Watch Dogs Preview Event Attendees Given a Free Nexus 7 - Update

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Watch Dogs Preview Event Attendees Given a Free Nexus 7 - Update

UK gaming press have revealed and confirmed that Ubisoft has given each and every journalist attending its Watch Dogs preview event in the UK a free Nexus 7 tablet.

Update: Ubisoft UK has responded with a tweet of its own:

So to be clear, Ubisoft UK was unaware of what folks in their PR department were giving away? Uh, OK ...

Original Story:In news that might not sit well with the gaming populace, publisher Ubisoft has given each and every journalist attending its UK preview event for Watch Dogs a free Nexus 7 tablet.

London-based games writer Steve Hogarty, who did not attend the event but confirmed it through associates, tweeted, "It is TRUTH. Ubisoft gave journalists a free Nexus 7 each at an exclusive Watchdogs preview event in Paris. Oh Ubisoft."

Official Xbox Magazine writer Edwin Evans-Thirlwell also wrote, "We don't intend to hold onto the tablet, obviously. It'll be given away to charity, as per a (perfectly polite and amicable) phone conversation with Ubisoft PR after I returned from the trip."

Thirlwell was not the only recipient of the $200 Google-made tablet that didn't accept the "gift," as Videogamer Reviews and Feature editor Steve Burns also went on Twitter to disclose, "For the record: I was offered the Nexus, gave it back to the PR. No reason to take it. I did drink the water that was also in the bag though."

GamesIndustry European Editor Dan Pearson tweeted, "Ours is going to GamesAid for Ebay auctioning, but yeah, pretty shameless." Pearson, who did not attend, was referring to Nexus received by Gamer Network sister publication Eurogamer.

Important to note that we don't know exactly how many people attended the preview event, nor how many of them actually accepted the free Nexus 7 tablets. Even if they did, some of them might be giving the tablets away to charity or something similar. So, bear that in mind before bringing out the pitchforks, alright?

While this might have been an innocent move on Ubisoft's part, I highly doubt other people -- especially non-attendees -- will feel the same way. Of course, this freebie shouldn't influence how the game is reviewed at all, but the mere fact that it might even be part of the discussion now is something that shouldn't have happened in the first place, in my opinion. And before anyone asks, no one from The Escapist attended the preview event.

What do you think Ubisoft's motivation is for giving away the tablets to gaming journalists in the first place? And do you think this is a sign that Ubisoft isn't confident that Watch Dogs will fare well with critics? You can judge Watch Dogs for yourself when the open-world action game hits store shelves this May 27 for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Editor's Note: Updated to clarify that Hogarty did not attend the event, but just tweeted about it. Also clarified that GI.biz did not attend or receive a unit.

Source: Twitter via NeoGAF

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The "just for fun" conspiracy theorist in me would guess they did it for just this type of article. Then, when critics *do* give it negative reviews, readers will be convinced the reviewer is just being overly cautious in avoiding shouts of bribery and "bought" review scores.

Or... it could be their marketing/PR department not thinking things through. They tend to be good at doing that.

I know it's video games, and bringing up a big word like "Bribery" is a bit over the top.

But, seriously, what else can you call it?

Does the tablet have anything to do with the game? Like a second screen game thingy maybe? If so, that would make sense..

Err.....Don't they have something along the lines of an App for Android that connects to the game console for Watchdogs?

Well I am also guessing so from the screenshot, and while I guess people would be warranted by saying it's a bribe, It could also be for them to try the app that connects to the game.

Maybe, honestly have no 100% sure fact but its a theory I guess.

The blowback on this is hilarious. All these corrupt motherfuckers are like, "oh no, I can't do that, it's not right". Forget the fact that they all accepted much more expensive PS4's less than a year ago.

The fact is, this could be some form of bribery, but it could just as easily be a product that was donated to the event by Google for advertising purposes. I attended a bodybuilding workshop a few months ago. It was a great workshop, but they gave us so much swag, it was ridiculous. Whole canisters of protein powder, t-shirts, all the quest bars we could stuff in our pockets.... and all of that was given to the workshop by the respective companies as advertising.

This feels more like, throwing a christian to the lions rather than an outright professed attempt at bribery and how they nobly refused it. The ones that came forward with the information are probably the last one's that can be trusted.

There is also the natural human tendency to reciprocate. Even if they don't accept it, they will still carry a more favorable bias just for the act of an attempted gift. So, we are in total bias territory more than ever. None of them can be trusted. They will either compensate by scoring it intentionally lower than it's worth to make up for the attempted "bribe", or they will still feel favorable towards the company and probably score it a bit higher than it deserves (this one is subconscious, the former is conscious). Now we can discuss if those feelings will ultimately affect the score so much that they are not to be trusted at all. Time will tell....

