The Jimquisition: On Publishers Controlling Game Reviews

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As Bethesda proudly announces it will no longer provide review copies until the day before a game launches, The Jimquisition decides to deliver some hefty side-eyeing.

This news came just as your very own Jim Sterling found out EA considers him a “wild card” who isn’t to be trusted with high profile games like Battlefield 1.

Game publishers have been steadily manipulating the review process for years, and when you consider how shitty the “AAA” game world’s become… is it any bloody wonder?

Mr. Tastee
Guest
Mr. Tastee

Forgot to mention…Skeleton Warriors! Do do do do do do do do do do Skeleton Warriors! Fuck that will be in my head for awhile. Thanks Jim.

Mr. Tastee
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Mr. Tastee
There have always been defenders of this sort of scummy behavior and it all comes back to money. People think that if someone is rich they must be a genius or if a product makes money than its automatically good. The truth is that success and quality are not one in the same. We can see the ugly side of capitalism here where greed runs rampant. The scummy practices of a pre-order culture of hype as well as dishonest advertising and controlling the message tends to make money if not friends. Money is their language and until that stops flowing… Read more »
Appretaur
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Appretaur

So does Bethesda using Doom as a litmus test and justification for a newfound model of preventing reviewers from giving early, potentially disadvantageous reviews of its future games disqualify Doom from your Game of the Year accolades now?

Unnoticing Senpai
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Unnoticing Senpai

I really hope it doesn’t, because Doom is my favorite surprise of 2016 and continues to be so with every update. Even the part of it that disappointed me most, the SnapMap, has become a ludicrously fun and compelling experience to me. And we’ve still to see microtransactions!

diamond
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diamond

It won’t, Jim has been very clear that he’ll only disqualify a game he loves from a JQ award if it has microtransactions in it.

grimmmm
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grimmmm

I always wait for reviews. I could afford to buy more games than I currently do but hardly find the time to play all of them. Lifes too short for shit games!!
…….pulleys and mirrors 🙂

Trofimos Psyxiatreiou
Guest

Jim, i know that you won’t publically admit this, but come on, you don’t really believe those people who say that the way you are treated is “good” are honest gamers, right? No one in their right mind, not even a 5 year old, would say that. It is obvious that it is NOT in our best interest.

No, unless those people are just trolling you for laughs, they are “paid trolls” or astroturfers. Every company has some of them.

Nemrex
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Nemrex

Yeeeah, I highly doubt publishers are that petty as to astroturf an independent game critic (Save for like, Digital Homicide). Even Konami isn’t that low as to pay people to troll. Just never doubt the human capacity for blind loyalty to their product providers. A prime example of this being the “Console Wars” between those who chose the 360 and the PS3.

Oh the flame wars that engulfed those forums still cinder to this day.

Trofimos Psyxiatreiou
Guest
There is no “pettiness” when there are money to be made brah. You are far too naive, i suppose you are too young to really know how the world works. every big company does this. Video games, even more than other products, sell based on the promise of entertainment, because you can’t be sure you will be entertained and the product is going to worth the money, until you have already experienced it. The only way to influence your decision to buy, is by selling you on that promise. PR and influencers pay an extremely vital role for their income… Read more »
MJC
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MJC

Too naive? Nah. You’re far too paranoid, “brah”. There’s no money to be made in shitposting about being happy Jim doesn’t get review copies from certain publishers. What product is being sold by doing that? None. So publishers aren’t going to pay people to do that. They’ll get people to astroturf about their latest game release, because that can sell copies of the game, but they gain nothing, sell nothing, by having people come to this site and post that they’re glad EA isn’t giving Jim review copies.

Stormbringer
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That faceplanting game is warped.

Joey Clinton
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Joey Clinton
Okay, this may sound crazy, but hear me out. While I do agree that publishers are tools, I personally think that if every publisher stopped giving out review copies, the negative impact would be minimal. Think about it. The consumers who would have their purchasing decision impacted by a lack of review copies would be the consumers who were patient enough to avoid preordering the game, but not so patient that they couldn’t wait a week after launch to read some reviews. I think that this particular type of consumer is incredibly rare, as most people I know of will… Read more »
Stormbringer
Guest

It would be rational to think people only have time to read one review. Who goes around reading multiple reviews? (Especially when videogame outlets write very long, wonky reviews compared to normal people media.) But nowadays it’s probably all about the buzz surrounding the event … you know, that thing what most of us sleep through and hear about a week later.

(And so, in that world, withholding review copies is delaying potential purchases until after the communal release date.)

MJC
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MJC

You’re wrong. It negatively impacts everyone. The people who wait for reviews are going to find that there are less high quality reviews to read as outlets rush to be the first to have a review up. They can no longer take their time to play as much of the game as possible and write a good review safe in the knowledge that the embargo date means they won’t be left behind, they have to rush through the game and write it up as quickly as possible to try and be first for those clicks.

