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Are Famitsu review scores actually respected in Japan?

dan2026

Member
The Persona Famitsu review thread got me thinking today.
What does the average Japanese gamer think of Famitsu's reviews and their review process in general?

Obviously with many people here on Neogaf and other places they are treated as being deeply suspect at best and overtly corrupt or bought off at worst.
Conflicts of interest seem flagrant and nobody seems to trust them much. Probably with good reason.

Kotaku even ran an article on it some time ago.
http://kotaku.com/5520937/do-not-trust-this-magazines-review-scores

But it isn't what us here on Neogaf think of Famitsu that intrigues me, what do Japanese gamers think?
Do they share the same doubts we do?
Do they even care?

I do understand Famitsu has quite a legacy in Japan and that review scores aren't quite as prevalent there as over here.

If anyone has any insight on this I would be very grateful.
 

Kysen

Member
They aren't from the blogs I've read. Usually they are brought up mockingly when compared to metacritic. Heck there is an article right now on はちま about the P5 review and a bunch of people are laughing at the Jojo perfect score review.
 
interested in this also. there has to be more to Japan's game journalism than Famitsu

Considering how the entertainment industry as a whole in Japan has atrophied over the past 15 years from the demographic crisis which is getting exponentially worse with each passing year, I wouldn't be surprised if by this point that there isn't more to the Japanese game-journalism sector than Famitsu.

EDIT: Oh yeah, there is 4Gamer, but that's the only other one I can think of.
 

L Thammy

Member
I think Famitsu's reputation used to be different. Back when I first heard about it, they were known for being harsh with their grading, so perfect or near perfect scores were an event. Then around Nintendogs it suddenly became a lot less rare, and their reputation started going downhill.
 
Considering how the entertainment industry as a whole in Japan has atrophied over the past 15 years from the demographic crisis which is getting exponentially worse with each passing year, I wouldn't be surprised if by this point that there isn't more to the Japanese game-journalism sector than Famitsu.

EDIT: Oh yeah, there is 4Gamer, but that's the only other one I can think of.

Isn't there also Dengeki?
 

ranmafan

Member
While Famitsu itself as a magazine I think still holds quite a sway of interest and attention with Japanese gamers, as it's basically the place to get all of the big news each week, I think most gamers probably don't care about the reviews at all. I know some here have made similar comments about the so called payments and such, on online forums, we always hear about but never see enough hard evidence for (the kotaku article being one of the few I've ever seen).

I think most people these days go by word of mouth or read more of the review sites that take user review input into account. These sites are pretty nice at times but I've also found them to be less then helpful with some games. And sites like Amazon are well known for just being places where angry gamers just post ridiculous reviews over a small complaint about the game making them almost useless to read.

One thing that's interesting about famitsu is they have in recent years added a section where they ask gamers to review the games themselves, in the same style as their own reviews. They tend to be very similar to the review scores you saw on the main reviews but they include the gamers worded opinions, as well as a breakdown of the scores they received in total. It's not the greatest solution but a nice thing.

There is also dengeki PlayStation for PlayStation reviews. Theirs tend to be more interesting, more in depth (especially non scored reviews), and there is even at least one reviewer who isn't afraid to give the game a drastically lower score than the others on staff for a game no matter how big it is. However that guy has lately been scoring games a little higher and less often. Makes you wonder if publishers didn't like his opinions.

But honestly as a gamer in Japan I take the scores and reviews all as a curiosity at best. The whole 40/40 thing doesn't mean much to me or many others, and really hasn't in a very long time. Especially since a 39 and a 40 receiver the same reward and all. I've already made up my mind about a game from what I've seen before hand and going by my gut has never let me down. Same goes for western game reviews too.

Also I hate the whole "did the cheque clear joke" because Japan doesn't use cheques at all.
 

ranmafan

Member
Isn't there also Dengeki?

There is but it should be mentioned that the owner of dengeki bought famistu a while back so they are one in the same. That being said i prefer dengeki over famistu so much even though I like famistu. But those two are pretty much all that's left of the big gaming magazines with a bunch of smaller ones dotting the landscape. Such as the Nintendo ones aimed for kids of the general pop culture magazine that famitsu does for adults that I can't remember its current.m name by.
 

ranmafan

Member
I dont think it's indentended to be directly literal. What would you prefer, the yen is in the envelope?

Oh I know, it's just a pet peeve of mine being that I've lived here so long and all. If we wanted to be more correct I would say "did the bank transfer go through."
 
There is but it should be mentioned that the owner of dengeki bought famistu a while back so they are one in the same. That being said i prefer dengeki over famistu so much even though I like famistu. But those two are pretty much all that's left of the big gaming magazines with a bunch of smaller ones dotting the landscape. Such as the Nintendo ones aimed for kids of the general pop culture magazine that famitsu does for adults that I can't remember its current.m name by.

