While looking around the web, the following blog by 1UP’s Andrew Pfister caught my attention. It seems as if Midway was less than amused over the recent “lack of attention” that they’ve been getting from the guys at 1UP. See for yourself:
You may have noticed that we’re running a bit late on our Mortal Kombat Wii review…apologies for that. Why is it late?
Because Midway didn’t send the game to us for review. Apparently there were some bruised egos over there. Or a singular bruised ego. We’re not exactly sure. Someone felt left out when Milky talked about top-tier fighting games in some preview a while back and neglected to mention MK, and EGM didn’t score previous Mortal Kombat games as high as some of our competitors did. So Midway has decided to not send us review code at all as some sort of punishment. The message? “Give us better scores, or we won’t support you.”
We’re heading down to the store this afternoon to pick up a copy of the game to review, and we’ll give it a fair shake based on its merits. We just wanted to let you know what’s up.
My opinion on this whole fiasco, after the jump.
Now as you might expect, this got me thinking about the whole review thing, and the fine line that needs to be walked when dealing with such. If this news is indeed real, what does it say about the video game industry, and the reviews gaming journalists write?
Reviewers have a very real duty to provide unbiased coverage of up and coming video games. You the consumer, have a desire to get the professional opinion on whether or not a game is worth spending your time and money on. So what gives?
If this is indeed based on fact (and I’m certain this happens in the industry), then we have a bit of a problem here. In the case of Midway and Mortal Kombat (which by the way, I’m a big fan of), this sends out a negative message that some of the companies we look up to are not standing behind their products.
Worse than that, it tells me that there is a bit of moral decay and a degrading of the relationship between game developers and the gaming media. Now I’m not oblivious to the idea that developers are more likely to gravitate towards those that are going to say positive things about their games. After all, it’s human nature to do such.
However, this sort of practice of withholding the review code out of spite is just a bit petty (and counterproductive) in my opinion. Video game journalists are here to provide a service to the millions of potential gamers who want very much to hear about an upcoming product. Developers are in turn, eager to cultivate interest in the product they have been working diligently on for so long. As you see, we all have an interest in this.
Here’s to hoping that this sort of practice is just an aberration of the norm, and that this really isn’t what went down between Midway and 1up. Nobody wins in this kind of situation.