Exclusive game reviews ethically troubling?

Written by Joe Martin

April 28, 2008 // 11:52 a.m.

Tags: #exclusive #gamespot #gta4 #ign #variety

Games journalism has had a tough time as of late, with many alleging that the industry is spotted with corruption after the woefully-titled Gerstman-gate. The onslaught hasn't finished yet either as Variety call the practices of sites like IGN in to question.

Variety's Ben Fritz has pointed the finger at sites like IGN in a recent article on his blog, questioning the integrity of sites that offer 'exclusive reviews'. The very idea of an exclusive review is, Fritz says, ethically troubling.

"How can we trust a videogame review when the outlet running it has been given a major commercial favor — one that's worth money — from the publisher of the game? You never see a paper or TV station getting special access from a movie studio or TV network or book publisher to run an "exclusive review," " says Fritz.

"Imagine the L.A. Times or Roger Ebert touting their "exclusive review of 'Iron Man.'" Absurd, right? So why do we tolerate it for a videogame?"

Fritz references IGN as a clear example, a site which recently ran an exclusive review of Grand Theft Auto IV and gave the game a 10/10 score. He also talks about Game Informer, which gave Mass Effect a near-perfect score despite noting several problems with the game.

How do you decide who to trust when it comes to game reviews and what do you think about the notion of an exclusive review? Let us know in the forums.
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