Dreamcast Beats PlayStation In Review Ratings

Good old statistics come to the rescue once again...

Posted by Staff
Many Eyes make lighter work? Who smokes though?
Many Eyes make lighter work? Who smokes though?
With all the next-gen news of late (and flurries of name calling based on leaked stats, manipulated figures and plain nonsense) the phrase ?There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics??, appears to be more on the mark than ever.

But sometimes statistics can throw up some truly intriguing information. The ?Many Eyes? project?s findings regarding average game review scores for last-gen systems including Xbox, PS2, GameCube and Dreamcast, present one of these moments.

According to its ?visualisation? (pictured right), which is based on data from the Metacritic review-score site, both the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 are beaten by GameCube and Dreamcast in terms of games receiving the highest-scores.

Very little other information, aside from the raw data is given. So, for example, we don?t know over what period the information derives from (although Metacritic began business in 1999). However, what it does tell us (or in this case show us) is the following:

Of games rated between 97-100 points (from 100), the Dreamcast caught three while the Xbox and PS2 attracted two and one respectively. At the lower end of the scale, games that rated at less than 29 points appeared five times on the PS2, six times on the Xbox, twice on the GameCube; no Dreamcast games rated that low-down.

The number of review ratings used by the data in total is 2,913. This breaks down as follows:

PS2 ? 1,417
Xbox ? 854
GameCube ? 500
Dreamcast - 142

What is also made clear by the stats is that the media likes to be 'nice', with the bulk of the review scores (2,077) appearing between the 57 to 84 point range.

The Many Eyes project is part of the part of IBM's Collaborative User Experience research group ? and there?s a vague chance that you could take it seriously. However, the more you drill into the stats, the more questions need to be asked, including: with more than 2,500 PS2 games released in Europe, why only 1,147 reviews in this sample? Why so few Dreamcast games - 142? Which sites did Metacritic use?

So, once again, while looking over the lovely graph, bear in mind that stats are only as good as the information supporting them.

We urge you to have a look yourself by clicking here.

? Benjamin Disraeli said it, a few years before the Dreamcast came on to the market.
Companies:

Comments

ozfunghi 16 Apr 2007 14:06
1/12
Doesn't surprise me one bit.

Dreamcast comes right after the über-console that is the SNES.
offal eater 16 Apr 2007 15:35
2/12
ok ... so if it was so good, how comes it was commercial disaster (and don't roll out that old 'it was sonys doing' fallacy.
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NiktheGreek 16 Apr 2007 17:40
3/12
Dammit, why can't I log in? I'm swooping back into the fold to clear up a Dreamcast-y mess, and I must do it under the undignified guise of an anonymous user. Oh well.

offal eater, as you should well know the quality of a system's software doesn't matter too much commercially. The problem that Sega had was that it couldn't convince people to buy highly rated games such as Shenmue and Jet Set Radio. Part of that was down to absolutely horrendous marketing (and bear in mind that two expensive DC ad campaigns were pulled by regulators over here), another was - yes - down to the "wait and see" factor that the Playstation 2 provided. It doesn't help that there was a quality drought over the summer of 2000, coupled with no price drop. There was the lack of support from EA, the amazing willingness to bleed money (see Chu Chu Rocket giveaway), and numerous other factors.

Of course, the main thing to bear in mind is that the Dreamcast was practically doomed before it was launched. Sega was in an amazingly precarious financial position anyway, and the system would have really needed to take off like the PS2 to have survived. It didn't, and Sega took it on the chin to the tune of $400 million in losses during the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 financial years.

Key thing to take away from this post: none of that business rubbish matters. The Dreamcast played host to a number of awesome games, and the commercial failure of the system means you can pick many of them up for £5 or so. When those games include Soul Calibur, Virtua Tennis 2 and Jet Set Radio, it's almost rude to say no. The winner is any consumer smart enough to pick up on that.
The Absinthe Review Network 17 Apr 2007 01:06
4/12
Couldn't have said it better myself. Blame it on all the damn casual gamers that buy anything that has "Sony" on the box...

...DC is still my favourite system today. I busted out Virtua Tennis after playing VT3 and found I actually still prefer the original! It may have had an early departure, but the ratio of quality to crap games simply massacres the other previous-gen systems...
Rutabaga 17 Apr 2007 10:26
5/12
This good > crap ratio thing is ridiculous, you just don't buy the s**t ones. The PS2 has far more good games than the DC ever had. It's like claiming you had better trainers after finishing last in a 100 meter sprint.

