K-mart unveiled a new initiative a few days ago, whereby they’ll be taking snippets of user comments/reviews about games from their website, and printing them out to display in front of games at their stores. It’s not a terrible idea, it’s just terribly flawed.
K-Mart isn’t likely to throw up a review that says “Holy crap this game is teeeeerrible! I’d rather boil my face than play another minute of this game!” in front of twenty copies of said game at $60 each. They’ll cherry-pick the ones that help sell titles.
And to a lesser extent, developers/publishers submitting glowing reviews of their own games has been mentioned. Though, I’m not entirely convinced that’s a huge threat. Is the consumer-base of K-Mart worth the time and effort it would take to submit a ton of padded reviews for the chance that one of them gets picked? If your game sucks, is K-Mart really going to be the swing-vote in the financial break-even game?
I have a different concern altogether… actually, concern isn’t the right word. Let’s say I have a different interest in the system. I’m curious as to whether this system could be subtly Three-Wolf-Mooned to get some amusing reviews popping up in stores. It would mostly hinge on the person(s) that they have combing through and selecting reviews, and how familiar they are with the specific games and features.
Now don’t get me wrong… it would be hilarious, but I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone try it, and then post the results. It might be an amusing way to spend some time this weekend, but it would be incredibly irresponsible of me to suggest that anyone play with a system that is clearly designed to inform and educate. This is a tool of learning, and it deserves the utmost respect. K-mart is serious business.