I might be late to the party on how most of the gaming community feels towards game reviews and how the hierarchy of the video game media goes about presenting their opinions on blockbuster games. Maybe I’ve shielded myself from the inevitable truth, publishers like their games to do well and will shove money down every avenue to see it happen.
I’m still relatively young as a person and a journalist but have been around the gaming scene long enough to see the drastic change. While the majority of what has transpired has had a mostly positive impact, like the introduction of better technology and the increase of independently developed games, some of what hits the media tarnishes the integrity of what I and many others do, delivering honesty.
It’s become an interesting subject among gaming circles, how publishers have their pincers tightly grasped into the marketing of their games in areas usually out of their control. Supposedly, well-established reviewers fend off any advancement of money from a publisher to give their games the best possible score no matter how well developed the content is, but still in some shape or form are coerced by publishers.
According to an interview one industry insider had with Kotaku back in late-2012, publishers entice game reviewers with lavish parties, trips, and gaming-related swag, almost grooming them in an attempt to acquire a more efficient score. The heavily influential setting has the desired effect and one would leave an event with a more positive outlook on whatever game is being promoted.
It’s really plain to see if you know to look, even if it doesn’t hit the media spotlight as much as it should. Take journalist Jeff Gerstmann’s termination from Gamespot some years back, one that received plenty of coverage from other gaming outlets due to the supposed reason of dismissal, his reluctance to give an Eidos Interactive game a better score; at this time, the publisher had plenty of advertising money in Gamestop.
Another example is Rooster Teeth’s “The Patch” podcast that tore holes into Gerstmann’s review score for Fallout 4(3/5), believing he only gave such a score to receive attention, all three hosts saying this while they sat there with Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Editions strapped to their arms – check out the video for yourself here. Maybe the more experienced and thought-provoking reviewers are being replaced by entertainers, ones who can sell a game even if it’s not up to scratch.
Hell, I could just be paranoid and buying into the vicious circle of conspiracy theories involving gaming sites and publishers. Either way, the integrity of it all is numb to me now and everytime I hop onto one of the more popular sites I ask myself If I’m wasting a click, are the reviews on websites skewed from the constant allegations from the gaming community?
I’m not telling gamers to avoid reviews on sites likes IGN, Gamespot, or Polygon, just take a moment and think about it, are you being told the truth or fed lies?
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