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Games companies refuse to support EGM magazine

Games companies refuse to support EGM magazine

First Gamespot, now this - EGM is claiming pressure from publishers for positive reviews.

The relationship between games journalists and games advertisers and publishers is a strange one and has come under scrutiny lately after a string of potential and actual scandals. Now there's more fuel for the fire.

Just after the whole Gamespot editorial scandal and the revelation that the editor of IGN is married to the VP of Nintendo's PR firm, Electronic Gaming Monthly has revealed that they too are under pressure from advertisers.

Editor-in-Chief Dan Hsu has written a column in the latest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly that names three publishers who have pulled support for the magazine after several bad reviews. Midway's Mortal Kombat development team, Sony's sports game division and the whole of Ubisoft have each apparently banned EGM from further coverage of their games according to Hsu.

Hsu has promised that the companies have not and will not be treated any differently to other publishers despite the ban.

So far the companies in question haven't issued an official statement about the ban, nor confirmed that it even exists. It does seem perfectly plausible though, if not a tiny bit evil.

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26 Comments

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LeMaltor 9th January 2008, 11:42 Quote
Make better products, then they won't get awful reviews.

Signed *whoever*

Would (are) bit-tech ever be in a position where advertisers can effect the score of a review (except not sending a product for review lol)? Anyone married to the maker of Bioshock? and the like :)
Bindibadgi 9th January 2008, 12:03 Quote
Never. C'mon you know that. Joe shoots straight from the hip.

We'd just review something else - there's plenty out there. Or we'd just wait until it's out and go buy it. Unlike these guys we don't rely on gaming as a sole source of content, although it is a big part of the site.
mmorgue 9th January 2008, 12:23 Quote
S'pose the next step is to start suing when a bad review is published. Companies might accuse reviewers of slander, defamation, bias and so on when one of their polished turds comes to market.

So much for unbiased, objective reviews...
PQuiff 9th January 2008, 12:24 Quote
LMAO..tool companies...do they think were not going to find out about their nefarious doings? Look what happened to gamespot. Like LeMaltor said, If they made better games( with a bit more originality..not fifa boodyXXXX) wed all be more happy.
CardJoe 9th January 2008, 12:28 Quote
True, dat. I give the truth of the matter no matter what - just yesterday I had to tell my parents that one of the books they got me for christmas was rubbish after the book round-up. Then I found out that the author is a head of a very big PR company too and could create trouble - but it didn't change the review, I just re-read it and made sure that my points were extra-clear and valid.

I tell the truth whenever I can and I'm very happy to enter into dialogues with readers about my review methods and scores. PMs or emails are always welcome.
Whalemeister 9th January 2008, 12:50 Quote
Talk about throwing your toys out of the parm!!

That's worse that 5 year olds in the playground "You said bad things about my game so you can't come to my party", if they released decent games then they would get decent reviews, is that concept just a little too complex for them?

As a side note it's funny that Sony sports division are part of the list as Stan Glasgow, Sony's COO, came out the other day saying "Our approach wasn't good. It failed and alienated many of you. We're sorry for that, and we spent most of 2007 taking a new approach - listening. We hope our 2008 product line shows that, but we aren't going to stop, either. If we didn't get it right, keep telling us. And if we did, tell us how we can make it even better." <-- Corporate BS for our sales are down please buy our stuff .

'nuff said!
Whalemeister 9th January 2008, 12:51 Quote
Oops, should say "toys out of the pram" was getting all excited dissing Sony ;)
Phil Rhodes 9th January 2008, 13:14 Quote
You will listen to the music we tell you to listen to.

You will play the games we tell you to play.

You will fight the wars we tell you to fight.

And we will brook no criticism.

- Yours, the Military-Industrial Complex...

(Yes, OK, I'm losing my sense of proportion, but for cluck's sake.)
munim 9th January 2008, 13:42 Quote
What the hell, man. How are we supposed to get unbiased reviews of games?
Drexial 9th January 2008, 14:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by munim
What the hell, man. How are we supposed to get unbiased reviews of games?

pay for a game play it and then throw it away like they want you to. doesn't matter how horrid a game is once they have your money.

besides i think most reviews of games are always biased in one way or another. there are a ton of games that got rave reviews that most people liked and a few didn't, and some that have received horrible reviews that some people like. even if there sint some behind the scenes corporate bias, the review it self is done by someone that needs to form an opinion.
TreeDude 9th January 2008, 14:54 Quote
The difference is though, a corporate bias means the games gets a good review every time. At least if it's someone's opinion they can love or hate it and give good reason why.

This reminds me of a pool game I had on the Dreamcast that I loved. But DC magazine gave it a 1 out of 10. I never understood why.
CardJoe 9th January 2008, 15:13 Quote
It's all opinion - but the point is that its not a corporate opinion and that the opinion is one of somebody with a massive background knowledge, understanding of the medium and the ability to express themselves. Some games I like too get bad reviews - like Sin Episodes. I love that game and I play it a lot. On the other hand though, I wouldn't give it a great score just because a company told me to and I would try as much as possible to detatch myself from opinion to form a review which is as objective as possible. Even if I then **** that up, I can fall back on the fact that I'm pretty close to the target audience and my opinions are very likely to mesh with the majority of them.
Tyinsar 9th January 2008, 15:51 Quote
A few things I always look for in games reviews are:
1) what the reviewer was looking for (graphics / sound / plot / complexity / interface / theme / play style / ...),
2) how those factored into their rating (& maybe what parts of the game didn't factor in their rating),
3) things I might be looking for that they didn't mention.