Also: If you think the game looks good, just buy the fucking thing. If you think it's not your cup of tea or are not sure, then wait for reviews or skip. Gamers choose to be affected by reviews. There are things we know about Ubisoft. First, they don't usually put out ridiculously buggy game, at least not flagship titles like this one. So it probably won't have any broken mechanics. Beyond that, does the open world hacking aspect appeal to you? If it does, then you should probably buy it. If it does not, you should probably skip it. And you can go mad with the thoughts of the "graphic downgrade" or you can be an adult and not cry over spilled milk. I'm not saying ignore it, but don't let that be the cornerstone of your decision as to whether or not you want to buy it.

any chance there can be a list of the people who accepted the nexus 7's so I can just avoid anything they have to say regarding games? This entire thing going on kinda skeeves me out.

Sol_HSA:
Does the tablet have anything to do with the game? Like a second screen game thingy maybe? If so, that would make sense..

I am going to say this, Ubisoft have been big on the whole linked apps and second screen thing lately and Watchdogs seems it will able to utilise it even more.

Perhaps they wanted to try and make sure the reviewers all had a tablet suitable for the game so they cover it in the review? The little mini game and second screen map feature in Black Flag barely got mentioned in reviews of the game.

El Luck:
any chance there can be a list of the people who accepted the nexus 7's so I can just avoid anything they have to say regarding games? This entire thing going on kinda skeeves me out.

Nope. Only a very few handful admitted that they got the tablets. We have no clue which publications got one, how many were given out, how many journalists attended, or if there were YouTube personalities/other media that attended and were given one, too.

I'm sure this changes no ones opinions just like all those campaign donations, don't at all change how my elected congressman votes.

I look forward to reading about how Watch Dogs sold 2 to 3 million copies within the first week of release but Ubisoft still crying about how it's lost money on the project. Granted, this happens mostly due to an overblown marketing and R&D budgets as far as I understand but giving away tablets is going to cut into profits somewhat.

Videogamer Reviews and Feature editor Steve Burns also went on Twitter to disclose, "For the record: I was offered the Nexus, gave it back to the PR. No reason to take it. I did drink the water that was also in the bag though

Pfft, corporate shill. Drinking the water of his masters! :p

I can imagine Ubisoft did it so that they could show off the second screen bullshit that is the new fad in games now, since it's a big feature of the game they want to reviewers to see the whole thing and rather than assuming they own a compatable tablet just gave them one.

But it is funny to see the journalists scrambling to show how un-buyable they are and how they aren't going to accept the 'gift' when they probably get more than $200 worth of other stuff that they don't declare. Like free copies of games to review and consoles to play them on.

The Lunatic:
I know it's video games, and bringing up a big word like "Bribery" is a bit over the top.

But, seriously, what else can you call it?

Things like this are common in 'corporate hospitality' when courting company reps and so forth. The problem is that Games 'journalism' still has a growing image problem.

From industry shows basically becoming press insider events where presentations are replaced with huge parties and beer, to Cap-com taking some journalists to Hawaii to play SF4 in a controlled environment... with lots of beer to Activision and EA forcing reviews to undertake their reveiw on closed servers in a specially controlled environment presumably to maximize 'positive experience' and hide glaring bugs (Although the beer situation remains unclear) the guardians of the coveted review scores and coverage or increasingly looked upon with suspicion and open scorn. And you know what. It is largely their own fault.

Big publishers DO think this is an acceptable tactic to woo the press. I really do think they are that out of touch with the community that they didn't think about giving away free tablets would mak the game 'journalists' and publishers look like one big happy back-scratching festival

Hardly unusual to be given freebies at these kind of events, though this seems like a bit over-the-top from the usual stuff. Does lead me to believe that theres more to it, like a certain feature is available installed on the tablet (like a tie-in app or something). Either that or they had a ton cheap and figured "Yeah, fling 'em to those lot, they'll like that" with no further thought.

I really really doubt its bribery.

J Tyran:

I am going to say this, Ubisoft have been big on the whole linked apps and second screen thing lately and Watchdogs seems it will able to utilise it even more.

Perhaps they wanted to try and make sure the reviewers all had a tablet suitable for the game so they cover it in the review? The little mini game and second screen map feature in Black Flag barely got mentioned in reviews of the game.

That's what I was thinking. From the photo, it looks like the tablets were all charged up and RTR.

