Saturday, August 4, 2012

IGN's Review Format Revamp Continues an Encouraging Trend in Game Journalism

Today I was reading an article over on IGN about how they are looking at revamping the way they review games on the site. They've solicited reader feedback, and it seems like they've kicked around some really interesting ideas about how reviews might look on IGN in the future. From what I gather so far, they are going to be moving away from the composite scoring system they have now, which I think is a great idea, as it's pretty convoluted.

I am not a fan of review scores in general, as they take the focus away from the content of the actual review, and allow people to just focus on the bottom line. Review scores will never go away though, especially for video games. as they are completely ingrained in every facet of the industry. In many cases, developers and PR people have their pay rate affected by the Metacritic score of a game.

I'm sure IGN will settle on a review style that still includes scores, but hopefully it will better emphasize the content of the written reviews over those scores. I would even be in favor of a system that encouraged you to read the actual review by having to click at the end of the article in order to reveal the review score, almost like the "terms and conditions" page that pops up when you install an app on your phone or computer.

In any case, IGN's current efforts to evolve how they review games continues the trend of longtime gaming sites changing the way they talk about games, and what their focus is overall. 1Up has made a nice transition to more feature-related content, and Gamespot's direction under John Davision has also been more feature related.

Anything the major gaming sites can do to move away from the PR driven news bites that have dominated coverage over the past several years is a good thing in my book.