Ghost
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Ghost

The only time I ever pre ordered was DA Inquisition.

I learned my lesson.

now I always wait at least a few months after the game has come out, only after
going to sites like this, TB’s channel and Laura K. Even then I will still wait
for a sale in order to save money.

Warwick Stubbs
Guest

My game for that lesson was No Man’s Sky. Count myself lucky I got a full refund. Never again though.

Ghost
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Ghost

Well
I am fortunate that despite the issues I have with DA 3 I still enjoyed it. I
am glad that you got your money back.

circularlogic88
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circularlogic88

Too Human was mine. Never again have I blindly preordered.

diamond
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diamond

I thought that game was decent, though I got it for 5 bucks used on Amazon.

circularlogic88
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circularlogic88

Stings a bit more after paying at full retail price and learning about how massive a pretentious tool Denis Dyack is.

diamond
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diamond

I got a full refund from Metroid Prime Federation Force, holy fuck was that game bad.

Kev' Bryant
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Kev' Bryant
I’ve pre-ordered a handful of games over the 25 years. The last one was X-Men: Destiny. I knew what I was getting and I loved it (despite knowing it really isn’t any good). Since I knew what it was and was going to buy it anyway, I thought why not? And as an added incentive, pre-orders got exclusive Havoc uniform and X-genes. Brilliant, I thought! Turns out the code didn’t work – it took about two days for customer services to get back to me and let me know they had patched the game and that the pre-order codes now… Read more »
Captiosus
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Captiosus
The most salient point is around the 9 minute mark: Just stop preordering. Corporations are doing shit like this to keep people buying into products based on PR hype, misleading/unrepresentative illustrations of game play or game mechanics, and/or half-baked “preorder bonuses” which are just content cut for the sake of grabbing your cash before the consumer has any clue what they’re actually buying. If consumers stopped preordering this nonsense might change. Or it might force some changes as to how they market games. (By the same token, stop buying season passes which is just preordering on the promise of future… Read more »
ENAY
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ENAY

The Jiminator! Jimigment Day

… I’m so sorry for writing this.

kimiyoribaka
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kimiyoribaka

I think it says something very sad about society if a company making decisions that screw over the critics or the consumers could be considered good from any standpoint. Business is about making money, sure, but are the short term gains of making sleezy decisions really worth the long term losses when people find out? If so, then the customer base needs better standards.

Stormbringer
Guest

People with high standards don’t buy $60 games 🙂

Kyle Pierce
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Kyle Pierce

Two Jimquisitions two days in a row?

You spoil us, sir!

SilentPony
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SilentPony

Deja Vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when Jim changes something.

Wolfie
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Wolfie

No no. Jim is perfect cause, y’know, he’s God’s gift, thank God for Jim.

FUCKING CHIP THOUGH GOD DAMN IT!

Arella Jardin
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Arella Jardin
Uh, I think you might have goofed there again. Skyrim Special Edition has been in many reviewers’ and YouTubers’ hands for well over a week, and they even lifted the embargo on gameplay footage several days ago. Most of the copies did go out to dedicated Bethesda fan channels, but they’ve been showing off huge chunks of the game well over week from launch this Friday. Admittedly, Skyrim is a 5 year old game, so even with a facelift, there’s not much reason for them to hide anything. But saying they plan to send out codes only a day before… Read more »
Xyra
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Xyra

On the other hand, Doom 2016 was in barely anyone’s hands before release, aside from the multiplayer beta that almost convinced everyone that the main campaign was going to suck. It turned out to not be the case, but a lot of people were scared the game would be shit without any review hype going around.

Rachel McVeigh
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Rachel McVeigh

From Bethesda’s own site

“With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release.”

They have provided codes to preselected streamers to stream or show off certain aspects of the game, but it doesn’t look as though they have sent any to reviewers.

A streamer showing off a piece of the game is very different to a proper review.

Drake Warnock
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Drake Warnock

This kind of crap and my enormous backlog are the reasons I don’t play games until they’ve been out for a long time.

Now excuse me while I go and finish playing Final Fantasy 4.

SmaMan
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SmaMan

Retro Gaming: Where none of this shit matters.

Unnoticing Senpai
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Unnoticing Senpai

I used to day that about indies, but then that seemed to change.

… Oh, shit, you don’t think they’ll retroactively update older games to have microtransactions, do you?!

SmaMan
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SmaMan

Well, we’re entering an age where retro consoles like the (freakin’ amazing) AVS are retroactively adding in online scoreboards for NES games. It pains me to think that DLC and microtransactions could be done the same way.

diamond
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diamond

Retro gaming had plenty of this shit too, to quote Larry Bundy Jr(AKA Guru Larry) “gaming has always been shit”

Back in the 80s and 90s, magazines would draw fake screenshots of video games in order to sell them, and paid off reviews were extremely common.