As much as I dislike Ubisoft, I'm not ready to shout "bribery!" over this just yet.

Well why the hell not, they are already get promotion money, games, flights, hotels, food, drink, parties, even ladies of the night on some occasions, so why not throw something new in there.

If I was a member of gaming journalists, I would have a hard shell to crack, if not uncrackable.

Hmm.. would you take a tablet from a company that designed a game which centers around somebody using these types of devices to hack/snoop/screw with greedy corporate and media conglomerate personnel?

I'd be paranoid that come launch day the tablet would start yelling out "This tablet was a bribe accepted by ___________, who lives at ____________, and uses the password _____________!" (With the blanks appropriately filled in with whatever information you entered, of course)

MinionJoe:

J Tyran:

I am going to say this, Ubisoft have been big on the whole linked apps and second screen thing lately and Watchdogs seems it will able to utilise it even more.

Perhaps they wanted to try and make sure the reviewers all had a tablet suitable for the game so they cover it in the review? The little mini game and second screen map feature in Black Flag barely got mentioned in reviews of the game.

That's what I was thinking. From the photo, it looks like the tablets were all charged up and RTR.

As much as I dislike Ubisoft, I'm not ready to shout "bribery!" over this just yet.

How on earth is that a convincing reason? If that was all it was about, they'd have had the tablets set up with the game, where they'd have stayed when the press left.

This is a notorious problem in the games industry, the publishers try to bribe reviewers with lavish parties and gifts. There was a law passed to make it illegal for a lobbyist to buy lunch or give gifts to a politician, because they were doing exactly what these companies are doing, except to influence votes in congress instead of reviews in a magazine or on a website.

It's out and out bribery, just a form that's slightly more socially acceptable than cash bribes. And only slightly -- like I said, it's now recognized as a form of illegal bribery to do it to a politician.

Oh Ubisoft.... will you ever stop shooting your own feet and cutting off your nose to spite your face?

Mr.K.:
even ladies of the night on some occasions

Is there some kind of story I missed behind that or did you just pull it out of your ass? :p

Owyn_Merrilin:

It's out and out bribery, just a form that's slightly more socially acceptable than cash bribes. And only slightly -- like I said, it's now recognized as a form of illegal bribery to do it to a politician.

And if it is? So what?

It's not like game journalists decide social policy that affect millions of citizens.

Ubisoft bribes reviewer, reviewer gives good score, consumer buys disappointing game.

I fail to see how whether this is a bribe or not will change the fact that people will still buy shitty Ubisoft games.

Owyn_Merrilin:

MinionJoe:

J Tyran:

I am going to say this, Ubisoft have been big on the whole linked apps and second screen thing lately and Watchdogs seems it will able to utilise it even more.

Perhaps they wanted to try and make sure the reviewers all had a tablet suitable for the game so they cover it in the review? The little mini game and second screen map feature in Black Flag barely got mentioned in reviews of the game.

That's what I was thinking. From the photo, it looks like the tablets were all charged up and RTR.

As much as I dislike Ubisoft, I'm not ready to shout "bribery!" over this just yet.

How on earth is that a convincing reason? If that was all it was about, they'd have had the tablets set up with the game, where they'd have stayed when the press left.

This is a notorious problem in the games industry, the publishers try to bribe reviewers with lavish parties and gifts. There was a law passed to make it illegal for a lobbyist to buy lunch or give gifts to a politician, because they were doing exactly what these companies are doing, except to influence votes in congress instead of reviews in a magazine or on a website.

It's out and out bribery, just a form that's slightly more socially acceptable than cash bribes. And only slightly -- like I said, it's now recognized as a form of illegal bribery to do it to a politician.

That kind of bribery still goes on with politicians, instead of cash or gifts they are offered a highly paid sinecure within an affiliated company after they leave office. Often their families benefit from the same, look at that Bundy Ranch issue in the US at the moment for a good example. Senator Harry Reids family have jobs with almost every major industry in the state, companies that have benefited heavily from legislation Senator Reid helped pass. His son even works for the multinational energy company that is behind the eviction of those ranchers.

The Ubisoft tablet issue is no different to journalists getting free consoles or tech reviewers getting sent items that they do not need to return, its all a gravy train and I didn't see much rage about individuals that got free PS4s and Xbox ones. Its feasible that Ubisoft did give future reviewers of Watchdogs a free tablet so they are more likely to include the companion app and second screen features in the review, thats pretty much the same as being given a PS4 or the latest 600 graphics card they don't need to return.

