A new study undertaken by Doctor William M. Volckmann of the University of North Carolina has gone into a good bit of detail about games released by the “Big Four” of console gaming, specifically which get the best reactions. The study showed that gamers believe the quality of games has been declining but that PC and Nintendo titles still get the best reactions.
The results suggest that PC and Nintendo platforms provided fairly consistently satisfying games from 2002–2022, whereas Playstation and Xbox appear to have deteriorated in that sense, and gaming as a whole appears to have declined according to users.
Various highly-acclaimed video games have come out in the last several years, gaining huge amounts of success both critically and financially, there have also been games that have contributed to a perceived decline in gaming, with the study bringing up two particular games that had awful debuts due to technical issues.
…recent controversial releases like Cyberpunk 2077 and Fallout 76 could have exacerbated such beliefs.
For the past several years, many games have been getting released in states that are essentially half-finished, resulting in broken, low-quality games that often enrage audiences rather than excite them, to say nothing of various issues like crunching or overly-ambitious publishers or developers driving such disasters.
Despite the study remarking that the PC market gets worse ports from console games, it still remains one of the best-regarded groups of games in the study, alongside Nintendo. However, the study also brings up that critics and PC gamers have different feelings on how successful those games are.
Professional reviews do not exhibit any upward or downward trend, whereas user reviews exhibit a downward trend of about 0.3 points per 5 years…
Nintendo games also have a reputation as some of the best among gamers, likely due to the fact that unlike games on other consoles, they are solid in the technical department and help to vary up the formula with each entry. However, gamers and critics also differ in those feelings as well, according to the study.
Professional reviews exhibit a small upward trend of about 1 point per 5 years, whereas user reviews exhibit a small downward trend of about 1 point per 5 years…
The study also takes into account differing tastes from one platform’s fanbase to another, such as how PC gamers feel about console ports, or one console fan thinks of games that another console has. These differing expectations also make it difficult to truly quantify a “best” platform, according to the study.
As for what qualifies as “best,” the study takes many different ways to study such a qualifier, including professional reviews, user reviews, the most popular console by year, and the most satisfying ports a platform gets. The study even admits that it cannot gain a proper conclusion due to issues in the methods used.
…a limitation of this study is its inability to precisely explain which factors lead to changes in player satisfaction over time.
Either way, gamers will always have their preferred platforms for any number of reasons, and many professional reviewers will never truly see eye-to-eye with gamers for one reason or another. Perhaps future studies will illuminate more on what is the “best” platform in gaming. And since most of the data for the study comes from Metacritic, “personal bias” can be a big factor to consider here.