Norwegian Gaming Sites Deny Battlefield 3 Review Shenanigans

Norwegian Gaming Sites Deny Battlefield 3 Review Shenanigans

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A couple of Norwegian gaming sites caught up in deny that any sort of shenanigans have taken place.

It came to light a couple of days ago that Electronic Arts may have jerked around a few Norwegian gaming sites in order to ensure the best possible review scores for Battlefield 3 on launch day. Questionnaires were allegedly sent to sites including Gamer.no and Gamereactor, both heavyweights in the Norwegian market, in advance of review copies of the game, asking some rather pointed questions about the reviewer's predisposition to the Battlefield franchise and its Activision rival, Call of Duty.

But now things seem to be moving from "slightly greasy" to "full-on confusing" as two of the sites involved in the controversy, the aforementioned Gamereactor and Gamer.no, have both issued statements disavowing any pressure from EA. "We have received a preview code and have not had any problems with EA. We have had nothing to do with the 'shenanigans'," a Gamereactor rep told Blue's yesterday. "It seems to be a matter between EA Norway and a major newspaper, why dedicated gaming media are mentioned also must be a misunderstanding."

And now Gamer.no has come across with a similar statement. "This is not true. EA have never refused to give Gamer.no access to a early review copy, and we did not need to answer any leading questions from EA to obtain it either," it said. "In fact our copy is shipped already, and should be in our hands tomorrow. There have never been any disagreements between EA and Gamer.no on this case."

It's good news that EA isn't out there trying to play games with review scores but what gives the case a whiff of oddness is the fact that the publisher has already apologized for doing it. I suppose it's possible that the PR guy who issued the apology was just trying to get ahead of the game, or maybe, as Gamereactor suggested, EA was simply trying to ensure that a mass-market newspaper didn't hand the job of reviewing Battlefield 3 over to the guy who normally does the bi-weekly bridge club reports. But on the surface of it, it's a little weird that one half of this tango says it's sorry for something the other half claims never happened.

Whatever the case, I'm sure that these clarifications will be followed by further clarifications. We'll keep you posted.

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I am norwegian, and calling these sites heavyweights is kind of an overstatement.
They are both quite small, and everyone with disire for real gaming news use other sies as their primary source.
The matter seems to originate from "Dagbladet's" (Norway's second largest newspaper) gaming site, PressFire.no (a site that is ok I guess).
Gamereactors statement seems highly unlikely, as "Dagbladet" ALWAYS hand gaming rewiews over to the people at PressFire.

"Hello everyone, I am fine, I am being well treated and I am issuing this statement of my own free will" (Man with a machine gun motions to look into the camera, not the end of the machine gun)

Did anyone else get that impression from their statement?

Alright, you got me.

I'm confused.

On one hand, there was absolutely nothing that really proved that this would determine who gets a review copy and who didn't. Or even what the purpose of the survey is. You guys just jumped to conclusions.

On the other hand, EA already admitted that it was a mistake and may have just sent out review copies to everyone to make up for the fiasco.

fix-the-spade:
"Hello everyone, I am fine, I am being well treated and I am issuing this statement of my own free will" (Man with a machine gun motions to look into the camera, not the end of the machine gun)

Did anyone else get that impression from their statement?

Sort of. I mean, if this was happening, they might still want to deny that it was to keep their standing with EA from falling. Company that denies bad thing > company that calls out bad thing in the eyes of the people doing the bad thing.

doublepost

fix-the-spade:
"Hello everyone, I am fine, I am being well treated and I am issuing this statement of my own free will" (Man with a machine gun motions to look into the camera, not the end of the machine gun)

Did anyone else get that impression from their statement?

No, I more got "Harrison, standard avowal of innocence no. 3, STAT". I mean, did anyone seriously expect them not to deny this?

Gamereactor is pretty much Scandinavia's answer to IGN so i would not trust then, never heard of Gamer.no though.

...huh. You're right, this is full-on confusing.

I retract my statement that it may have been an accident. At this point, I think we have no absolutely no idea what's going on...

OhJohnNo:
No, I more got "Harrison, standard avowal of innocence no. 3, STAT". I mean, did anyone seriously expect them not to deny this?