Ubisoft are my least favourite of the big publishers but even I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

MinionJoe:

Owyn_Merrilin:

It's out and out bribery, just a form that's slightly more socially acceptable than cash bribes. And only slightly -- like I said, it's now recognized as a form of illegal bribery to do it to a politician.

And if it is? So what?

It's not like game journalists decide social policy that affect millions of citizens.

Ubisoft bribes reviewer, reviewer gives good score, consumer buys disappointing game.

I fail to see how whether this is a bribe or not will change the fact that people will still buy shitty Ubisoft games.

The entire point of reviews is to have an honest assessment of whether or not something is worth buying. The games industry has a downright /nasty/ case of untrustworthy, bribed reviewers. Who then have a tendency to get upset if you suggest that maybe, you know, they've been bribed.

J Tyran:

Owyn_Merrilin:

MinionJoe:

That's what I was thinking. From the photo, it looks like the tablets were all charged up and RTR.

As much as I dislike Ubisoft, I'm not ready to shout "bribery!" over this just yet.

How on earth is that a convincing reason? If that was all it was about, they'd have had the tablets set up with the game, where they'd have stayed when the press left.

This is a notorious problem in the games industry, the publishers try to bribe reviewers with lavish parties and gifts. There was a law passed to make it illegal for a lobbyist to buy lunch or give gifts to a politician, because they were doing exactly what these companies are doing, except to influence votes in congress instead of reviews in a magazine or on a website.

It's out and out bribery, just a form that's slightly more socially acceptable than cash bribes. And only slightly -- like I said, it's now recognized as a form of illegal bribery to do it to a politician.

That kind of bribery still goes on with politicians, instead of cash or gifts they are offered a highly paid sinecure within an affiliated company after they leave office. Often their families benefit from the same, look at that Bundy Ranch issue in the US at the moment for a good example. Senator Harry Reids family have jobs with almost every major industry in the state, companies that have benefited heavily from legislation Senator Reid helped pass. His son even works for the multinational energy company that is behind the eviction of those ranchers.

The Ubisoft tablet issue is no different to journalists getting free consoles or tech reviewers getting sent items that they do not need to return, its all a gravy train and I didn't see much rage about individuals that got free PS4s and Xbox ones. Its feasible that Ubisoft did give future reviewers of Watchdogs a free tablet so they are more likely to include the companion app and second screen features in the review, thats pretty much the same as being given a PS4 or the latest 600 graphics card they don't need to return.

Ubisoft are my least favourite of the big publishers but even I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Hey, I never said the bribery stopped. I just said that this specific form of it has, in fact, been recognized legally as a form of bribery. Scumbags gonna scumbag, whether in politics or commerce. Doesn't mean we have to be okay with it.

Sol_HSA:
Does the tablet have anything to do with the game? Like a second screen game thingy maybe? If so, that would make sense..

since they're building the wii u game for those features, they're probably going to put some of that development towards the tablet connectivity functions on the other consoles (or, well, the other way around, since ubisoft has chosen which consoles should be their priority after all their lip service), although obviously they're gonna have to make it optional on them

Ubisoft, I realize you put a lot more money into this game than is feasibly safe, but ya don't have to go and start bribing people.

Owyn_Merrilin:

J Tyran:

Owyn_Merrilin:

How on earth is that a convincing reason? If that was all it was about, they'd have had the tablets set up with the game, where they'd have stayed when the press left.

This is a notorious problem in the games industry, the publishers try to bribe reviewers with lavish parties and gifts. There was a law passed to make it illegal for a lobbyist to buy lunch or give gifts to a politician, because they were doing exactly what these companies are doing, except to influence votes in congress instead of reviews in a magazine or on a website.

It's out and out bribery, just a form that's slightly more socially acceptable than cash bribes. And only slightly -- like I said, it's now recognized as a form of illegal bribery to do it to a politician.

That kind of bribery still goes on with politicians, instead of cash or gifts they are offered a highly paid sinecure within an affiliated company after they leave office. Often their families benefit from the same, look at that Bundy Ranch issue in the US at the moment for a good example. Senator Harry Reids family have jobs with almost every major industry in the state, companies that have benefited heavily from legislation Senator Reid helped pass. His son even works for the multinational energy company that is behind the eviction of those ranchers.

The Ubisoft tablet issue is no different to journalists getting free consoles or tech reviewers getting sent items that they do not need to return, its all a gravy train and I didn't see much rage about individuals that got free PS4s and Xbox ones. Its feasible that Ubisoft did give future reviewers of Watchdogs a free tablet so they are more likely to include the companion app and second screen features in the review, thats pretty much the same as being given a PS4 or the latest 600 graphics card they don't need to return.