Wasn't aware of that.
 

ranmafan

Member
Wasn't aware of that.

Yeah there really isn't much left here. Ten years ago there were far more game magazines, including some pretty well done ones that tried to be a little more serious. But most all disappeared too quickly. What you get now are mostly just weekly books of information. Almost like a catalog of products and all, like you see for magazines in other fields. And there is very little journalism other than simple articles reporting on news and such.

If that sort of thing interests you then the magazines are actually nice to read. And that's how I view them. I could care less what score a game got, I'm buying famitsu and dengeki to get the first look at most games. Have done it for years and have no plans on stopping.
 

Lynx_7

Member
There is but it should be mentioned that the owner of dengeki bought famistu a while back so they are one in the same. That being said i prefer dengeki over famistu so much even though I like famistu. But those two are pretty much all that's left of the big gaming magazines with a bunch of smaller ones dotting the landscape. Such as the Nintendo ones aimed for kids of the general pop culture magazine that famitsu does for adults that I can't remember its current.m name by.

I mean, it makes sense for gaming magazines to not be as relevant as they used to, that's pretty much been the case in the west too besides the bigger publications like EDGE. What I don't understand is why there's no japanese equivalent to IGN, gamespot, kotaku, eurogamer and other online review and media outlets. You know, the bigger market for game journalism. Is there simply no interest from consumers for this sort of thing, or does famitsu exert such a monopoly over gaming coverage that online outlets simply can't compete?
 

Toth

Member
I wouldn't be surprised if people admit they believe in Famitsu scores when a game they like gets a high score but quickly flip and say 'the check cleared' when a game they don't like scores high as well.
 

dallow_bg

nods at old men
I know it's an expression and it's all ok to use, just like I said it's a silly pet peeve of mine. Of course people don't know that about Japan so I don't get too big over it.

It has nothing to do with Japan or knowing what kind of payment systems they use.
Even in the not so distant future when no one uses checks and it's all digital money, this expression will love on. Because that's how expressions work.


Lmao honestly do people in the US even use checks anymore?

Unfortunately.
 

ranmafan

Member
I mean, it makes sense for gaming magazines to not be as relevant as they used to, that's pretty much been the case in the west too besides the bigger publications like EDGE. What I don't understand is why there's no japanese equivalent to IGN, gamespot, kotaku, eurogamer and other online review and media outlets. You know, the bigger market for game journalism. Is there simply no interest from consumers for this sort of thing, or does famitsu exert such a monopoly over gaming coverage that online outlets simply can't compete?

Honestly I think it's a bit of the fact that yeah famitsu has such a big presence and most of the audience, with room for the few other magazines and the manga books to also break news. Also if you are cozy with the companies they are good to you and they don't want to ruin that relationship.

But also there is a real lack of journalism in most areas of publishing, at least the type I think many people here would want. The hard hitting, get your sources, break scoops world of journalism just isn't there in the mags. And not just gaming mags, most other magazines and even many tv news shows are like that. There's been a real big complaint about the lack of hard hitting journalism in news in Japan these days. In fact the only real like scoop magazine stories you see are in the scummy tabloid magazines that basically spend their time trying to ruin celebrities lives with the whole terrible "scandal" culture. Those magazines will go crazy for such a scoop of they find a celebertybis even doing the slightest thing wrong at all.

This I really believe does sucks and why we will probably never get, for example a true 100% story about what happened to say with Kojima and Konami. No one will want to touch it with a ten foot poll cause no one will want to lose their chances of getting info from Konami and no other place that might be interested in the news would talk about it as it's not big enough for them.

I'm sure there are lots of people who want their information however, but they are going to places like 2ch and such to get it. Like I said before, video game magazines are like giant catalogs these days. All made mainly for previewing what you want to buy, not for telling you what is good or not
 

ranmafan

Member
It has nothing to do with Japan or knowing what kind of payment systems they use.
Even in the not so distant future when no one uses checks and it's all digital money, this expression will love on. Because that's how expressions work.

Ok I'm sorry, I won't be annoying about it again.
 
I think they used to be before Nintendogs. Now the give mediocre stuff like JoJo All Star Battle, MGS Peace Walker, Skyrim and Skyward Sword full score.
 

h0mebas3

Member
They aren't from the blogs I've read. Usually they are brought up mockingly when compared to metacritic. Heck there is an article right now on はちま about the P5 review and a bunch of people are laughing at the Jojo perfect score review.
Link?
 

h0mebas3

Member
I mean, it makes sense for gaming magazines to not be as relevant as they used to, that's pretty much been the case in the west too besides the bigger publications like EDGE. What I don't understand is why there's no japanese equivalent to IGN, gamespot, kotaku, eurogamer and other online review and media outlets. You know, the bigger market for game journalism. Is there simply no interest from consumers for this sort of thing, or does famitsu exert such a monopoly over gaming coverage that online outlets simply can't compete?

