Bethesda's New Review Policy is Bad for Reviewers and Consumers Alike

Bethesda's New Review Policy is Bad for Reviewers and Consumers Alike

Bethesda has announced that it will send out review copies for all its games one day before launch for the foreseeable future, and that's a bad thing.

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Let's Players are kind of rendering reviewers obsolete from a business perspective. When you can pay a bunch of youtubers to put out videos to millions of people of them having fun and enjoying the game, why if your Bethesda, Ubisoft, EA or any AAA studio would you sned out copies to people who might create any kind of negative buzz? When you can pay Rooster Teeth, Noah J456, Game Grumps etc and have the game at it's best be seen by millions at it's best.

It doesn't surprise me that the most egregious examples of review embargoing come from the publishers with the worst track records when it comes to bugs (e.g. Bethesda, Ubisoft). Personally though, I haven't bought a game at launch since... Binding of Isaac: Rebirth I think (with that purchase being based on the original game) so 'late' reviews are never really going to be a problem for me.

MatParker116:
Let's Players are kind of rendering reviewers obsolete from a business perspective. When you can pay a bunch of youtubers to put out videos to millions of people of them having fun and enjoying the game, why if your Bethesda, Ubisoft, EA or any AAA studio would you sned out copies to people who might create any kind of negative buzz? When you can pay Rooster Teeth, Noah J456, Game Grumps etc and have the game at it's best be seen by millions at it's best.

Congrats on post 1234 :)

I think there's a bunch of reasons let's players don't/won't render reviewers obsolete. Let's players aren't really reliable in terms of how (or when) they portray a game. They don't have any professional obligation to judge a game based on its merits or to be thorough in their critique. A reviewer would never, say, skip a tutorial and then complain about missing a core game mechanic. Personally, although a let's player might pique my interest for a game I wouldn't go out and buy it without a bit more research. Even GTA5 would be a let-down based on lets plays because you'd be going in with no idea about the load times since nearly every lets play edits that out.

Personally i think its fucking hilarious that one of the higher echelon buisness trogdolytes at Bethesda seems convinced that there might be a correlation between a ciritcal/commercial success and not sending review copies until a day before launch.

Instead of id Software doing a really fucking good job on what most people would be buying Doom for.

Sadly its going to be doomed to repeat when Dishonored 2 comes out in a couple of weeks time and i dont really doubt at this point that Arkane has produced anything other than potential GotY material.

Also for further listening, Jim Sterling;

I refuse to preorder on principle. Bethesda release buggy messes that I never buy upon release. I can only see late review copies as showing contempt for the consumer.

"been burned by bad games by Bethesda"
You almost reached alliteration heaven!

I had honestly looked forwards to spending a bit of time in Dishonored 2, but far less inclined to buy it now, at all.
On the other hand, I don't really trust Escapist reviews that much. Your Fallout 4 review was of a casual nature, for a hame that people will invest literally hundreds of hours in, and has a huge old fanbase perspective to consider as well. In other words, it wasn't very apt.

Game journalism still has a long way to go.

ffronw:
make no mistake, this is a bad thing for both the media, and the gamers it serves.

Yeah, in theory... if the media really "served" the gamers, instead of relentlessly vilifying them to cover up their institutional cronyism and attempting to police the content of the entertainment they enjoy for the purpose of boasting their "Over 9000!" levels of newly politicized correctness. Unfortunately, the majority of the "games media" picked the latter approach, the masterminds that they are, "serving gamers" only as in "up as scapegoats" for various social ills both real and imagined to the ignorant mainstream. The middle men made themselves irrelevant at best, and actively antagonistic to games and gamers in many cases. Reap what you sow, etc.

Now, all due respect to The Escapist from extricating itself from that spiral of self-defeating malice. That's why I'm an actual paid-up member of the community, and would certainly prefer it if you got your advance copies of games at the earliest opportunity. But sadly, publishers make sweeping policies based on the behaviour of the vocal majority of your colleagues. They have to, since singling out the decent exceptions would have all the tragic hacks at competing outlets howling about favoritism.

Meanwhile, I'll still be interested in reading your views on interesting games even after the release minute has passed. So if you could keep 'em coming, and preferably even post more of them, that would be cool. And I wholly agree that pre-ordering is a bad idea, especially in the post-scarcity digital marketplace.

bjj hero:
I refuse to preorder on principle. Bethesda release buggy messes that I never buy upon release. I can only see late review copies as showing contempt for the consumer.

The weird thing with that is it only seems to afflict the Scrolls/Fallout team. All their substudios seem able to release perfectly functional games (Doom, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, ESO (different studio)). Their goofy engine they've been dragging along is hypothetically to blame, along with the fact that they seem to have more "visionaries" on their titles then technical talents (either in raw technical skills or gameplay polish).

Although a similar phenomenon exists with Ubisoft. Assassin's Creed consistently comes out buggy, but Far Cry and all their pseudo-indie/budget titles seem to not be affected at all.

