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.”