Technology

Quirks Aside, Tech Reviews are still Essential

For all its complexities, marketing, advertising, and other types of promotion can be boiled down to some very simple elements. Technology businesses want people to like their products, tell their friends about their products, and, hopefully, come back for even more products somewhere down the line. This delicate dance of customer acquisition and retention is something pro marketers known all the steps to.

Of course, there’s always a spanner in the works. Customers rarely do what they are expected to and even the happiest buyer in the world will often fail to show their appreciation beyond parting with their pocket money. It might sound like an odd thing to ask of somebody, for them to stick around after purchase, but this after-market relationship is important in a sea of competition.

Reviews as a Commodity

Reviews, social media posts, and word-of-mouth marketing all combine to place tech businesses on a pedestal, which has a knack for attracting even more consumers. Just look at Apple, which, under the guidance of Steve Jobs, could do no wrong. In the tech world, as in manufacturers and the places that sell those created goods, reviews can be especially important, as companies without the conventional high street presence can seem especially faceless. How many people buy a phone with no reviews or, worse, with negative ones?

Inevitably, reviewing has become an industry of its own. In the software world, the likes of Metacritic and Trustpilot have served to commoditize reviews to such an extent that they can be involved in financial transactions. The now-infamous fight between video game publisher Bethesda and Obsidian, the developer of Fallout: New Vegas started over a single meta-point and cost the latter a fortune in bonuses.

Unfortunately, in tech, hardware reviews and opinions don’t always seem to make a lot of difference. It’ll come as no surprise to note that market hogs like Samsung and Apple can appear to act with impunity. The reviews regarding Apple’s removal of the headphone jack were loud and numerous but, rather than cave to consumer pressure and re-introduce what many might consider an essential port, Apple removed the charging cable instead. Amusing, maybe, but it suggests that Apple’s designers were wearing those missing headphones when listening to customers’ complaints.

Reviews work best when they’re directing customer attention. The website time2play provides a listing of the best legal online casino sites complete with a user rating (out of five), a custom Playscore, and an appraisal from experts. The brands that rise to the top, in this case, include Golden Nugget, Sugar House, and BetMGM. Many of these sites offer various deals and bonuses, in an attempt to bring in potential players. Notably, customers and experts don’t always agree, but sites like this will help guide players to find the most appropriate casinos for them, detailing what’s on offer and what can be claimed. Ultimately, this gives the reader the tools to decide what site is best for them.

Collective Experiences

Unfortunately, that latter point has sometimes eroded confidence in tech and software reviews, especially in the video game niche. Irate consumers will sometimes flood store pages with negative comments to complain about issues ranging from the mundane to the critical, such as the low number of PlayStation 5 consoles at launch. Of course, this makes expert reviews even more valuable. This quirk of the industry has become the focus of academic research in recent years.

In a strange twist, the same product delivered in a different way, such as on two different gaming systems, can produce a dramatically different reaction from consumers. The CD Projekt Red game Cyberpunk 2077 is a perfect example of this, with a meta-critic score of 86/7.1 (expert/player) on PC and a comparatively dire 57/3.6 on PlayStation 4. The problem here was a lack of quality on one platform over the other.

Overall, reviews are essential but they do require a patient ear from the developer or manufacturer. If nothing else, notes on customers’ collective experiences can steer newcomers away from faulty hardware or unscrupulous traders. However, even experts sometimes need a guiding hand, whether that’s to a new video game in a saturated genre or away from a new phone that seems a little too good to be true.

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