Though nothing will manage to oust WWE (currently by 2K) games for somehow being ridiculous bug filled messes. While basically recycling the game yearly and barely having altered it in 10 years or more, in actuality having lost some functionality (they used to have 8 man matches, but migrated down to 6 somehow when jumping to the Ps3/360 generation)

Seth Carter:

bjj hero:
I refuse to preorder on principle. Bethesda release buggy messes that I never buy upon release. I can only see late review copies as showing contempt for the consumer.

The weird thing with that is it only seems to afflict the Scrolls/Fallout team. All their substudios seem able to release perfectly functional games (Doom, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, ESO (different studio)). Their goofy engine they've been dragging along is hypothetically to blame, along with the fact that they seem to have more "visionaries" on their titles then technical talents (either in raw technical skills or gameplay polish).

Although a similar phenomenon exists with Ubisoft. Assassin's Creed consistently comes out buggy, but Far Cry and all their pseudo-indie/budget titles seem to not be affected at all.

Though nothing will manage to oust WWE (currently by 2K) games for somehow being ridiculous bug filled messes. While basically recycling the game yearly and barely having altered it in 10 years or more, in actuality having lost some functionality (they used to have 8 man matches, but migrated down to 6 somehow when jumping to the Ps3/360 generation)

In all fairness, Dishonoured was the first Beth game Id bought in sometime. Not at release and it was a fun romp, although it had some of my beth gripes (mute protagonist) and others no one else would have any interest in but drove me mad.

I received the wwe16 game free from xbox live. I tried to like it but struggled. The combat felt stilted and distant with oddly placed qte battles. It was a shame as i loved the create a wrestler bit and the following stonecold videos.

MatParker116:
Let's Players are kind of rendering reviewers obsolete from a business perspective. When you can pay a bunch of youtubers to put out videos to millions of people of them having fun and enjoying the game, why if your Bethesda, Ubisoft, EA or any AAA studio would you sned out copies to people who might create any kind of negative buzz? When you can pay Rooster Teeth, Noah J456, Game Grumps etc and have the game at it's best be seen by millions at it's best.

Doubly so considering how many reviewers would trash the game for some pet political issue of the reviewer or because said reviewer is just shit at games. (Such as the Doom video Polygon put out.)

That last one is particularly bad. They review games for a living, and yet so many of them just SUCK at playing them.

Bullshit.

Bad for reviewers? Wich reviewers? You mean polygon, IGN, kotaku and the like?

"Reviewers" who cant even play one of the simplest FPS of recent times, DOOM? With people who dont play FPSs being more skilled at it then they themselves?

"Reviewers" who openly admit that they allways choose "easy mode" in their reviews?

"Reviewers" who rather drink "fizzy water" and talk about "politics in the phillipines" instead of doing their friggin job?

"Reviewers" that spent over half of a review lamenting the lack of "diversity" and "inclusivness" in a game and the possible message a game could send instead of actually talking about things that matter like gameplay and controls and if the game is buggy or not?

"Reviewers" that time and time again defend consumer unfriendly practices like allways online DRM and day 1 DLC?

Those reviwers?

Yeah sorry no pitty from me for those people im afraid...

And this suposedly hurts consumers how exactly?

Because you know...the game journo industry has done such an amazing job at informing their audience and advocating for them in the last couple of years... what with their praising of censorship, blatant promotion of mediocre titles that allways seem to be having advertisements on their websites at the same time said reviews come out. Calling their own audience "over" in an attempt to smokescreen their own cronyism and unpressionalism and in turn undoing all the progres of the last 10 years or so gaming has made in the public eye, causing old stereotypes being brought back up again not seen since jack thompson got the boot?

And now that bethesda simply cuts out the middlemen because they no longer need them suddenly its "for the consumers own good"?

The "game journalism" industry hasnt been working FOR the consumer since its very inception for crying out loud! The entire system is based on being dependand on money comming NOT from its viewership but from the very industry they are suposed to cover!

Where where those reviewers when they gave EVOLVE 10 to 9 out of 10 scores through the board, ignoring blatant game design issues and the ridiculus amount of bullshit dlc? Where where those Reviewers when they had early review copies of ALIENS: colonial marines and gave that piece of crap top scores WITHOUT informing their viewership that the game was a total ripoff and was falsly advertised at game shows? Why are those reviewers defending No mans Sky when everyone has seen the videos of hello games lying through their teeth on national television about game features that didnt exist at any time in the game?

Im sorry but in my opinion bethesda cutting out the toxic anti consumer PR departments that game journalism has become hurts no one but those idealogue driven, freebies expecting, sanfran bay gender studies failures.

You want to blame someone for this? Blame kotaku, blame polygon, blame all those who shat on gamers collectively in 2014 and declared people pariahs because they didnt want to take their shit any longer and expected atleast a shred of professionalism.

But dont expect people to rally in defense of these so called "professional" reviewers after the corrupt shitshow the game journo scene has become.

I take the words of ye olde youtubers like angry joe any day before i rely on the judgement of "reviewers" from kotaku or polygon.

Having these clowns as consumer advocates has done more damage to consumers over the last couple of years then bethesda could ever cause with their new policy...

 

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