Well, it is 140 dollars for me and asking questions are a lot faster than purchasing a subscription for a month and trying game for yourself.
A good example of this is game which I'm currently playing: Steel Armor. When I started to play, I have to spend several hours just learning all the mechanics until I got comfortable in that game. Then I started noticing some things. In post action analysis tool I was seeing some really weird and seemingly impossible shell penetrations. GUI is abysmal and half of the time you are unsure what anything does. I could not fire my gun, gunner reported that gun's mechanism is damaged. What that was supposed to mean? Everyone is alive in tank, there is no visible penetration from the outside. Then commands are bizarre. There are many of them and none seem to do anything. My fast movement means that tanks stroll around 10 km/h on flat ground. Tanks AI has a nasty tendency of moving its tank rear to the front of the enemy and then stopping to return fire as begging to be putted out of their misery.
You see, there are a lot of tiny details which you can't notice easily from gameplay videos and playing game takes a lot of time. I watched Steel Armor gameplay, it looked solid. When I played myself, it starts fall apart with these tiny bits. I watched Steel Beasts footage and I looked at wiki. I would like to know what to expect before jumping in, so I asked what is most important for me at the moment. I have a list of games which I have to finish first and I do not want to just jump all over the place on a whim, it takes a lot of time and in the end you have achieved nothing, like completed a single game.
Plus it gives other people more information on a product if they need it. Forums have longevity and this thread will help everyone for decades to come.
I of course won't quote anything for research papers. It is more if information that is presented there is backed up by something solid or some things are just a speculated guess. Here is a perfect example with which now I have problems in Steel Armor. Chieftains there have loadout of 5 L23A1 shells marked as APFS (which should be marked as APFSDS). Game timescale takes in 80's. It is Iranian Chieftains delivered before Iranian revolution. So, the only shell which I could find was finished in 1985. Here are two problems with this shell. It has vastly different penetration data presented in publicly available sources. Second problem, did Iranians truly used those shells? I find it extremely hard to believe that British would sell its latest invention to new Iranian regime who turned hostile to western world in 80's. If I can't trust what simulator is saying me through its mechanics then it is poor learning aid.
Such games are also a great way to check some information which otherwise would be tricky to find. What a historic loadouts for T-72 tank in 80's? What ammunition types what tank carried? How those shells are named? When one shell type was replaced by another? Such information sometimes can be very hard to find for someone speaking just english, some information is locked up in books, other by language barrier. Such games often has a secondary value as melting pot of all the knowledge accumulated by different cultures. What I can't look for in Russian, a game might have already figured it out and presented to easy to investigate manner. In a same way how I adore War Thunder armor viewer, it helps me to get quick overview of vehicle armor and likely outcomes of being fired with anything. That is an extremely powerful tool, of course you won't put it in phD thesis, but it helps you immensely to learn and to substitute gaps in knowledge at least with something.
...and in the end, academia is highly overrated and full of themselves. A difference between paper being accepted into scientific journals and constantly rejected is completely arbitrary (that is a fact). Scientific paper is likely to pass peer reviews despite massive errors in its own research (that is a fact). Scientists are being considered innovative by using video games to simulate pandemics...see world of warcraft pandemic and how papers are being written on it as it somehow is valid representation of a real world.