As much as [reviewers] claim they want innovation, they don’t.”
That’s the assessment of Ubisoft’s North American executive director Laurent Detoc, speaking in response to the lukewarm reception afforded to recent release Rocksmith.
Rocksmith tried to distinguish itself from the already crowded musical instrument category by attempting to be a genuine teaching aid for those wanting to learn to play music.
The game currently has a 78 per cent Metacritic average on Xbox 360.
"What I see when I read the reviews is a lack of enthusiasm for something that is new,” he told Gamasutra. We, as human beings, tend to like what we know.
But more importantly, we call ourselves gamers. Are we gamers – or players? I think the ‘gamer’ label has actually been hurting the industry. As our industry evolves, we need to be more mature and find a way to look at content and judge it as if we were real consumers instead of as gamers."
And Detoc has a point. Can the same reviewer really be expected to assess such disparate experiences as Gears of War 3, Nintendogs+Cats and Zumba Fitness? That’s a big ask for anyone without an intricate and in-depth understanding of the various market demographics.
"[Review sites] are a part of this industry," he added. "We need to judge the products for what they are. You can’t compare, say, aJust Danceto anAssassin’s Creed. We can’t expect critics to be experts at everything.
"There are different types of entertainment experiences for different people and different appetites for quality. For example, today when you watch The Price is Right on TV, it’s free and supported by advertising. The actors in that show are mainly people like you and I, and the cost is somewhat low.
"Compare that to wanting to go see, say, Tintin with your wife on date night. You’re going to pay for the movie tickets and parking. Maybe there’s a babysitter involved. You may want to go to dinner. By the time it’s done, it’s a $200 night – but it’s a different entertainment experience.
That, to me, is like what’s happening with consoles versus other types of play. It depends on what you want to do as an entertainment experience."
Rocksmith will be released in the UK some time in 2012.