And as for blaming everything on casual gamers, how does the DS and Wii's success fit with this, surely thats the market Nintendo are aiming at.
offal eater 17 Apr 2007 11:06
6/12
NiktheGreek wrote:
Dammit, why can't I log in? I'm swooping back into the fold to clear up a Dreamcast-y mess, and I must do it under the undignified guise of an anonymous user. Oh well.

offal eater, as you should well know the quality of a system's software doesn't matter too much commercially.


nonsense. the games you can get on a system are the be-all and end-all of a system

The problem that Sega had was that it couldn't convince people to buy highly rated games such as Shenmue and Jet Set Radio. Part of that was down to absolutely horrendous marketing (and bear in mind that two expensive DC ad campaigns were pulled by regulators over here), another was - yes - down to the "wait and see" factor that the Playstation 2 provided. It doesn't help that there was a quality drought over the summer of 2000, coupled with no price drop. There was the lack of support from EA, the amazing willingness to bleed money (see Chu Chu Rocket giveaway), and numerous other factors.

marketing - yes. it was s**t. but see, you just said it was also because there were enough quality games for the DC (unless you meant quality of hardware production)
The Absinthe Review Network 17 Apr 2007 12:49
7/12
Rutabaga wrote:
This good > crap ratio thing is ridiculous, you just don't buy the s**t ones. The PS2 has far more good games than the DC ever had. It's like claiming you had better trainers after finishing last in a 100 meter sprint.

And as for blaming everything on casual gamers, how does the DS and Wii's success fit with this, surely thats the market Nintendo are aiming at.


Of course the PS2 has more AAA titles, fool; I'm not denying that. But that's only because it has been THE mass-market console for 7 years. For every Metal Gear Solid there are 40 Bad Boys: Miami Takedown quality games (read: CRAP), so I stand by my quality:crap ratio wholeheartedly. If you really look at the DC release schedule, they CONSTANTLY had huge titles coming out! there was no waiting 8 months for the next big thing-8 weeks was probably stretching it. I mean sure...I MYSELF don't buy the s**t ones, but what the hell control do I have over everyone else?

As for Nintendo's success with the casual gamers, I don't see how your argument disproves anything I've said. The fact is, as you said yourself, casual gamers is what Nintendo is AIMING for, so of course they are going to have success in that respect. MY point is that Sega did NOT develop games/have an efficient marketing campaign oriented toward casual gamers, so obviously casual gamers played a significant role in its eventual demise. The problem with casual gamers is that they size up games from a single screenshot, they dont read reviews, and basically if the box art is cool the game simply must be kickass in their small minds. You know just as well as I do that every casual gamer on the planet had only 1 thing on their mind "PS2, d00d!!!!!!!!!!!!", seeing as Sony hyped it up to have "Toy-Story quality visuals". Only us, the hardcore gamers knew better, but alas, the overwhelming numbers of the casual bastards was just too much...
Rutabaga 17 Apr 2007 14:27
8/12
No need to resort to insults, get a grip. You could swing round your "argument" that if the DC hadn't been such a commercial disaster and had a decent shelf life it would have had its fair share of crap titles like the PS2.

Blaming the PS2 for there being a high percentage of s**t games is stupid, it's like blaming Philips for there being Steps, The Cheeky Girls & Chico.

B- Lo wrote:
MY point is that Sega did NOT develop games/have an efficient marketing campaign oriented toward casual gamers, so obviously casual gamers played a significant role in its eventual demise.


Thats Sega's fault though, no? They where quite happy peddling to the "casual gamer" during the 16 bit era. Sega have always made strange commercial decisions, which they never appear to learn from, case in point, their erratic platform selections for games. Monkey ball, Virtua Tennis etc
The Absinthe Review Network 17 Apr 2007 15:34
9/12
No need to take such offense; get a grip yourself.

I'm not blaming "PS2" (Sony) for their high ratio of s**t games. Any market dominant platform is going to have tons of crap unless they have stricter approval guidelines, I understand that. I'm just saying that as it stands Sony has the largest load of s**t. I won't deny the fact that it likely would have been the same scenario if Sega and Sony had been in opposite positions.

as far as the 16-bit era goes, keep in mind there was a much smaller gaming fanbase as a whole; selling 500,000 copies was considered a MASSIVE success at the time. so in general games had to be more accessable period...
Rutabaga 17 Apr 2007 16:12
10/12
No you get a grip ;-)

B- Lo wrote:
I'm just saying that as it stands Sony has the largest load of s**t.

Yes but when I said that the PS2 had far more good games than the DC you dismissed it due to it's mass market 7 year appeal. Why not dismiss it's s**t games for the same reason?

B- Lo wrote:
as far as the 16-bit era goes, keep in mind there was a much smaller gaming fanbase as a whole; selling 500,000 copies was considered a MASSIVE success at the time. so in general games had to be more accessable period...


But accessibility is what appeals to the mass market, Sega seemed to lose sight of this.

In summary arguing that the DC had a higher ratio of good > crap is totally nonsensical. This whole story is pointless.
Svend Joscelyne 17 Apr 2007 19:13
11/12
offal eater wrote:
nonsense. the games you can get on a system are the be-all and end-all of a system

True, but you're a bit confused as to what Nik means there.

