University of Portsmouth study discovers the secret to gaming success

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CRITICS are the secret of what makes a blockbuster video game, research has shown.

Dr Joe Cox, of the University of Portsmouth Business School, has found the winning ingredients in a video game are positive reviews by independent critics, followed by the game being released for a popular hardware platform and association with a major publisher.

Every one point increase in the average score given to a video game by a reviewer typically drives up sales by 1.5 per cent, with a 10 per cent increase in a review score leading to sales rising by 15 per cent.

Dr Cox said: ‘Reviews collated by Metacritic.com are the most powerful predictors of a game becoming a blockbuster because critics are vital arbiters of quality and have immense influence in the decisions people make about buying a particular title.

‘It may seem counter-intuitive, since high quality and commercially successful games are not always perceived as being the same.

‘The study found that licences and franchise agreements have much less of an impact on sales than one might imagine.’

Dr Cox studied nearly 2,000 games and found Nintendo is the biggest player in the blockbuster stakes, selling more consoles and increasing the likelihood of success more than any other publisher.