SmaMan
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SmaMan

Of course they did this stuff when today’s retro wasn’t retro. But not today.

Retro gaming is a great escape from today’s pre-order, dlc, day-one patch, review payoff bullshit. The only ones “cooking the books” in this arena, so to speak, are those seedy guys in the mall trying to sell you a 72000-in-one Famiclone console.

EDIT: Oh, and GameStop. Fuck them and their not checking a copy of Chrono Trigger to see that it’s actually a copy of Madden ’95 bullshit.

Kev' Bryant
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Kev' Bryant

I wish those guys were in a Mall near me! I’d love to mess around on a Famiclone!

diamond
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diamond

Eh I like Gamestop, they gave me a full refund for that piece of shit known as Federation Force.

A Roast Beef Sandwich
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A Roast Beef Sandwich

Guess who has two thumbs and just cancelled ‘is Dishonored II preorder? That’s right, it’s this guy

Tommy Tiddler
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Tommy Tiddler

You’d think rallying against this kind of thing would be an A1 priority for the 3rd party individuals, but they seem to have prioritized saving Boob Sliders, Noncebait Steam Shovelware and making sure not one single RPG NPC in a game with hundreds make any kind of pro LGBT statements.

Or do they only concentrate on Indie Devs who give their games away for free, i lose track

Chris
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Chris

I wonder if that whiny dipshit saying “this is what jim deserves for being critical of games I liked like FFxiii!” will pop his head into this page

diamond
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diamond

Or the guy who still gives Jim shit over his Sonic Colors review.

Nemrex
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Nemrex

I remember that guy. He even made some veiled, passive threat to Jim on his ask fm page that he should be thankful he only “took down” his Sonic Colors review, and not one like BioShock Infinite, since Jim had the audacity for giving it a Sterling review.

One of the more interesting and funny crazies that Jim as experienced in his repertoire of obsessive haters.

diamond
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diamond

Yeah, I blame assholes like him for Jim closing down his Ask FM page.

Nemrex
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Nemrex

Jim did block him, since he kept incessantly peppering him with questions about the reviews and how he writes them.

And fuck the people who harassed Jim on ask fm. Scum of the Earth, I tells yah.

Camfry
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Camfry

We haven’t always seen eye to eye in these here comments sections, but yeah… I miss Jim’s AskFM… douchers everywhere…

Gareth
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Gareth

That would suggest they had some level of awareness of who Jim was before commenting.

TheCreativeWelshman
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TheCreativeWelshman

Well I didn’t hate FFXIII but I could understand why people didn’t like it, but hey at least we got part 2 right guys? At least that should have been the next gen FF game we should have had.

Chris
Guest
Chris

its less that I think ffxiii is crap (i enjoyed what I played of it) but this wanker was calling jim out of line and trying to be controversial by giving it low score.. but like… saying ffxiii is a bad game isn’t some freak outlier opinion. Lots of people don’t like it so even though his argument about jim deserving punishment was moronic enough, made even worse but choosing ffxiii of all games as an example of an outlandish opinion.

Gareth
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Gareth
Actually it wasn’t the review that but the accusation that Jim gave it a low score and then intentionally created drama to draw reference to said review which was released in 2009 and without any specific references. That Jim routinely critically mauls games which are otherwise critically received by all other outlets and only does so for the attention… on a website which is independently funded by his viewer base. On a website where of the most recent EA reviews being Battlefield One, Battlefront, Plants Vs Zombies, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and Unravel. The latter two being the only two which… Read more »
Gamegodtre
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Gamegodtre

Vanquish
Nvr forget, nvr forgive

Martijn Fiering
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Martijn Fiering

Third time’s a charm!

diamond
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diamond

I’ve got no plans to buy Skyrim or Dishonored 2 and this news makes me glad I have no interest in them.

Cameron Ward
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Cameron Ward

once again, it’s pathetic that they are getting more paranoid about critical reception. bleh, this is why i take my time with some games. I rather review it when I am ready to unless i need to go under a deadline.

maybe if they made good products, we would be more faithful in the industry…this year has felt very…2014….not a great year for gaming…

Nemrex
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Nemrex
Nemrex
Guest
Nemrex
Spindrift Prime
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Spindrift Prime

The video, gone! I blame mischievous boglins…

mth
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mth

The video is removed as well, so I guess Jim decided to retract this episode.

Jarin
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Jarin

Back up now

Veya
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Veya

He was having issues with the audio not syncing up, it’s all good now.

LatePocketwatch
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LatePocketwatch

I noticed this didn’t show up on the main page. My point of access was the RSS feed, should that help you troubleshoot.

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