Check out the cunning in this business model for videogame publishers:
- Sign deals with developers that make their pay dependent on a good review score average through Metacritic;
- Force developer to add nasty, anti-consumer, obnoxious DRM and limitations to the game.
- If reviewers pretend that your anti-consumer nonsense doesn’t matter, then you get away with it. If they don’t, if they penalise the game by lowering the scores, then you don’t have to pay the developer as much!
Well, for a while. In the era of digital distribution, their ripoff strategy is actually costing them money – but trying to make these monkeys understand that would be like trying to teach a cockroach to type. Still, the question for those who care about the developers and products affected is – how do we break that cycle?
I suspect that the only way to tackle it is for reviewers to start punishing games that are infected with this sort of rubbish, even though that unfortunately will hurt developers in the short-term – but it’s the only way to let developers know to be wary of those sorts of contracts. Playing along with it isn’t in their long-term interests, anyway.