Usually I look at those and come up with my own rating. If a review doesn't cover at least the first two well it's a rubbish review.



Back to the original topic:
I'd like to have the companies make an official statement (as long as it's not %100 spin) before I make up my mind but if the claims are true these companies deserve the bad press - or no press at all.
Amon 9th January 2008, 16:48 Quote
Here's a question: Would Bit-tech bend a review to save their relationship with Asus and future reviews of their products? (This is a hypothetical scenario, but your answer should be genuine)
E.E.L. Ambiense 9th January 2008, 16:49 Quote
Yeah, I can recall a few reviews read here that the product was torn a new one, to put it scientifically. I didn't detect a slant to anything, aside from an enthusiast ego which is expected and welcomed ;)!

I have nothing against EGM at all, having read it a few times. I prefer PC Gamer, but still. Dropped advertising for slamming a crappy product? That is ass.
MilkMan5 9th January 2008, 16:56 Quote
Well, we all think that we would never do anything bad until it happens.
And when it does happen, we still believe that what we did was not bad.

Why, because you did it, so it must be Okay then.
CardJoe 9th January 2008, 17:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amon
Here's a question: Would Bit-tech bend a review to save their relationship with Asus and future reviews of their products? (This is a hypothetical scenario, but your answer should be genuine)

Nope. The whole issue is a hell of a lot more clean cut with hardware than with games because we always have benchmarks and hard data to back us up. PRs ring us every day to complain about stuff and we just explain, point to the results and leave it at that. If they can cast doubt on the reliability of our testing or our results then we'll work to get the most accurate data, but if the data is on our side then nothing more needs to be said.
TGImages 9th January 2008, 18:41 Quote
Does anyone rely on 1 review anyway? Until I have found a number of reviews written by different people and also some feedback areas where anyone can post their opinion I don't believe what I read. Now if most of that feedback corelates to the reviews then I will put more faith into the review.

This list of comments is a perfect example. A BT writer can put down whatever they want. Read what they wrote, then read these comments. If they seem to agree then the review was probably pretty close. If, on the other hand, the comments are pointing out all the inaccuracies, mistakes and other problems then the review is not worth paying attention to.
TGImages 9th January 2008, 18:42 Quote
.... and if the review does not provide for comments then it probably isn't worth reading.
scrumble 9th January 2008, 18:46 Quote
Theres only two things which I use as a guideline to buying a PC game:

User reviews: such as those on Amazon (admittedly you have to weed out the ones posted a year before the game is even released), Gamespot or other similar sites. But usually its the negative reviews that have the greatest sway, as they often point out bugs or flaws.

Try before you buy: I never buy a game without actually trying a demo first. If theres no demo available then I either don't buy it, or wait until someone I know has it. This is also the other reason I use bit torrent, if there isn't a demo I d/l the full game. If I like it I buy it, if not I delete it. :)

Proper reviews have very little impact on what games I buy. At best they point me in the direction of a gamen that looks interesting.
DXR_13KE 10th January 2008, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whalemeister
Oops, should say "toys out of the pram" was getting all excited dissing Sony ;)

use the edit button ;)

as for the news, i only have this to say: MAKE BETTER GAMES!!!!!!!!!>:(
cyrilthefish 10th January 2008, 17:27 Quote
There is one good thing about stories like this, it shows which reviewers are trustworthy :)

I've not ever read EGM, but this has made my opinion of them go up quite a bit
Tulatin 22nd November 2008, 17:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmorgue
S'pose the next step is to start suing when a bad review is published. Companies might accuse reviewers of slander, defamation, bias and so on when one of their polished turds comes to market.

So much for unbiased, objective reviews...

Companies almost do this already; except it's never a direct suit, but rather a slice into the revenue stream.

Sites are like magazines, they rely on advertising in order to pay the bills to pay the workers, power the lights, and keep the packets flowing. When you go and anger your primary payout, and they drop you, suddenly you're either in dire times, or your parent company is pissed.

This leaves you in a bit of a bad position. Do you tell the truth and gain the respect of the community, or do you kiss ass hoping they keep paying for you?

I'm sure that Bit hasn't been 101% perfect in relaying accurate opinions in past, but at least they've never been seen to accept blatant payouts to post reviews, like other Treview HsitesG have.
weasal 22nd November 2008, 20:08 Quote
Hasn't this always gone on? I'm sure another magazine pointed out that some companies delayed, or just didn't bother sending out copies of games before release to prevent poor reviews.

I'm not sure magazines and websites can really complain if they're reliant on publishers and manufacturers sending them copies. The only real way to avoid direct interference is to buy the game themselves (I believe this is what the likes of Which? do).
Bauul 24th November 2008, 14:26 Quote
I dunno... last time I saw the 'Tech guys I offered Bindi a free drink, next thing I know he's giving me over-the-top positive reviews to Joe's girlfriend!
Xtrafresh 24th November 2008, 14:42 Quote
That's strange... everytime I offer someone's girlfriend a drink i get very negative reviews :D

Anyway, stuff like this always amuses me. We all know these games are not made for the love of the game, but for money. These companies have gotten so big that the people making decisions are not used to getting "no" for an answer, let alone "u suck LOL". They behave correspondingly :p
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