EA Accused of Gaming Battlefield 3 Review Scores

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EA Accused of Gaming Battlefield 3 Review Scores

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An unusual survey of potential Battlefield 3 reviewers in Norway has EA taking fire for trying to manipulate review scores.

Battlefield 3 is looking pretty hot, but that may not be enough for Electronic Arts in Norway, where the company appears to be showing some reluctance to let the game stand on its own merits. Why Norway? I have no idea, but apparently if you're a member of the Norwegian media and you want an advance copy of Battlefield 3 for review, you're going to have to answer a few questions first.

The questionnaire, sent to Press Fire/Dagbladet, Gamer.no and Gamereactor, starts off innocuously with a request for contact information but ratchets things up quickly [as in, the second question] when it asks about whether or not the reviewer in question had covered either Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Call of Duty: Black Ops, and if so, what scores he awarded them. It goes on to ask if the reviewer is a fan of either the Battlefield or Call of Duty franchises, if he's expressed any concerns about Battlefield 3, if he played the beta and what his feelings on it were if he did, and "What's his present view on the game?"

A generous individual might see this as a harmless attempt at "getting to know you" but the wider consensus seems to be that EA is looking for friendly homes for advance copies in order to goose BF3 review scores. "This is an obvious attempt to manipulate the media," reviewer Jon Cato Lorentzen told NRK [Google translated], adding that it gives EA the power to "withdraw exclusivity if they are not happy with the choice of reviewer."

In response to the controversy, EA Norway Marketing Manager Oliver Sveen issued a statement claiming that the publisher does not have a policy of pre-screening reviewers. "This should not have been sent out," he said. "We have made a mistake and we apologize."

via: Gameranx

Permalink

Seventh Actuality:
See, EA? Feels good doing something genuinely cool and funny, doesn't it?

Oh wait, nevermind.

While gaming review scores is a disgusting habit, and should always be discouraged, I can't for the life of me think of any reason why EA would do this with Battlefield 3. In all likelyhood it's going to score well, and the Norwegian market can't be big enough to justify a move like this.

For once, the official line of "We have made a mistake and we apologize" seems the most plausible explanation. Unless, of course, the world waits on Norway's answer to the great question of whether a game is good or not. I was off-line for much of the summer, is this the case now? ;)

Nothing wrong with only sending advance copies to specific people. If one reviewer has never liked my product, and always gushes over my competition, then there is no way in hell I'm sending them an advance copy.

I didn't care for the beta BTW.

Hey, after the shit they pulled with the origin service terms, this honestly comes as no surprise. Not to mention their constant insulting of call of duty, because trash talk makes you look real mature and cool in front of your fans, doesn't it?

How can they claim they accidentally sent it out when it's so specifically worded and sent out to several different media outlets? I get that they really, really want to beat CoD, but this isn't the way to do it, and they're never gonna succeed anyway.

GeorgW:
How can they claim they accidentally sent it out when it's so specifically worded and sent out to several different media outlets? I get that they really, really want to beat CoD, but this isn't the way to do it, and they're never gonna succeed anyway.

Nowhere does it say it was accidental. All it says is that it shouldnt have been sent, they apologize an acknowledge the mistake.

Seventh Actuality:

Seventh Actuality:
See, EA? Feels good doing something genuinely cool and funny, doesn't it?

Oh wait, nevermind.

Haha, NICE! I see what you did there.

For anyone wondering: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.318570-EA-Pokes-Fun-at-Herman-Cains-Tax-Plan#12987872

OT: Yeah, it doesn't come off very innocuous if you ask me. I mean, as general questionnaires go, it's awful specific, even mentioning a similar competing property. They should be sorry.

draythefingerless:

GeorgW:
How can they claim they accidentally sent it out when it's so specifically worded and sent out to several different media outlets? I get that they really, really want to beat CoD, but this isn't the way to do it, and they're never gonna succeed anyway.

Nowhere does it say it was accidental. All it says is that it shouldnt have been sent, they apologize an acknowledge the mistake.

I interpreted that as 'we mistakenly sent them.'
Oh well, that's much better. The rest of the point still stands.

EA... I just... urgh!

You have so many good IP's, why can't you let them just stand up on their own merits? You are your own worst enemy with all the douchbaggery you pull. Stop it!

