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Action role-playing game Elden Ring was the talk of the gaming community, including here at opptrends.com, well before it was released for PlayStation and Xbox on February 25, 2022. In fact, the game, made in collaboration with fantasy author George R.R. Martin, creator of the epic A Song of Ice and Fire series, and directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, won Most Anticipated Game of the Year for two consecutive years at the annual Game Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, United States.

Elden Ring’s development lasted nearly six years, with work beginning shortly after the release of The Ringed City – a Dark Souls DLC in 2017.

Yet, there was still very much the possibility that after the dark fantasy action RPG was released, the hype surrounding Elden Ring would prove to be just that: hype. No one knew if the game was actually going to be good, despite the enthralling trailer that dropped at the 2021 Game Awards. It turns out it is good — and more people are flocking to it due to how well it has been received by gaming critics, something that, over the years, has become progressively more difficult to do.

Elden Ring: A Commercial Hit

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While still in the early days of its release, Elden Ring, which has an open-world design and is played in the third person, has already received critical acclaim. Much of this praise comes from the game having more customization, as players can unlock new skills just by exploring the map. Combat during Elden Ring also relies heavily on character-building elements, and the game is thought to have many similarities to video games like Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Miyazaki also considers the game to be a natural progression and evolutions of the Dark Souls series and drew inspiration from 2005’s Shadow of Colossus and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild when creating the game.

Elden Ring is also one of this year’s highest-reviewed games. On review aggregator metacritic.com, Elden Ring has received an average score of 97% across 56 critics. Reviews have called the RPG an awe-inspiring achievement and a masterpiece of open-world design. Glowing words like these are likely part of the reason why Elden Ring drew almost 900,000 viewers on gaming platform Twitch within 24 hours of its release. These figures made the game the third-largest debut on Twitch of all time, an impressive feat for the game.

The Influence of Critics and Reviews

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Now, while it is true that Elden Ring offers a unique and engaging open-world gameplay yet to be found in the gaming community, perhaps the game’s quick rise in popularity has more to do with the bandwagon effect in psychology. For those who do not know, according to effectiviology.com, the bandwagon effect describes a cognitive bias that causes individuals to act or think in a certain way if they believe others are.

In other words, if Metacritic is telling us Elden Ring is a masterpiece, then we are probably going to try it and think similarly. Of course, that is not the case all the time and with every game, movie, television show, or book. However, it can certain help entertainment go from good to legendary when critics speak highly of it, which is a word already being thrown around to describe Elden Ring, developed by FromSoftware.

Reviews Are Important in All Forms of Entertainment

The truth is that we see all the time in several forms of entertainment just how critical reviews are for how entertainment is judged and how they can influence people’s decision-making. It’s no secret that most people value the opinions of others. While this is true for experts, most people place the opinions of their peers on an even higher pedestal. One example is the social cataloging website goodreads.com, which allows users to search its database of books and reviews to learn more about what people are saying about new and trending books. The platform has been so successful that in 2019, Goodreads had around 90 million members. In part, this is because the website also lets individuals narrow their search of reviews by choosing the genre of book they want.

Many other review sites do something similar by dividing reviews up by specific factors. For instance, the casino review site uscasinos.com informs potential gamers of the best-rated online casinos available while also analyzing various factors such as safety and security, bonuses and promotions, and software providers. Typically, it is these recommended casinos that see an influx of users. Why? Because players go straight from the review website to the casino. That is similar to going from Goodreads to the book store and Metacritic to Elden Ring.

There is no going around it: people care what others say. Sometimes, this is harmful, especially when it comes to social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. The influencer and power these platforms have can be a double-edged sword with the perceived value of a piece being decided by the court of public opinion. However, when it comes to other forms of entertainment like books, movies, and games, reading reviews and listening to critics has proven to be a very profitable avenue for game developers, authors, and movie producers.

Yet, are we surprised? We shouldn’t be, considering word-of-mouth marketing has always been one of the best ways for a company to acquire new consumers, while, as we covered on opptrends.com, digital marketing can be costly. While digital marketing is a necessity in today’s world, word of mouth is often better than spending thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns that may or may not be well received. The human factor of reviews should never be underestimated, as well as the level of trust this can create as opposed to a marketing campaign. As long as what people are saying is positive, this is going to go a long way in terms of popularity and profit as has been seen over and over again, in many industries but especially in the world of entertainment.