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View Full Version : Limitations to what reviewers can say in mags...What?



swlovinist
06-02-2008, 10:10 PM
link to the joystiq article:
http://www.joystiq.com/2008/06/02/egm-delays-mgs4-reviews-konamis-limitations-cited/


I thought this was an interesting tidbit of info: Supposedly in EGM, the reviewers could not express their opinions about MGS4 in the June issue. This raises some questions that I have suspected, but What the heck? If game reviewers cannot be transparent about video games in their reviews, then why bother? I know that in the past there has been alot of pressure on mags and websites on what they can and cant say. Even though I am not a huge fan of EGM, I think that any publisher should have the right to say what they want about a game, and not be restricted on what they can personally say. If a game company threatens a game mag on what they can say or not say...that is utter pure crap. A game magazine should not have to worry about what they say about a video game from the company that makes the game...doesnt this defeat the purpose of doing game reviews?


I know that this is not a new issue, but with increasing pressure on a game to sell well with competition...do you think there is a limit on what right a game developer has to pressure a game magazine?


Personally if there a problem with a game, I think a magazine has every right to let the consumer know(before the game is relesased) the game has XXXX problem wrong with it.

I always have thoght of it strange when a major mag "waits" to do a highly anticipated review until the actual game is released several weeks...

roushimsx
06-02-2008, 10:18 PM
I always have thoght of it strange when a major mag "waits" to do a highly anticipated review until the actual game is released several weeks...

There's gotta be some kind of NDA of some variety for the publication to get a game so far ahead of release date. In some instances (like this one), it'll be overly restrictive and assholish, so the publication (like EGM) will opt to fulfill their obligation with some blurb (or in this case, a fairly decent little cross talk) and then mention that the full review will be in the next issue (when the game has been released and the NDA no longer applies).

Big up on EGM for telling Konami to go fuck themselves with their restrictions. Right now there's only rumors about what those restrictions were, but I guess we'll find out for sure what the skinny is in under 2 weeks. Can't fucking wait.

edit - I'm also really interested in reading the fully detailed review in the next issue of EGM, though it was nice to see them address the issue and talk fairly candidly (within the limitations of the NDA!) about their experiences with the game in this issue. I wonder how much of that information will be expanded on in the full review.

TonyTheTiger
06-02-2008, 11:39 PM
I understand if the restrictions were about actual content in effort to avoid spoilers or outing "secrets" the game might contain. But to restrict talking about the HDD installation or cut scene length seems pretty strange.

Borman
06-03-2008, 12:10 AM
I dont think its anything that unusual. No worse then listing the bugs that are "being addressed" in the Review copies that the press uses. For instance, for the one MLB review disk I have, it has a full 2 pages worth of bugs. Hard to give a fair assessment when its that bad.

Icarus Moonsight
06-03-2008, 12:12 AM
It's a tightrope. Either you can be unabashedly honest and risk losing advert revenue or you can earn a reputation for being a softball publication that favors the industry over the consumer. The backlash from the industry can hurt, although, it's mostly short-term. The backlash on the consumer end can be devastating because how are you going to sell adverts in a publication nobody buys, subscribes to or even reads?

IMO, honesty is the best policy. But, good luck selling that philosophy to the money guys at top who run the shit. LOL


I dont think its anything that unusual. No worse then listing the bugs that are "being addressed" in the Review copies that the press uses. For instance, for the one MLB review disk I have, it has a full 2 pages worth of bugs. Hard to give a fair assessment when its that bad.

I can see your point there. But, seeing how common it is for a game to go from buggy beta/early-review copy to gold has to be addressed and in reviews, flaws should be pointed out. With or without caveats. If you put "review" on the disk and expect to get passes because it's still "WIP" then you're a moron.

Berserker
06-03-2008, 12:32 AM
It's a tightrope. Either you can be unabashedly honest and risk losing advert revenue or you can earn a reputation for being a softball publication that favors the industry over the consumer. The backlash from the industry can hurt, although, it's mostly short-term. The backlash on the consumer end can be devastating because how are you going to sell adverts in a publication nobody buys, subscribes to or even reads?

IMO, honesty is the best policy. But, good luck selling that philosophy to the money guys at top who run the shit. LOL

I would have to agree with you there. I mean, ideally, the journalistic material in question shouldn't be the strictly-controlled mouthpiece of the subjects we depend on them to be critical of. :)

That just struck me as some kind of strange understatement. Like yeah, in my humble opinion, people should hit the brakes at red lights... LOL

It just doesn't strike me as another idea that needs to be pitched to the brass, but more like the defacto thing you'd want to aim for if you want people to buy your shit and take you seriously.

Icarus Moonsight
06-03-2008, 05:18 AM
I would have to agree with you there. I mean, ideally, the journalistic material in question shouldn't be the strictly-controlled mouthpiece of the subjects we depend on them to be critical of. :)

That just struck me as some kind of strange understatement. Like yeah, in my humble opinion, people should hit the brakes at red lights... LOL

It just doesn't strike me as another idea that needs to be pitched to the brass, but more like the defacto thing you'd want to aim for if you want people to buy your shit and take you seriously.

You really should stop at yellows unless it's unsafe to do so, but I get the idea. It sounds stupid to say aloud because, in a rational world, it's nearly a given. Some folks tend to have very narrow/shallow vision when they deal in certain things. For a print publication I'm sure most sales workers would say, "Damn next months sales! I need to make my sales quota THIS month!" While the head guy is talking to the sales supervisor/director because he needs last months advert sales figures to present at a shareholder/board meeting. He don't care about the eggs, he just wants a head count on the chickens. They are basically bipedal goldfish in suits. LOL Can't remember the past, not concerned about the future. It's all about NOW and I-ME-MINE. What THEY need to make themselves seem like a productive asset. There is also the common trend of "We can't offend anyone!" to deal with. They are giving you their business... Don't they deserve a fluff once in a while? Some even go so far as to call the practice, Customer Service. ;)

BydoEmpire
06-03-2008, 06:35 AM
Not surprising since it's a business in which the only source of revenue is advertising the same products they review. I find myself agreeing with "professional" reviewers less and less with each passing year, anyways, though I don't think this has much to do with it.

Nature Boy
06-03-2008, 11:50 AM
If the VG press wants to be taken seriously it has to start getting revenue from non-video game related sources. How can we ever believe they're objective when 90% of the ads come from the entities they're supposedly critiquing?

Plus they have to stop with the preview articles and whatnot. Regardless of where their revenue comes from, if they want to see a game prior to release the publishers can limit what can and can't be said. I don't know what you replace it with but someone out their smarter than myself could probably brainstorm 6 different ideas by lunch...

When I read or listen to sports related journalism I never worry that the team or the league is going to censor the sportscaster in any way. Without that same level of independence for a VG reviewer they might as well be some poster on a message board for how serious I can take them...