Cruising around on QJ looking for the latest way to make my psp new again, i came across this "flip of the coin" explanation from the devs side about their justification for pressuring game reviewers...
Originally from a Sore Thumbs Blog article
by "anonymous guy from big publisher":
As someone who has worked on the marketing and PR for game publishers for many years, it’s fascinating to read Shoe and Crispin’s perspective on PR for games, and how publishers try to manipulate them to get big previews and good reviews. I have been one of those people, doing everything I can to get try game journalists to place my games on the cover of their magazines, extended previews, assets posted online and the scores as high as possible. I have pulled ad buys in protest of what I felt were unfair review scores. I have spoken to the “boss” of publications before, and complained about certain journalists. I have “banned” certain media outlets from getting pre-release access to games, because of previous unfavorable coverage.
OK, I can already hear the people posting in comments below. “Typical publisher scumbag! How dare you try to interfere with truth!”, they will cry. And they have a point. But the strategy behind a publisher’s efforts to pressure publications in the interest of a game does make sense in certain instances. Sometimes the efforts to control the message of a game comes from the most hardcore of gamers – the developers.
Right off the bat, it needs to be remembered that most serious games are projects that have involved dozens, if not hundreds of people for years (not talking about the licensed crap). The developer, in most cases, kills itself to get a game completed. Any good PR people working for a game publisher understand what a developer goes through, and should fight hard to get the game looked at by journalists fairly. This is not to say a bad game should get a free pass, but every game should be given a fair appraisal, with considerations made for target market and price.
What many gamers don’t understand is how busy journalists can be – and also how lazy. Lets say you have a game that takes 30 hours to complete, and reviewer plays 2 hours of it and gives it mediocre review based on the first few levels, just because he has 10 other games to review and can’t put in 20 hours. Or when seeing a game pre-release, the journalist complains about things in the game that are obviously work in progress. Or when an editor of a big games website gives his FPS guy a sim racing game to review. Or when someone looks at all the other reviews online for a game, and just follows the crowd by posting a similar review (look at what’s happening to Too Human right now… does that game deserve scores that bad?). These things happen all the time.
Now, good game journalists don’t do any of these things, but truth be told, there aren’t that many good game journalists. The most reputable ones (like Shoe and Crispin) are so inundated with requests from game publishers, that its inevitable that a publisher/developer will have to deal with the B (or C) team. And if they don’t act professionally, who can blame a publisher for fighting back with any means necessary? Wouldn’t you try to protect a game you care about, and feel is being slighted unfairly? The game journalist’s word means more than anything in terms of a game’s chance of success.
I think many people at developers believe that most game journalists know little about games (though to be fair, most PR people in games know even less). But people at game developers constantly complain about game journalists offering “ideas” in previews and reviews for how games should be improved, when they have no sense of how that is done. A great unspoken truth is that those involved in games development and publishing feel that many journalists feel a sense of entitlement – that they deserve to have their asses kissed because of the power they wield over the sell-in (convincing retail buyer to take a game) and the final sell through of games to gamers. The fact is game journalists – of which there are hundreds at the moment – are living off the blood sweat and tears of creative people who love games and regularly work 100 hours weeks. The fact they casually rip on a game gives others involved in the development and marketing process good reason to pissed.
The industry has been crying out for “real” journalism for a long time now. What this means to me is not harsher reviews, but thoughtful analysis about games, real knowledge of game development, and a deep history of playing games. And ultimately, gauging who the game would be fun for, and scoring it accordingly. I think today it requires a specialty – if you are a hardcore RTS players, look at only those kinds of games. If you are an editor-in-chief, find the right journalists and manage them properly. But no one expects this to happen any times soon – there is no journalism school for videogames
, and the Internet will breed more and more amateurs. So the battles will rage on!
THATS IT?! Thats the grand end-all-be-all argument from the "big publisher" I think the chewbacca defense would have worked better...
So if i like chocolate and strawberry, but favor chocolate more, this means my opinion of the shitty throat burning strawberry shake i drank the other night is invalid? Good games attract gamers because they are fun to play. I'm more of a platform and wipeout XL gamer, first RPG I ever played was Y's for the sega master system, guess what? After a month of no progress and continually dying, i wanted to break it into little pieces that I prayed in some alternate universe could be traded for Phantasy Star. Does this mean i don't like RPGs? Well considering the fact that the 1 game i have been playing almost non-stop with the little free time i have is Disgeaa.... Another example is my friend chad(not concelmo) who is not a gamer, has never been a gamer, BUT! i show him the official trailer for Spore and he immediately gets interested and says that it looks like alot of fun. So it would seem that game genre has nothing to do with how someone will feel about the game as long as the game is fun and engaging. Besides, shouldn't it be the developer and/or publisher's job to seek out the reviewer that they feel is best qualified in the first place?
Pretty weak final statement for sure. I admit i don't cruise around gaming sites like gamespot(ca$hwhore to the staff) and ign to see the point he's trying to make about what the majority of devs opinions of game journalists are, probably because i either don't care for their style in reviews or I'm just totally spoiled by what i consider assessments that are very close to how i would feel after playing said games, but really? should devs be allowed to complain at all? Ok, if there are grounds that a shitty review for game A was given by a journalist after being bribed by the publisher from competing game B, i can see where devs can start bitching.
But even publishers should know that by exiling
the very reason why they choose the sites their ad dollars go into, they eventually will see diminishing returns due to the credibility of that site going down the toilet. Or maybe I'm just thinking unrealistically and forgot about the bottom line. Kids, THIS is why non-dtoiders can't have nice things.
All said, i really feel this argument is moot and the brass tacks are for the most part, dropped by QJ's commenters
. Feel free to drop your own...