Honestly, the only legitimate reason I can think of for sending such a questionnaire is EA wants to make sure the reviewers they send the game to are competent. But why would you even think of sending a review copy to someone you don't think is competent enough to review a game?

I'll judge Battlefield 3 for myself, thank you.

EA you were cool when you making fun of Herman Cain for jacking your Sims tax tactic, yet you just had to go fuck it up. Go back and sit at the table with activision and blizzard.

Not that I like EA.. Cause I don't much. I'm scared as heck that they are going to monkey with Bioware and mess up my beloved Mass Effect series.

That being said, why the survey and why Norway could be a matter of doing preemptive damage control based on current events.

If a journalism outlet, or certain journalists are likely to rip into a military shooter based on the terrorist attack with the terrorist mentioning military shooters in his crazy manifesto EA will want to know that. Gameing review scores to push a game that will likely get 9s anyway into the 9.5 range is not ok. But I can understand if they are worried about walking into a VERY hostile room in that country.

Eh. People who like battlefield will defend this, and people who dont will condemn this.

To me... this seems like it should be illegal as a violation of fair journalism or something, but then again, thats just me. Im sure its not illegal, so it doesnt matter.

And that mistake he mentioned was being found out. I'm also curious as to if this will still effect them getting a review copy. Battlefield 3 is shaping to look more and more like the newest MoH game to be honest. I've heard a lot of people didn't like the beta, and I highly doubt the game will change enough to have a major impact.

Alimouse:
Not that I like EA.. Cause I don't much. I'm scared as heck that they are going to monkey with Bioware and mess up my beloved Mass Effect series.

That being said, why the survey and why Norway could be a matter of doing preemptive damage control based on current events.

If a journalism outlet, or certain journalists are likely to rip into a military shooter based on the terrorist attack with the terrorist mentioning military shooters in his crazy manifesto EA will want to know that. Gameing review scores to push a game that will likely get 9s anyway into the 9.5 range is not ok. But I can understand if they are worried about walking into a VERY hostile room in that country.

While that may be a good excuse, I highly doubt that's the case. The main questions seemed to be trying to find out if they liked the game/what they've seen of the game almost exclusively. It also seems to be trying to figure out if they liked CoD: Blops and, if so, that would affect their score (trying to avoid reviewers who they think will be 'unfair and harsh' towards them due to some kind of love for CoD).

That may not be the case, but given the questions listed, it sure seems like it.

GaltarDude1138:
Honestly, the only legitimate reason I can think of for sending such a questionnaire is EA wants to make sure the reviewers they send the game to are competent. But why would you even think of sending a review copy to someone you don't think is competent enough to review a game?

I'll judge Battlefield 3 for myself, thank you.

With questions like, "What did you think of BF:BC2 and Blops" on the questionaire you'd have to be unbelievably biased to think it was a test of how competent the reviewer was.

I for one am relatively unsurprised that EA would attempt things like this. They've spared no monetary expense or moral sense of fair play when it comes to trying to promote BF3 over CoD.

I really think people are reading WAY too much into this. I read this a lot more as making sure people are familiar with the 2 franchises and will know the differences since past games. Plus getting a gauge on how much a "CoD fan" is interested in BF3 and what he might be looking for in this direct competition seems like a good idea. Since they only went out in one EXTREMELY specific area, I get the feeling that this was something that some marketing team in that area sent out without getting it approved by the higher ups.

I shouldn't even have to cover myself like this, but since some people will probably bring it up... I like BOTH CoD and BF franchises. I wish CoD had the maps and objective squad based gameplay of BF, and BF had the killstreaks and fast pace of CoD. I like both and play both. So take any bias comment and stuff them.

Something like this is probably just some guy calling the shots in the marketing department getting a little ahead of himself and sending something out without thinking. That's how 'EA' can do something this stupid but only in Norway.

I am greatly offended by this. What ever happened to just handing out bribes as is tradition?

Awexsome:

GaltarDude1138:
Honestly, the only legitimate reason I can think of for sending such a questionnaire is EA wants to make sure the reviewers they send the game to are competent. But why would you even think of sending a review copy to someone you don't think is competent enough to review a game?

I'll judge Battlefield 3 for myself, thank you.

