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?

Bren Niel
Guest
Bren Niel

It is truly not the least bit problematic. I simply do not buy any game that hasn’t been reviewed and I do not Pre-order any game that has not had in depth previews.

As soon as I hear a game is not getting a review until release day I instantly think it is crap.

(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Guest
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

If I can wait 2 years for a GOTY edition to drop in prince before I buy a game, then I can wait for the reviews.

Marc Forrester
Guest
Marc Forrester

I need this list of “Wild Card” reviewers so I can roundly ignore everybody who’s not on it. This absolutely needs to be a fucking badge of honour.

Thanatos
Guest
Thanatos

I think one of the reasons they hate early copies so much is because almost every AAA game has some multiplayer component now, and they’d have to get the multiplayer stuff fully up and running before release for reviewers to try it (lest they dock points for broken multiplayer stuff). Sounds like a huge hassle when you can just let them start playing with everyone else. It’s not like anyone can hold you accountable.

Maniate
Guest
Maniate
The gaming press better figure out how to make gamers need them because publishers don’t anymore. I’m not sure publishers share your definition of wild card either, Jim. I’d send copies all day e’rry day to someone like Tom Chick or his apprentice, that Nick guy. I’d do it even if I wasn’t sure they’d give me a good score. The reason I’d do this is because that they take professional pride in the art of reviewing is obvious from just reading a few of their pieces. They’ve made it a point to learn how to do reviews correctly and… Read more »
CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith

I loved the part of the irony of EA denying you review copies because they didn’t trust you would give a high score to BF1, and people actually criticizes you for loving the freaking game. Love the metal.

Dallium
Guest
Dallium
So can some please explain to me why this is so bad? A lot of this video and the Podquistion (and the smattering of other coverage I’ve seen) was “Bethesda has done this thing which is self-evidently anti-consumer,” and I don’t find it self evident. It’s certainly not PRO consumer, but I don’t really see the problem. If reviews won’t be out until (lets say, for example) a week after release, why not just wait for the reviews? ESPECIALLY if you have limited resources to spend on gaming and must choose your games wisely. Won’t this practice just hurt preorder… Read more »
CaitSeith
Guest
CaitSeith
After No Man’s Sky it should be evident the dangers of the publishers/developers having total control of the game information prior to release. But no. People aren’t even thinking on being less eager to accept everything the companies declare as true. People may want the heads of those who burned them the last time, but won’t take any measures to not get fooled again. Publishers and developers already have tight control of the information, and pre-release reviews are one of the few ways people can have a second opinion. Why not to wait? Keep asking that question, maybe the people… Read more »
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Guest
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

They say a fool & his money are soon parted, & it’s usually the fools who preorder.

Will McGovern
Guest
Will McGovern

Critics should give any AAA game that doesn’t give them a review copy at least 2 weeks in advance a 1 out of 10. If they are going to play stupid games then they should pay the price in meta-critic rating.

Vincent Reed
Guest
Vincent Reed

Throwing a fit over pre-release review copies seems utterly trite to me, while we live in an age where day one patches that can drastically change the experience for better or worse are not only a possibility, but the expected norm.

eddieoctane
Guest
eddieoctane
It’s actually sad how people are so quick to judge someone else in the gaming world, so eager to bash someone through the anonymity the internet provides in order to inflate their own egos that they fail to see the chilling effect crap like this has on the quality of reviews, and in turn the downward spiral game quality takes. Sadly, the sheer number of trolls that seem to congregate around games prevents traditional media critics from taking it seriously as a medium. If a film studio withheld a copy from being screened by Roger Ebert, they’d be damning themselves.… Read more »
Jonathan Roth
Guest
Jonathan Roth

So, on the subject of Bethesda not providing review copies…

Anyone else found Skyrim Special Edition to be unplayably crashy on launch day?

I had 5 CTDs last night; two when trying a “Live Another Life” start, three with all the mods removed just trying to get out of the Helgen tutorial dungeon.

(edited to add: SO glad it was free for old users, I’d have been outraged had I paid for it. Good luck PS4/XBOX One players)

Bren Niel
Guest
Bren Niel

Why did you buy that 5 year old lousy game?

It wasn’t even a good game 5 years ago.

Just reply Witcher 3 or Fallout 4, sry.

Jonathan Roth
Guest
Jonathan Roth

I didn’t buy it, I got it free because I owned the original and DLC.

dyscode
Guest
dyscode

Once Jim said a sentence that stuck with me ever since (i knew that before but he put it just perfectly): “It’s ok to make money, but you don’t have to be an asshole in doing so”.

And what can I say, the situation has worsend since that not so long ago. That individuals & companies more and more try to fuck you over with an inferior product just for another additional buck.