What about IGN Japan?
 
Famitsu 40 used to be an actual thing that meant a game excelled at something. Then they got in the business of writing paid reviews and are now everyone's bitch
 

ranmafan

Member
I mean, you can hate the expression.
Just hate it for the right reasons. :)

Well yeah I know what you mean. I hate more not the expression but the fact people aren't aware of the lack of them in Japan so I kinda wanted to point that out and even an alternative. But yeah it's a silly pet peeve in the end and not worthy really to go into much further so I say let's keep using it cause yeah it's a tried and true used saying that will never go away!

I just hope one day we get more of these "cheques" out in the open as evidence of all that happens in the magazine industry here. Would really love to see that.
 

AHK_Hero

Member
I was wondering the same thing when browsing that Persona review thread.

It lead me to try to use my very poor Nihongo to find a Japanese gaming forum to read.

Is there a predominant Japanese gaming forum out there? I would love to poorly interpret the opinions of people in their Persona 5 Famitsu review thread.
 

xevis

Banned
Not in America buddy

Freedom from the ques of the world

...

 
First comment I saw about Persona 5 getting a 39 was

ジョジョ以下のksg

Translates to "Less than JoJo, P O S"

This was followed by a poster waxing philosophically about how the need to see everything expressed in numbers signals a sad future for the human race.

So yeah, they take them about as seriously as we do.

お振り込みが届かなたったかな?
 

dallow_bg

nods at old men
First comment I saw about Persona 5 getting a 39 was



Translates to "Less than JoJo, P O S"

This was followed by a poster waxing philosophically about how the need to see everything expressed in numbers signals a sad future for the human race.

So yeah, they take them about as seriously as we do.

お振り込みが届かなたったかな?

Haha, awesome.
 
Well yeah I know what you mean. I hate more not the expression but the fact people aren't aware of the lack of them in Japan so I kinda wanted to point that out and even an alternative. But yeah it's a silly pet peeve in the end and not worthy really to go into much further so I say let's keep using it cause yeah it's a tried and true used saying that will never go away!

Well now I have to know, how did the Japanese transfer money in the days before everything went electronic? Cheques were so convenient, compared to the alternatives. Did everyone just go around with wallets full of cash and scraps of paper with account numbers written on them, or did they have some super efficient system?
 

ranmafan

Member
Well now I have to know, how did the Japanese transfer money in the days before everything went electronic? Cheques were so convenient, compared to the alternatives. Did everyone just go around with wallets full of cash and scraps of paper with account numbers written on them, or did they have some super efficient system?

You know I'm not fully sure how it was done before, although I have friends here who work in banks who could tell me, but Japan has been and still is mainly a cash based society. I remember being told in Japanese classes almost 20 years ago that it was normal for Japanese to carry at least around $300 with them always. From my experience now I don't believe that's the case anymore at all, but people still rely on the cash based society. Only recently have people really started to use credit cards more. Lots of people just go straight to the banks and do everything manually still, but yeah most transactions now are done via bank transfer, using ATMs, or of course automatic payment now. But things are changing more and more to digital thanks to the move to credit cards and prepaid card systems. One things for sure I like it better here. Hated cheques and don't miss them at all.
 

ubiblu

Member
I've been an avid Famitsu reader/fan since living in Japan in the mid-90's. They are rarely off-base, and best viewed in lots of 5 (E.g., no difference between 40 and 36, or 35 and 31). I also love that they sit four seperate people down to review each game, and the accompanying comments are usually brief, but insightful. Admittedly, it's rare that review scores vary by more than 1 or 2 points between reviewers.

All the fuckers on GAF carrying on about Famitsu getting paid for reviews have likely never read the magazine and are just parroting what they've heard.

Japan has always been about 'the hype' of big games and big promoters of Japanese developers. Every individual game reviewer, let alone publication has an inherent bias towards developers/genres. Deal with it.

I mean, shit, they gave P4G a 35 and it is in my top 3 of all-time. Boohoo. I still trust Famitsu as much as I do any other reviewer. Anything above 28/32 usually means a game is worth playing. Can't wait.
 

crinale

Member
They aren't respected but oh yes they still have significant effect on sales, so retailers say.
However I'm personally guessing that effect is slightly less than what it used to be.
 
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