Notice Nik said 'quality of a system's software', not the software of a system full-stop. Say people have a choice of something ground breaking like Rez, or something of a brain-fart like FIFA 01 or whatever. People are going to pick FIFA 01. Rez is the better, quality game, but it doesn't matter to the consumer and doesn't matter too much on a commercial level. Great games usually finish last when facing a 'license'.

The same reason Katamari Damacy was never going to hit the PS2 charts because of whatever brain-fart game was the vogue last year.

marketing - yes. it was s**t. but see, you just said it was also because there were enough quality games for the DC (unless you meant quality of hardware production)

See, you're getting the 'games' and 'quality games' thing mixed up again. SEGA's first party offerings have pretty much been some of the most influential games the 128-bit generation. Shenmue, Rez, Crazy Taxi, Samba de Amigo, Virtua Tennis, Headhunter, Sonic Adventure, Jet Set Radio, ChuChu Rocket!, OutTrigger, House of the Dead 2, Metropolis Street Racer, Phantasy Star Online, Ecco... count a few third party gems like Resi Evil Code Veronica, Soul Calibur, Power Stone, Toy Commander, Ready 2 Rumble...

There were more than enough quality games for the Dreamcast (and I have to say more than PS2 offered within its first two years of launch), but one way or another the casual market was not buying it.

Yes but when I said that the PS2 had far more good games than the DC you dismissed it due to it's mass market 7 year appeal.

That is kind of true though - as I said before, the Dreamcast had more breakthrough AAA games in its short lifespan than the PS2 achieved in the same amount of time. The PS1 is the console that 'won' the 32-bit generation, but it's the Sega Saturn that cult gamers remember the most.

Having said that though, Sega did have a big part of killing the Dreamcast, not just in terms of marketing. They did nothing to dissuade third parties from releasing shovelware on the Dreamcast. It shouldn't have been too hard to refuse a game release because it's a port of a three year old PS1 title. But they didn't, and instead of influential third party titles you had Buzz Lightyear. There were breakout titles like Soul Calibur sure, but people didn't buy the Dreamcast because no matter how good the first party offering was, people weren't going to buy a console with no standout titles from other companies.

Simply put, the marketing was crap but Sega did nothing to tell other developers and publishers to just use the extra power of the system to their advantage.
NiktheGreek 17 Apr 2007 21:11
12/12
Me again.

Most of what I said has been cleared up, but the thing about the summer quality drought should be addressed. Yes, there was a lack of good quality Dreamcast software during the summer of 2000. The same thing happens to most consoles. However, Sega made moves that ultimately only made the problem worse. Delaying Virtua Tennis until after Wimbledon had finished was criminally stupid, and giving away the only star game of the summer - Sonic Team's Chu Chu Rocket - cost them a whole lot of money. So there was a lack of quality games to maintain interest in the system, and the console didn't receive a price cut (Sega simply didn't have the financial ability to sustain one). That lack of quality new software lasted for a few months, and then the hits rolled in in the autumn/winter period.

As for the third-party stuff, I don't think Sega didn't try. Most of the major ones were on board, and securing Soul Calibur and Resident Evil: Code Veronica would have been a coup for any company at the time. The problem is that some companies (and I'm pointing a finger squarely at Konami, among others) just didn't have enough faith in Sega to commit heavily to the DC. In some ways, Sega could make up for deficiencies in the third-party range. The Sega Sports series was very well received in the US, critically and commercially. Unfortunately, being unable to get a decent football game out hurt European sales. Similarly, for a long time the system lacked a good RPG, with Eternal Arcadia and Sakura Taisen 3 not arriving soon enough for the Japanese crowd.

Is it that unlikely that the PS2 has a worse ratio of good software to crap software? Not at all. When your console is the most popular, you get some good exclusives, yeah. But you also get every single film tie-in, every single crap clone of an existing hit, and every single game which is cack, but has the best chance of making some cash on the most popular system. That's just the way it is. Also consider that the longer a system lives, the less attention it gets from good development teams. The Playstation launched with Ridge Racer and Wipeout, and the middle of it's life brought Tekken 3 and Metal Gear Solid. Games were being released up until 2004, but very few of the later ones were any cop as the top teams ran off to next-gen formats. The Dreamcast's short life helps there, as right through 2001 and 2002 the decent games were finished and shoved out.

The Dreamcast does have a pretty limited range of games (217 releases in Europe, less than 10% of the number available for PS2), and it did fail commercially. I'm not disputing either of those facts. Does the DC have more good games than the PS2, in raw numerical terms? Probably not. Does it have a better proportion of good games? The stats seem to say so. To put it another way: if you can name 22 Dreamcast games worth owning (and you can, trust me), that's 10% of the PAL library. The same proportion of the PS2 library covers a good 250+ games. Not so easy.
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