With questions like, "What did you think of BF:BC2 and Blops" on the questionaire you'd have to be unbelievably biased to think it was a test of how competent the reviewer was.

I for one am relatively unsurprised that EA would attempt things like this. They've spared no monetary expense or moral sense of fair play when it comes to trying to promote BF3 over CoD.

The question was

Andy Chalk:

when it asks about whether or not the reviewer in question had covered either Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Call of Duty: Black Ops,

I would think if a person hadn't reviewed either game they'd be in a poor position to form a professional opinion on a game like Battlefield 3. I wouldn't want someone reviewing a game if they hadn't reviewed popular FPS's before.

But I don't know what you're trying to say. I just said the only way I could think of a legit way this would be justifiable would be that.

Right now... i just want Battlefield to crash SO hard...
I just really don't agree with EA's way of going about things.
Competing and poking a bit of fun with COD?
Fine by me.

But when you begin to just piss people off in order to pursue some childish grudge-match?
Not cool.

Hopefully EA will screw the pooch so very hard on this one, that they might learn a lesson.
I'm just hoping to god it doesn't do well...
Would not be a good message to the industry.

Anyway, as for this particular incident?
Not suprising in the least, and just fuels more hate towards EA.

I find it hilarious how EA and Dice are trying so, so hard to compete with CoD, going as far as insulting the franchise, yet IW and Sledgehammer just shrug it off and do not mention Battlefield at all. Oh, and remember when Robert Bowling (developer of MW3) said on reddit that both games (Battlefield 3 and MW3) are going to be great games? Now that's honor.

Wait, I thought that everyone knew that advanced copies were given to companies that will most likely give a positive review? It's like the advanced screening, except only to the people you want. Fucked, yes, but I thought we all knew this.

GameMaNiAC:
I find it hilarious how EA and Dice are trying so, so hard to compete with CoD, going as far as insulting the franchise, yet IW and Sledgehammer just shrug it off and do not mention Battlefield at all. Oh, and remember when Robert Bowling (developer of MW3) said on reddit that both games (Battlefield 3 and MW3) are going to be great games? Now that's honor.

That's not really honor. I read into what he said as almost a way to say that BF3 is going to be better, but it doesn't matter because CoD is going to sell more no matter what. He is acting like the nice guy because they can see the demise of CoD coming, and only the intervention of god is going to stop it. However, that's my interpretation of it, I may be reading into it and seeing things that may not be there.

Battlefield 3 felt like CoD except with a more of a "indigenous people living in bushes" simulator feel, so I don't care much for it.

If this action was taken by a independent or small publisher, it would be viewed as a calculated marketing move meant to get the "good" word out to those who you know will love your product.

That this was done by a T ripple A publisher, just makes it seem sneaky and dishonest. But at the moment, I just cant critically judge EA due to my bias against them and what they are doing with digital distribution. I have always been a BF fan and was looking forward to 3. But until they at least fix their digital distribution issue, I can't let myself go their. (Perhaps if someone handed me a PS3)

Sizzle Montyjing:
Right now... i just want Battlefield to crash SO hard...
I just really don't agree with EA's way of going about things.
Competing and poking a bit of fun with COD?
Fine by me.

But when you begin to just piss people off in order to pursue some childish grudge-match?
Not cool.

Hopefully EA will screw the pooch so very hard on this one, that they might learn a lesson.
I'm just hoping to god it doesn't do well...
Would not be a good message to the industry.

Anyway, as for this particular incident?
Not suprising in the least, and just fuels more hate towards EA.

Please let it happen. I mean, I usually don't wish companies/people bad, but what EA and some others are doing just needs to be punished.
But to be honest, they won't fail. There is already enough hype to make this a huge success, because of those "blinded" fans that would even buy it if it would become the worst game ever made.
I hate to say, but they actually will get away with this s**t.
I don't care, because I won't buy it. The only problem I see is Origin. If they'll make every EA game Origin-exclusive, there might be a game that I really want Origin is an absolute NO-GO for me.

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The Gentleman:
I am greatly offended by this. What ever happened to just handing out bribes as is tradition?

In this economy even the bribes suck.

Oh dear, oh dear...

