star-click simply doesn't bring to the table.

When it comes to reviews, one has to go father and farther back into the Internet backwoods to get away from the marketing forces and hear people just speaking their minds. However, even on Amazon, if somebody gives a reasonable accounting of a games strengths and weaknesses, I'll tend to take that as an informed opinion.

All-good reviews I figure probably come from the producers of the game. All-bad reviews are probably from the fanboys of a competing game. Even the "all-good" reviews are now throwing in a little bit of critique to sound more genuine, but such critique usually doesn't have any teeth and is easy to spot.

Though, what is even more true is if a game stands the test of time--if a game is still loved by its fans a year from now. Since I have a rather large stack of games I bought on sale which are still unplayed, I can wait before picking up a new release to see how it pans out.

puffenstuff:
I am not sure I understand why the amazonbombing is such a problem. A company did something wrong, it dishonestly manipulated reviews for retribution/financial gain. The reviewing community then got angry and dinged the companies reputation by downvoting company products. This seems like a perfectly reasonable response.

Can anyone explain to me what is so wrong about this?

There are several problems. High Voltage's action against Murdock implicitly puts pressure on all future reviewers who also have products available for sale elsewhere, because they know they could face retribution if the developer or publisher takes exception to the review. Regardless of what you think of their opinions, reviewers need to be able to operate independently of any external pressure, or else their reviews lose all credibility.

As for the public's Amazonbomb response, it's less odious but still problematic in that anyone going to the Conduit 2 site looking for legitimate opinions is going to come away empty-handed. Regardless of how bad Conduit 2 is, it's impossible to get an accurate read of public opinion when half the scores are simply the result of anger over something completely unrelated to the game itself. The whole system ends up meaningless and worthless as a result.

Maybe that sort of "you fuck with me, I fuck with you" is a perfectly reasonable response in the context of typical human behaviour, but that doesn't make it appropriate or beneficial to anyone.

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