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GRE Argument Essay: The Following Appeared In An Editorial In A Business Magazine.- With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: ‘The following appeared in an editorial in a business magazine. "Although the sales of Whirlwind video games have declined over the past two years, a recent survey of video-game players suggests that this sales trend is about to be reversed. The survey asked video-game players what features they thought were most important in a video game. According to the survey, players prefer games that provide lifelike graphics, which require the most up-to-date computers. Whirlwind has just introduced several such games with an extensive advertising campaign directed at people ten to twenty-five years old, the age-group most likely to play video games. It follows, then, that the sales of Whirlwind video games are likely to increase dramatically in the next few months." Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.’
First of all, the author implies that the targeted players like lifelike graphics since the survey shows that players prefer games that provide lifelike graphics. This claim only makes sense on the basis of the assumption that the survey is representative, and reflects the preference of the targeted players. However, if the assumption is unwarranted, if the sample population of the survey is very small and biased, or most participants are beyond the ten to twenty-five years old age range, then, the survey could not accurately predict the preference of the targeted players, and the argument would not be convincing.
Moreover, even if the result of the survey is reliable, the author mentions that the sales of Whirlwind video games will increase dramatically, since Whirlwind has introduced several games that satisfy players’ preferences. Thus, the author necessarily assumes that the decline in the sales in the past two years is solely due to that fact that Whirlwind failed to provide the specific feature which most video-game players like. However, it is possible that players do not like Whirlwind’s games because their games are too expensive, or it is also possible that their games are too easy even for ten-year old players. If the assumption is proved unwarranted, and players do not like Whirlwind video games for some other reasons, then, even if Whirlwind video games have features players like, players still might not choose Whirlwind video games, and the claims would be weakened.
In addition, the author claims that the sales of video games will increase dramatically in the next few months, since Whirlwind has invested extensive advertising campaigns. Thus, the author necessarily assumes that new games and advertising campaigns can help achieve their desired sales. However, if the assumption is unwarranted, and there are many similar games available on the market with lower prices, then, players might not choose Whirlwind’s games, the sales would not increase dramatically, and the argument would be weakened.
To sum up, in order evaluate the author’s prediction, we need to ensure the following assumptions: the survey reflects the prefence of the targeted player group, the lifelike graphic feature is the major consideration for players when they purchase Whirlwind’s games, and the players will immediately buy their games after Whirlwind made the changes.
Logically, the first sentence of the second paragraph makes no more sense than the following: Even if the survey is reliable, the author mentions that he likes pizza. The following sentence, however, would make sense: "Even if the survey is reliable, the argument may still be false." If you always use the word "still," as I've done in this example, it should force you to complete the "even if" construction correctly.
In the same paragraph, you claim rightly that the argument assumes that the decline in sales of video games is due solely to their lacking the specific feature identified as a preference for gamers by the survey. That's a very general version of the assumption made by the argument. The good thing about general versions of assumptions like that is that they quickly cover a lot of possibilities. Even so, here, I would recommend considering specific subsets of this general assumption. You note only that the argument implies that gamers do not also have other preferences (cost, difficulty) that inform their choice of games. The argument also assumes that no external factors have impacted the sale of video games (e.g., economic factors).
Your final argument is also reasonable, although I think you don't identify the key assumption very precisely. The editorial does not so much assume that "new games and advertising campaigns can help achieve their desired sales" as it argues that the new games and advertising campaigns will likely achieve those sales, but certainly some kind of assumption seems to be at root of the editorial’s optimism about the role of the advertising campaign in the company’s future. Perhaps it would be reasonable to say that the editorial assumes the advertising campaign will effectively communicate the desirability of the new games.
These are minor quibbles, obviously. The essay as a whole is pretty good.
Note that I've changed "sorely" to "solely," the latter being the correct spelling.