Critics Refusing to Review Free-To-Play Games?

As the industry moves forward, publishers are finding new methods of charging for services rendered.

As the industry moves forward, publishers are finding new methods of charging for services rendered.

Microtransactions are always a hot-button issue among gamers. Many hate the relatively new business practice but clearly, such a practice exists because it works.

However, will games that boast microtransactions not receive the same support from critics?

The staff at VGRHQ has connections (previously and currently established) with various sources and publications, and we’re starting to hear reports that overworked and underpaid staffs are being choosy about what they review these days. For some sites, it seems free-to-play games (those featuring the dreaded microtransaction in abundance) have fallen to the bottom of the totem pole.

Now, just to clarify: This isn’t happening strictly because the sources or critics in question don’t like the business model. In fact, of the critics with whom we’ve spoken, most are saying it’s simply because it’s “impossible” to accurately review a free-to-play game.

The free-to-play business model isn't very popular, but there's another reason why critics don't want to review such games.

The free-to-play business model isn’t very popular, but there’s another reason why critics don’t want to review such games.

What they’re saying is that the experience will change drastically depending on how much money the player is willing to spend. Those who are freer with the wallet will enjoy a more robust, complete experience while the stingier (or perhaps more discerning) customers will get an emptier, less satisfying experience. Simply put, some critics don’t want to try assigning a number to a game when the player’s actions have such a huge impact on the quality of the entertainment.

Honestly, they have a point. That being said, is it fair for a game to receive fewer reviews – and subsequently less attention – just because it opts for the F2P business model? Shouldn’t game critics have to review anything that comes their way?

Well, at one time, it really was this simple. These days, though, there’s a whole lot of gray area…

6 thoughts on “Critics Refusing to Review Free-To-Play Games?”

I don’t blame them.

Think about it from a logical standpoint: If the player can have such an impact on a game depending on how much they spend, how can the critic possibly come to a single number? It’s not fair to ask them to try.

It’s something the critic has to take into account. Doesn’t absolve them from not doing their job.

You still have to review the game. Maybe put a disclaimer in there that the experience will change depending on how much you put into it, but there are still reviewable factors. It’s their job.

This sounds more like whining than it does anything else. I get the idea (that it’s hard to assign a score) but critics do it all the time with MMOs. That just depends on how much time you invest, doesn’t it?

Time, money, whatever. You still have to review the game.

This is another complicated issue…let’s just say I have no desire to become a game critic any time soon. 😉

Me neither.

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