Has Famitsu Changed Its Scoring Policy?


Posted August 6, 2009 - By Jake Gaskill

Has Famitsu Changed Its Scoring Policy?In case you hadn’t heard, Capcom’s Monster Hunter Tri has been selling like monster-cakes over in Japan. And yet, the more compelling news is that influential Japanese gaming publication Famitsu recently gave the game a perfect score (40/40), a fact that, as Wired points out, deserves some closer consideration.

It seems that over the past few years, Famitsu has become a bit generous with its once coveted 40/40 score, and the evidence appears to confirm it. Between 1998 and 2006, Famitsu handed out six perfect scores (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Soulcalibur, Vagrant Story, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Nintendogs, and Final Fantasy XII), and just in the past two years, it has issued five (Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, 428: Fusasareta Shibuya d, Dragon Quest IX, and Monster Hunter Tri).

Wired suggests that one of the reasons for the higher frequency of perfect scores could have a lot to do with the Japan’s sagging games industry, which has seen notable declines in software and hardware sales (aside from the rare spikes from titles such as Dragon Quest IX). Given Famitsu’s influence, and the troubling relationship between publishers and gaming publications in Japan (i.e. buying artificially high scores), the prevalence of perfect scores could be seen as a not-so-subtle way of pushing gamers to consider perhaps buying two or three games a year as opposed to buying just one.

It’s a rather fascinating topic, even without the whole “nature of review scores” angle. I don’t know nearly enough about Japanese gaming culture to pontificate on this issue just yet, so in the meantime, I’ll turn it over to you dear readers.

Famitsu perfect scores: Corrupt marketing tool, or result of more quality games being released more frequently?


Has Famitsu Changed Its Scoring Policy?


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