Last week, Xbox VP Mike Ybarra landed himself in some hot water after suggesting that watching streamers was the 'modern' way to decide whether you should buy a game like Anthem, conveniently side-stepping the raft of mixed reviews that accompanied Anthem's release, which currently has a rating of 60% on review-aggregation site Metacritic. As questionable as Ybarra's tweet was, it got us thinking... how do GamesRadar's readers decide whether a game is worth buying or not? Who do you consult for advice and information on the latest releases? And are streamers really the future - or indeed, the present - of modern reviews, as Ybarra seems to be suggesting?
Inspired, we put out a tweet of our own, asking for some insight into your decision making process when it comes to purchasing video games. Suffice to say, you replied en masse, and the responses were as illuminating as they were diverse. We've collated some of the best answers below, so take a look, and thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute.
Yes, reviews are still important
It's pleasing to hear that, for many, the good ol' written game review is still a source of valuable information in the lead up to a new release. There's no reason they can't still exist alongside the likes of YouTube and streaming, either, as many of you point out, and - at the very least - they're a space for everyone to voice their own opinion online, regardless of how much you disagree with the review in question.
reviews heavily influence my decision. I don't always agree 100% but I look for cues like how repetitive a game may be, the length of the game, how buggy is it, etc. and then weigh that against the price tagFebruary 21, 2019
Previews, gameplay demos and DEFINITELY reviews! My time and money is too precious to waste on a mediocre or broken game, they ain’t cheap and I ain’t rich, yetFebruary 21, 2019
Normally, I’ll read reviews from various sites, I’ll try to see it in motion somewhere (vid review, let’s plays) or read a featured opinion piece about why someone really enjoys or dislikes something. Ultimately, I need to be invested in it somehow (franchise or type I like).February 22, 2019
The horse's mouth
They may be inherently positive, but sometimes the best way to learn everything about a new game in one go is by listening to the developers themselves, either through dev diaries, promotional material, or raw gameplay demos. It seems like some of you will also consider the developer's own history in your choices as a customer. For example, if Rockstar is releasing a new game, there's an assumed level of production quality, given the publisher's pedigree.
if it's not by dev history, or the series of the game that makes me do that decision, then previews/trailers, and video reviews from none-games-journalism sources.February 22, 2019
Trailers, game dev videos, dev streams and ideas.Not reviews, impression videos or any "before you buy you buy" videos.February 22, 2019
Who the developers are, what else have they done that I liked or didn't, what has been revealed via press, what my colleagues are interested in. Some games that are annual releases are more about updates to existing functionality (sports games mostly)February 21, 2019
There's something about streamers...
There's no doubt that streaming is many people's go-to source for video game coverage, and you can see why. Instead of - bear with us - written words describing the experience of playing a video game, why not just watch someone playing it in live time? Isn't that the best way to know whether you yourself will like it?...
Reviews from my favorite streamers mostly 😁February 21, 2019
Streams now. Used to go off reviews but not so much anymore. I rather see someone play the game live and see it all unfold.February 21, 2019
Learned most reviewers don't know what they're talking about, so I look into statistics, streams and stuff on my own to discover if I might enjoy it or not. Youtube videos also help.February 21, 2019
But there's still an element of distrust
So streaming offers a great source of information, but the recent controversy surrounding sponsored Anthem streams and YouTube reviews shows there's still a scepticism surrounding their authority when it comes to swaying public opinion. That's left many to avoid streams altogether, or simply consume them as entertainment, rather than hard and fast determinants of the decision making process.
Reviews, reviews, reviews. Streams are more bought off than ever. The money game has shifted and you're more likely to get an unbiased and informed opinion from REVIEWSFebruary 21, 2019
I read the reviews and word of mouth but only for an idea of what to look for. Don't really watch streams, play demos or betas if available. Do my own research and form my own opinion.February 21, 2019
Regardless of how you decide which games to buy, why not stay tuned to GamesRadar+ for the latest coverage on all the new games of 2019 and beyond?