Videogame reviews by professional critics influence gamers' opinions, according to a new study by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR).
EEDAR gathered a group of nearly 200 people at Southern Methodist University and split them into three groups.
The first group were exposed to high-scoring reviews of Plants vs. Zombies, then invited to play the game for 20 minutes.
The second were shown low-scoring reviews and then invited to play it, while the control group just got to play it.
Afterward everyone had to provide a score out of 100 for the game and say whether they would prefer $10 or a copy of the game in exchange for their time.
According to EEDAR, the group exposed to positive reviews rated the game an average of six points higher than the control group and 14 points higher than the group exposed to negative reviews.
"Clearly, this initial review exposure influenced their opinion, even after they played the game themselves," EEDAR said in its conclusions.
38 per cent of the group exposed to positive reviews took the game as payment rather than $10, too, compared to 21 per cent in the control group and 17 per cent in the group exposed to negative reviews.
"The findings of this study indicate that critic reviews, independent of product quality, significantly influenced participants' willingness to purchase the product," EEDAR said.
"As painful as it may be for developers to consider, even with the creation of a high-quality game, a game is likely to achieve greater commercial success if reviewed highly, than if reviewed poorly or not at all."
The research noted that it drew no conclusions about marketing, pricing and other considerations that may influence consumers and indeed critics.