2) That has to be part of the equation. Maybe not 100%, but it has to be part of the mission of a review, to inform people that are considering purchasing the game. A lot of people, still look game reviews, when they want to know if something is good enough to buy. A lot of us are so obsessed with games (we are familiar with all the game information resources), that we forget how "normal people" approach finding a game worth buying. Remember a lot of mothers still ask their local Gamestop clerk "my son is 12, what should I get"?
5) See answer #2. Not everyone pays attention to blogs and podcasts.
6) I think the question “are they pressured to change scores” is the wrong question. I believe the climate that influences the reviewer, applies its pressure, before there is any score to change. Its at E3 when everyone falls in love with a tech demo, and buzz is generated. Thats when things start to take shape. Its the PR team working hard a year before the game comes out.
I think most games live and die, before they ever reach store shelves, even before game sites receive their review copies.
Most of the time, I think reviewers just go with the flow. What ever momentum the publisher has managed to build before launch. Reviewers tend to just roll with it, and make it "official" by writing a review to match the buzz. Possibly so they can ride the coat tails of a successful game... I dont know.
7) Absolutely! See the whole thread
we have going on the game review scores.