Starfield review bombing and boycott campaign planned ahead of September 6 release

Starfield review bombing and boycott campaign planned ahead of September 6 release

Gamers can barely hold their excitement as we draw closer to the release of Bethesda‘s latest magnum opus, Starfield, Pegged as the most anticipated game of the year if not the current decade, Starfield, which comes out on September 6, carries with it the weighty expectations of gamers all over the world – and a chunk of the $7.5 billion Microsoft basically paid to make Starfield exclusive to the Xbox Series S/X. However, with all the hype surrounding the upcoming space opera, a dark cloud forms on the horizon – a coordinated review bomb campaign led by disgruntled fans. 

While we understand that it’s okay to feel “hurt” for not being able to play Starfield on the PlayStation 5, boycotting the game isn’t the way to go.

If you’ve been living in a remote corner of the universe with no news from the outside world lately, Bethesda promises Starfield as an epic space-faring adventure, boasting thousands of explorable planets, a myriad of side quests, and an engaging criminal system, among other features. Its immersive universe, where players can engage in housing markets or recruit companions, has had gamers worldwide on the edge of their seats since its announcement in 2018. With the game officially going gold and Xbox users getting the privilege of pre-downloading it, it’s clear that Starfield could very well be a Game of The Year contender.

Yet, the enormity of its appeal is a double-edged sword. A disturbing trend has been observed on platforms like Twitter, where certain gamers, seemingly driven by the console wars mentality, are planning a mass review bomb campaign in an attempt to curtail the release of Starfield.

Starting account 1 out of 1000
Goodbye Starfield score 😏

— Him Jong-un ( Playstation ambassador ) (@XbotTears360) August 15, 2023

One of the most glaring examples is the audacious claim by a user, XbotTears360, of preparing 1,000 accounts, blatantly aiming to tank the game’s Metacritic score. The responses to such posts show that this user isn’t alone in this vindictive venture.

The motivations behind these efforts seem multifaceted. A notable chunk of this animosity can be traced to the age-old rivalry between console platforms like PlayStation and Xbox. The exclusivity of Starfield to PC and Xbox has irked many PlayStation enthusiasts. Some claim that it’s “payback time” for negative criticisms previously thrown at PlayStation-exclusive titles. 

It’s unfortunate that we can say that such misguided campaigns are no longer uncommon, even in games that came out years ago. From Diablo 4 to Final Fantasy 16 and even Skullgirls, War Thunder, and Horizon Forbidden West, the efforts to undermine releases have created a dangerous trend. They damage the credibility of user reviews, which is crucial for many potential buyers. It’s a malicious form of online reviews, detracting from the genuine criticism and overshadowing the game’s actual merits or flaws. 

Starfield is the biggest exclusive the Xbox platform has ever had in a long time.

This isn’t to say review bombing isn’t always unwarranted, because, truth be told, some games are deserving of criticism – Overwatch 2 and Redfall stand out as examples. But, more often than not, these do more harm than good. 

Despite the review bombing concerns, it’s essential to highlight the game’s potential impact. The prolonged anticipation and build-up have seen Starfield trend on platforms like Steam, hinting at its blockbuster potential. The conversations should ideally be about its expansive universe, intricate gameplay mechanics, or the narrative depth it offers as well as all the stuff that fans have created based on their love for the game, from the custom-themed PC to the compendium and a detailed but speculative skill tree, among others.

Now, more than ever, it’s becoming imperative to discern between genuine criticism and vindictive backlash. While the concerned platforms like Metacritic have been relatively passive in addressing this issue, the gaming community needs to rally against such disruptive behaviors, prioritizing constructive feedback over destructive trolling.

It’s impossible to overstate just how important it is that Starfield succeeds.

As Starfield nears its launch, one can only hope that its actual gameplay, narrative, and innovations overshadow the looming review bomb threat. It serves as a stark reminder that in the vast universe of gaming, there will always be black holes of negativity. Still, the brilliance of genuine starry experiences can, and should, outshine them.

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