Chaz Marler of Pair Of Dice Paradise here, and as a self-proclaimed online board game broadcasting personality, I enjoy spending my spare time playing board games, talking about them, watching and reading industry news and reviews, and reading the comments posted by people in response to various video reviews. And yet, I still find time to keep my kitchen floors spotless!
As I’ve started to absorb more online board game related content as entertainment, I’ve noticed myself frequently being drawn towards reviews of games with poor ratings. For me, negative reviews are more of a morbid fascination. But my curiosity towards these televised trainwrecks got me wondering if negative reviews generally garner more attention than positive ones, and why.
And so, I set up an experiment. Three months ago, I created a series of six videos, all similar in length, content, title, and even thumbnail image. The difference being that three of the videos were positive reviews, and the other three were negative ones.
The goal was to find out if the negative set of videos lured more views, thumbs up and feedback than the positive ones.
Now, keep in mind that, in the world of board game broadcasting, I’m just a small, insignificant nobody with impeccable kitchen floors. So, the data set I collected is pretty small. But, hopefully it follows trends similar to what we’d see across the board.
So, how’d these two sets of videos compare? Well, three months after being posted on YouTube, the negative videos had generated a combined 2,547 views, 63 thumbs up and 10 comments. In comparison, the positive videos had a combined 2,985 views, 75 thumbs up and 17 comments. Contrary to my expectations, the YouTube audience actually gravitated towards the positive reviews.
But YouTube is a broad audience. What happened when those same videos were posted on BoardGameGeek.com, a microcosm of game lovers who are passionate about the hobby? By comparison, on BGG.com, the negative reviews received a combined 20 thumbs and 15 comments, while the positive ones received 27 thumbs, but ZERO comments.
Does this mean that an audience that’s more focused on the hobby is more likely to become preoccupied with negative comments about it, either out of morbid curiosity or in order to defend it? And therefore, could a broader audience, like YouTube, actually a healthier environment for discussion? Personally, I don’t know. But, it would be interesting to compare YouTube comments on this subject with BoardGameGeek comments, to see if there is indeed a difference in opinion and approach between the comparatively broad and niche audiences.