By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Close

Forums - Sales Discussion - Sales=Quality

The prime directive of entertainment is to entertain, and all of the arts are entertainment.  Be it a piece of music, a painting, or a story captured on film, the purpose remains the same: to find an audience, to lift those who encounter it.  A movie needs to be watched, its existence meant to entertain the audience.  Games are meant to be fun.  And so on.    When it comes to entertainment, the only objective measuring stick for quality is its financial success. 

If entertainment is successful in that objective within its own medium, it will be recognized within the population and financially succeed in turn.  This is because capitalism works and quality cannot be measured objectively; entertainment is entirely subjective in nature. 

Attempts have been made to isolate measurable traits to determine quality even in this subjective environment.  Film has critics, people who have built careers on watching movies and judging them from every angle, and a few have ascended to be trustworthy in their evaluations.  This presents obvious problems: 1)a small sample group speaks on behalf of an overwhelming majority and 2) the traits critics search for vary from culture to culture, from decade to decade.  How is it that an angry man bitching in a movie theatre has the right to tell me what is good or bad?

In ages past, only certain styles of art were considered acceptable.  The sculptor Rodin was believed incompetent by critics and people alike because his sculptures did not subscribe to typical conventions of human body proportions.  Van Gogh was likewise unsuccessful introducing his new style.  Both are now considered paragons of the arts, geniuses before their time.  The lens in which the public eye views their work has changed, and with that change, the value of their masterpieces has skyrocketed.  Who was right?  The societies of old, or our present one?  If in five hundred years they are widely regarded as hacks again, would that be true?

Psychologically speaking, most people judge the quality of entertainment using their own tastes as a measuring stick; if they enjoy it, it is good.  If not, it is bad (simplified, but mostly an accurate assessment).  When sagas like Twilight appear and musicians like Justin Bieber enrapture massive fanbases, the natural response from those who do not share those tastes is borderline homicidal rap. 

The kicker is that they have succeeded in their goal: they have entertained enough people to achieve commercial success.  The content of their works, though perhaps failing to live up to the standards of the vocal minority (critics) or others who prefer something different (say, the Buffy: the Vampire Slayer fandom, go us!), possesses enough traits to entertain lots of people.  And in entertainment, there are too many factors to list, too many ways something can be judged.  How does one define these traits and how they are measured versus another?  Everyone has different tastes.

Critical reception is important sometimes, but reviewers and critics can be bought, and some sites which allow for personal review lack the oh-so-important scientific approach to determining the validity of the review as some are written solely to increase or decrease the overall score by people who haven’t even been exposed to the work in question!  In short, there are fewer trustworthy sources than we think, and the ones who are trustworthy are still bias and judging things through a lens that may change over the decades and centuries.  Even then... Ebert loved Godfather 3.

Sales, though the only objective measuring stick, is not a measuring stick meant for the opening weekend at the box office, or annual VMA’s.  Once art is on the marketplace, it is on the marketplace forever.  The Beatles may be said to be objectively good because not only did they achieve mass popularity but their merchandise continues to sell.  Tolkien continues to inspire.  Virtually everyone on the planet can hum the Imperial March.  Will Justin Bieber enjoy that level of longevity, or will the fanbase move on in several years once their tastes evolve or a new heartthrob rises to fame?  Will Twilight continue to be held in high esteem?  Only time, and sales, will tell. 

CS Lewis was once held in higher esteem than Tolkien.  Captain James T. Kirk was once taken seriously.  But Shakespearean plays and modern imaginings continue after all these centuries.  Whether I enjoy any of these is unimportant: enough people enjoy them and have enjoyed them to be considered good.

It is too easy to judge a fanbase as being inferior due to the object of their obsession.  Often times the term “lowest common denominator” is used for the millions who park in front of the television to watch Jersey Shore and whatnot.  But other people are not God’s failed attempt at making Carbon copies of yourself.  I can sit back and rave about how fantastic Battlestar Galactica was but that’s just me.  I might love Doctor Who and hate CSI but that’s because the Doctor has succeeded in entertaining me while CSI has not.  I have friends who hate the Doctor but love Quantum Leap.  I am just one man, the smallest unit in the sample group that is the world and all of history.

How do I know if I have good taste?  By finding like-minded individuals?  If so, how does that invalidate the opinions of those diametrically opposing to my own?  If their like-mindedness outweighs my collective, what does that say about my efforts to determine if my taste is good?  Is the Wheel of Time better than Lord of the Rings because I say so?  Is Metallica the greatest band that ever lived just because they are my favourite?  Or do we go with the majority and let history sort out the details?

If something is good, people will hear about it.  And if they appreciate it enough, money will exchange at some point.  If not, those coins will be exchanged for something better sooner or later.  That’s just how people work.  You’re not going to go to a restaurant and order something that you wouldn’t feed your dog, you’re going to get something that you like or hope to like, a decision probably made by a past experience.  By following sales trends, success can be measured.  If something is objectively terrible, the money will stop flowing.