Ubisoft are my least favourite of the big publishers but even I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Hey, I never said the bribery stopped. I just said that this specific form of it has, in fact, been recognized legally as a form of bribery. Scumbags gonna scumbag, whether in politics or commerce. Doesn't mean we have to be okay with it.

The same almost certainly happens in the gaming industry, I bet loads of reviewers end up with jobs with the publishers and developers. The thing is though do many people really trust gaming "journalists" anyway, review scores are almost always inflated and the way they withhold access to information and products and give websites that toe the line preferential treatment with things like exclusive interviews is all well documented. The primary income of reviewers like IGN and the rest comes from those publishers

The big reviewers are well known as being an extension of the big publishers PR departments, I cannot really blame the individual reviewers from taking advantage of the loot on offer. They cannot really give frank reviews anyway, if they are too honest they don't have a job for long or the review might not even get published. There are plenty of anecdotes from reviewers where they wrote a fairly positive review that want "ZOMG 11 out of ten! bestest game in the world ever!" only to be told to rewrite it. Only the "celebrity" reviewers get away with it because of the volume of views and hits they get outweighs the negative consequences from a pissed off publishers

Does it suck? Yes it does but at least there are plenty of honest reviewers that don't work for the publishers extended PR department and there are more and more of them, enough to cause the publishers headaches and try to shut them up like the content ID fiasco on YouTube. Like hitting them with a content ID claim to keep the review suppressed for a couple of weeks and then dropping it because they know it wont stick.

Owyn_Merrilin:

The entire point of reviews is to have an honest assessment of whether or not something is worth buying. The games industry has a downright /nasty/ case of untrustworthy, bribed reviewers. Who then have a tendency to get upset if you suggest that maybe, you know, they've been bribed.

I agree. Reviews should be unbiased, otherwise it's called an advertisement.

But again, I ask: How would out-and-out bribing of game journalists change existing consumer habits?

Even when reviewers say a game is rubbish, people still run out in droves to buy it just because it's "the latest Assassin's Creed."

How would dishonest, paid reviewer advertisements change that?

Pretty sure it's not bribery. Stupid yes but not bribery given they were likely trying to show off the companion app and asynchronous multiplayer that was being heavily advertised earlier in development. No they didn't need to give them he tablets but that thought probably didn't register with whoever was running the event. Don't automatically attribute malice to that which can be explained by stupidity.

And I bet the reviews won't mention graphical downgrade at all once the game is out. And if they do mention the graphics they will praise it. As a PC gamer this doesn't affect me at all. But I'm still not gonna buy the game until the full version has been released. I can't stand Ubisoft's DLC policy.

MinionJoe:

Owyn_Merrilin:

The entire point of reviews is to have an honest assessment of whether or not something is worth buying. The games industry has a downright /nasty/ case of untrustworthy, bribed reviewers. Who then have a tendency to get upset if you suggest that maybe, you know, they've been bribed.

I agree. Reviews should be unbiased, otherwise it's called an advertisement.

But again, I ask: How would out-and-out bribing of game journalists change existing consumer habits?

Even when reviewers say a game is rubbish, people still run out in droves to buy it just because it's "the latest Assassin's Creed."

How would dishonest, paid reviewer advertisements change that?

I'd say it already has. The fact that nobody trusts professional reviews in the game industry is proof enough of that. If you look at other industries, people tend to listen to the likes of Consumer Reports, and even to film critics (if they can find one whose tastes align with theirs, anyway). In the games industry, it's all ads all the time, even in stuff labeled as unbiased reviews.

Shady garbage aside, this is why audience outrage matters. We changed the conversation with that free playstation tweets debacle. Now journalists are denying they took the gift, or saying that it's going to some charitable cause, rather than treating it as business as normal in the industry, which it basically was until the last year or two.

By god diddle-dy damn! Theyre in cahoots with the decepticons! Dont accept those little solders of doom.
To be honest, i would take those gifts and it wouldnt change a single opinion of the game as i have plenty of experience with others attempting to buy my acceptance. A heart of moonstone has got me this far in life and execs certainly dont tug my guilt strings any more than social groomers.

Am thinking this was an honest decision by Ubisoft that was instantly regretted as soon as they realised this looked like bribery, hence the stern denial

Watch Dogs preview event in the UK ...Watchdogs preview event in Paris

Was it in Paris or the UK?

In any case ... for serious? A t shirt I could understand, some silly model or art work and I am ok but a nexus 7? Was cash in hand too on the nose?

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