We expected EA to deny it all and the media that called the shenanigans in the first place to tell it like it is, then again we are talking about gaming media... I guess those review codes came with some hefty checks.

OK, forget it. I'm lost. Just what the heck's going on here? Is EA doing something shady, or is some newspaper just getting everything wrong?

Whaaaat? The media possibly got something mixed up? Well, I'll say that pretty much never happens.

Andy Chalk:
Gamereactor suggested, EA was simply trying to ensure that a mass-market newspaper didn't hand the job of reviewing Battlefield 3 over to the guy who normally does the bi-weekly bridge club reports.

That seems rather likely if it was a newspaper that got caught up in this. We see all the damn time what the media at large outside of dedicated gaming media thinks of video games.

SPOILER ALERT: It's usually not positive.

Apparently one of EA's 99 problems is communication.
So there seem to be two scenarios:
EA is incompetent or EA is corrupt AND incompetent

This smells like an EA cover-up to me.

Stekepanne5:
I am norwegian, and calling these sites heavyweights is kind of an overstatement.
They are both quite small, and everyone with disire for real gaming news use other sies as their primary source.
The matter seems to originate from "Dagbladet's" (Norway's second largest newspaper) gaming site, PressFire.no (a site that is ok I guess).
Gamereactors statement seems highly unlikely, as "Dagbladet" ALWAYS hand gaming rewiews over to the people at PressFire.

The you don't read the news enough. Gamereactor and Gamer.no are probably the two biggest gaming-only news sites in Norway. And Dagbladet owns Pressfire, so there's no "handing over". Pressfire is essentially the game news department of Dagbladet.

And it was NRK's (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, biggest TV channel) TV/film/game-review staff that decided that they saw this as meddling from EA and decided to not review the game upon release.
Also, the Guild of Video Game Critics of Norway (Spillkritikerlauget), an organization of critics from the biggest media and gaming press, issued a press release regarding the issue, because Norwegian media have very strict self-imposed rules regarding journalistic integrity and coverage of commercial products.

Simmemann:

Stekepanne5:
I am norwegian, and calling these sites heavyweights is kind of an overstatement.
They are both quite small, and everyone with disire for real gaming news use other sies as their primary source.
The matter seems to originate from "Dagbladet's" (Norway's second largest newspaper) gaming site, PressFire.no (a site that is ok I guess).
Gamereactors statement seems highly unlikely, as "Dagbladet" ALWAYS hand gaming rewiews over to the people at PressFire.

The you don't read the news enough. Gamereactor and Gamer.no are probably the two biggest gaming-only news sites in Norway. And Dagbladet owns Pressfire, so there's no "handing over". Pressfire is essentially the game news department of Dagbladet.

And it was NRK's (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, biggest TV channel) TV/film/game-review staff that decided that they saw this as meddling from EA and decided to not review the game upon release.
Also, the Guild of Video Game Critics of Norway (Spillkritikerlauget), an organization of critics from the biggest media and gaming press, issued a press release regarding the issue, because Norwegian media have very strict self-imposed rules regarding journalistic integrity and coverage of commercial products.

I know that Dagbladet owns PressFire, "handing over" is just a term I used to explain the situation.
The notion of said websites not being "heavyweights" was used in a way ment to compare it with the world and the opening post, using the term "heavyweight" in such a way seemed wrong to me.
Besides, I already knew the information you posted here, as I use all three sites from time to time.
The point of my post was to set things straight with the realtionship between these sites and the naure of them and the current situation.
Without confusing people even more.

Ah yes, the influential Norwegian gaming media and it's ironclad grip on gaming reviews the world over. Truly these men of the north are the Illuminati of the modern age. Don't mind the game publisher behind the curtain.

(Hmm, this could be a good premise for a game. Sort of Deus Ex meets American McGee.)


The apology has obscured the truth, whatever it may be.

More like EA offered them first access to BF3 in return for denying anything ever happened.

The Critic:
OK, forget it. I'm lost. Just what the heck's going on here? Is EA doing something shady, or is some newspaper just getting everything wrong?

Does it have to be one or the other? I could see both being entirely possible.

 

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