Post-Zero Punctuation sales of Painkiller point to a potential "Yahtzee Effect" for games that get the infamous Croshaw critique.
Charismatic stallion Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw skyrocketed to fame with his hilariously degrading reviews of some of the most industry's most popular games, which tend to unknowingly provide him crappy gameplay joke material. NewTeeVee, intrigued by the Yahtzee's popularity, studied sales data for both Painkiller and Xbox Live Arcade's Braid, two titles reviewed positively by Yahtzee, to see if his videos affected game sales.
"I don't see any real case for Zero Punctuation increasing sales by a lot," stated Braid creator Jonathan Blow on the lack of a Yahtzee-created increase in sales of his downloadable game. "There definitely isn't a visible sales spike or anything like that."
On the other hand, sales data from Amazon seems to reveal a distinct 7,400 percent jump in Painkiller sales shortly after it was given a positive review, if one-liners like "Painkiller is fucking awesome and can kick the ass of most big name mainstream titles and have them for breakfast afterwards" are considered merely "positive" and not "giddy school girl talking about her favorite boy band."
This sales spike was so notable that the great, ruggedly handsome man who provides my paychecks (and also Escapist co-founder) Alexander Macris featured the info in a marketing brochure, noting that, "media companies are always fighting to prove audience engagement and relevance."
As for the difference in sales impact between Painkiller and Braid, Macris noted that the latter "was already a breakthrough hit by the time Yahtzee reviewed it, while Painkiller was a lesser-known title that was given a new look based on his review."