GaltarDude1138:

The question was

Andy Chalk:

when it asks about whether or not the reviewer in question had covered either Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Call of Duty: Black Ops,

I would think if a person hadn't reviewed either game they'd be in a poor position to form a professional opinion on a game like Battlefield 3. I wouldn't want someone reviewing a game if they hadn't reviewed popular FPS's before.

That wasn't the only question though. The other questions were

what scores he awarded them. It goes on to ask if the reviewer is a fan of either the Battlefield or Call of Duty franchises, if he's expressed any concerns about Battlefield 3, if he played the beta and what his feelings on it were if he did, and "What's his present view on the game?"

-Are you a fan of Battlefield or Call Of Duty?
-Have you in any way criticised Battlefield 3 in any previews you've written?
-Did you play the Beta, and did you like it? If you didn't, why the hell not?
-Do you think Battlefield 3 will be a good game? We know you haven't played the full game yet, but we'd really, really like to know.

They're obviously fishing for positive reviews. It's pretty shameful, and also does a disservice to us gamers. Many prospective buyers rely on reviews to decide whether to make a purchase or not. If EA are trying to skew everything in their favour, that's going against the entire review process.

And of course, the most obvious point is that it makes EA look like they lack faith in their own project. A good game should be able to stand on its own feet. By trying to skew reviews, it makes EA come across as not having a lot of belief in their own game.

Boy are they sorry for getting caught.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Oh dear, oh dear...

GaltarDude1138:

The question was

Andy Chalk:

when it asks about whether or not the reviewer in question had covered either Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Call of Duty: Black Ops,

I would think if a person hadn't reviewed either game they'd be in a poor position to form a professional opinion on a game like Battlefield 3. I wouldn't want someone reviewing a game if they hadn't reviewed popular FPS's before.

That wasn't the only question though. The other questions were

what scores he awarded them. It goes on to ask if the reviewer is a fan of either the Battlefield or Call of Duty franchises, if he's expressed any concerns about Battlefield 3, if he played the beta and what his feelings on it were if he did, and "What's his present view on the game?"

-Are you a fan of Battlefield or Call Of Duty?
-Have you in any way criticised Battlefield 3 in any previews you've written?
-Did you play the Beta, and did you like it? If you didn't, why the hell not?
-Do you think Battlefield 3 will be a good game? We know you haven't played the full game yet, but we'd really, really like to know.

They're obviously fishing for positive reviews. It's pretty shameful, and also does a disservice to us gamers. Many prospective buyers rely on reviews to decide whether to make a purchase or not. If EA are trying to skew everything in their favour, that's going against the entire review process.

And of course, the most obvious point is that it makes EA look like they lack faith in their own project. A good game should be able to stand on its own feet. By trying to skew reviews, it makes EA come across as not having a lot of belief in their own game.

GaltarDude1138:

I just said the only way I could think of a legit way this would be justifiable would be that.

...not that I necessarily believe that it's what happened. I agree with everything you said, I'm just trying to point out how hard EA will have to work to justify this.

This kind of sounds like how Apple decides who gets to go to their press events. It's such a shameless anti-competitive tactic that seems to be designed with the intent of deceiving the public.

It's just another notch in the long list of why I hate EA with an undying passion. I hope Battlefield 3 tanks so EA can take a good, long hard look in the mirror and realize they should have been making a better game, not trying to throw Call of Duty's name in the mud. Screw off, EA.

If I was Prime Minister in my country, I'd use Battlefield 3 for my own screening process. Based on shit like this and the fact that Origin makes you agree to allow them to datamine absolutely anything on your hard drive and use it for any purpose they feel like, I'd make sure that people who actually buy this game are not allowed to vote.

Well this is irritating. I've been excited for this game for a while and I'm sure it can stand up on its own merits, and even if this was a mistake by some idiot marketing person it's obviously bad press.

Also, this is in fact EA's fault, not the developer's. Don't hope for the game to fail because of any idiocy on the publisher's part. You wanna know what happens when a game fails? The developer gets hurt. Publisher? not so much.

ZeZZZZevy:
Don't hope for the game to fail because of any idiocy on the publisher's part. You wanna know what happens when a game fails? The developer gets hurt. Publisher? not so much.

Sorry, that doesn't matter much to me, in the same way that, if I get beat up on the street by a guy, and his friend stands by and watches, I'd expect them both to go to jail.

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