When it comes to video games, the objective is for the gamer to have fun.  If a game is not fun, people will hear about it and it will stop selling.  If a game is mind-bogglingly awesome, it’ll sell and its DLC will sell, perhaps maybe action figures, posters, sequels, t-shirts, soundtracks, etc and people will keep talking about for a very long time.  Personally, I hated God of War.  Gave its sequels a spin, and found it virtually unplayable.  I didn’t like it.  I didn’t have fun.  But millions had a blast, so objectively it must have done many somethings right, those people just judged it by different traits than I have judged it.

For myself, Mass Effect 2 is perhaps the greatest game of all time.  But the Call of Duty franchise entertains more people and for longer.  Is my enjoyment of the game diminished because it didn’t sell as well?  Of course not.  My enjoyment is all I really care about when I turn on my console.  I can rattle off a list of things that game did right to win me over, but the Call of Duty fanbase will probably respond with a list of their own as to why they’d rather play one more deathmatch than explore every possible story path in the Mass Effect series.

Call of Duty has succeeded.  It has entertained those people.  It is fun.  And it sells accordingly.  Smaller games may be more enjoyable to a smaller crowd but the goal of entertainment is to entertain as many people as possible for as long as possible.  That’s just the objective way of looking at how my own personal tastes hold up versus the world.  I have made the cognitive leap to understand that collective opinion on subjective matters outweighs my own even if I refuse to change my mind.

What I subjectively think is good may not be objectively good, what I think is subjectively bad may not be objectively bad.  Same goes for you.  Think about that the next time you walk past the line of Twilight fangirls at the theatres only to park yourself in a mostly empty room.  Think about that when someone says that they enjoy a game you think is terrible.

Sales=Quality.  If you have a better measuring stick that is an objective method of assessing the quality of entertainment, please...enlighten me.



Around the Network

Do you know what servicing the least common denominator means?

You are also wrong. For example, Shakespear isn't considered good by many. Many are told he is good but are just too fucking dumb to understand why it's good. It's an idea propagated by the people of higher intelligence down to the idiots of society. It's worked pretty well too, as you can see.

Edit: It's taken many years to get the idae of Shakespeare = pretty decent down to the dumbest idiot in society.

If your goal is to entertain the greatest amount of people, they you go with the dumbest, most idiotic, most basic, ideas you can get. Inherently that means the quality is also pretty shitty. There are a few, very few, examples of something that is considered great because it's approachable by idiots, but also deep enough for more intellectual people, but those examples are few and far between.



Tag(thx fkusumot) - "Yet again I completely fail to see your point..."

HD vs Wii, PC vs HD: http://www.vgchartz.com/forum/thread.php?id=93374

Why Regenerating Health is a crap game mechanic: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=3986420

gamrReview's broken review scores: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=4170835

 

The sky is blue!

Don't need a noval to explain it.

Don't know why anyone will disagree with your title though



Tag:I'm not bias towards Nintendo. You just think that way (Admin note - it's "biased".  Not "bias")
(killeryoshis note - Who put that there ?)
Switch is 9th generation. Everyone else is playing on last gen systems!

Biggest pikmin fan on VGchartz I won from a voting poll
I am not a nerd. I am enthusiast.  EN-THU-SI-AST!
Do Not Click here or else I will call on the eye of shinning justice on you. 

if popularity equal quality then justin bieber will be the best singer ever



kickazz113 said:
if population equal quality then justin bieber will be the best singer ever


Twilight is also obviously better than a ton of other books, like say Heart of Darkness (and I hate that book so much, but it's a pretty damn good book).



Tag(thx fkusumot) - "Yet again I completely fail to see your point..."

HD vs Wii, PC vs HD: http://www.vgchartz.com/forum/thread.php?id=93374

Why Regenerating Health is a crap game mechanic: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=3986420

gamrReview's broken review scores: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=4170835

 

Around the Network
kickazz113 said:

if popularity equal quality then justin bieber will be the best singer ever

Oh you read the whole post already? and came up with that? Here answer this question correctly and you win

If the people who spend their money on a product doesn't determine quality. Who does?



Tag:I'm not bias towards Nintendo. You just think that way (Admin note - it's "biased".  Not "bias")
(killeryoshis note - Who put that there ?)
Switch is 9th generation. Everyone else is playing on last gen systems!

Biggest pikmin fan on VGchartz I won from a voting poll
I am not a nerd. I am enthusiast.  EN-THU-SI-AST!
Do Not Click here or else I will call on the eye of shinning justice on you. 

Wii Sports sold a bazillion copies. Does that its an amazing game? NO. It only sold that much because it was forced on people who bought a Wii. It was bundled in.

P.S. not saying Wii Sports sucks. Just that there's tons of games out there of better quality that sold way less.



Wii Sports sold a bazillion copies. Does that its an amazing game? NO. It only sold that much because it was forced on people who bought a Wii. It was bundled in.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you want to look at it that way, that would make the Wii an amazing system.



VGKing said:
Wii Sports sold a bazillion copies. Does that its an amazing game? NO. It only sold that much because it was forced on people who bought a Wii. It was bundled in.

Contrary to yout belief, WiiSports is what sold the Wii.



nope thats a lie and an opinion. great assesment though.