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Submitted by GmP 776d ago | news

'Reviewers should PAY for games'- Renaud Charpentier, Creative Assembly

Taking douchebaggery to a whole new level in the midst of the full on 'perfect storm' that has engulfed Youtube following their recent 'Copyright Blitzkreig', a lead developer at Creative Assembly has gone on record to take the lunacy and bitter reactions one step closer to the edge of madness by claiming ALL videogame journalists should actually PAY the developer for their review copies, or is it just the ones who delivered a negative score? (Casual games, Industry)

Attached Video
Mikelarry  +   776d ago
buhahahahahahahahah..... oh wait he was actually being serious BUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

EDIT: you see what i find really funny is the ps4 and xbox one were created with the idea of sharing game videos with friends and the internet by making sharing easier and now is the time these so called developers want to kick up a fuss REALLY !!!!!
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jimbobwahey  +   776d ago | Well said
I think making reviewers pay for the games they review might actually improve the review process. I mean the expected result is that because they paid for the game, they'd be more critical? I sometimes feel that reviewers give games too easy a ride just because they got the game for free, so they excuse problems that anybody who paid for the game would not.

Besides, it would also put reviewers in the position of then having to deal with whatever launch day problems the game has, rather than playing games in a closed environment where the multiplayer works flawlessly because it's via LAN rather than online servers.

I think it's far too common these days that because of my above points, games get scores that are far too generous.
Mikelarry  +   776d ago
while i see where you are coming from and your suggestion makes sense this same logic would then need to be applied to alot of other consumer goods we currently make use of that would mean only the well known will be reviewed as no-one will be willing to give the unknown brands a chance since they can only review a few now have to pay for the product.
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Bigpappy  +   776d ago
I believe that if they pay for the games, you should get a better review. Their is something about paying for things that makes you feel more attached. Plus it feels less like their are trying to please publishers.
admiralvic  +   776d ago
"I think making reviewers pay for the games they review might actually improve the review process. "

Fun fact and completely off the record, a lot of sites don't get every game for free and rarely know what or when we will get a game. When I was working for a decent / good site (100,000+ views a month), we had games come at completely different rates.

Ni no Kuni came a week after release.
Neverdead was a week after release.
Mugen Souls came 2 months before release.
We never got Twisted Metal, Starhawk, New Super Mario Bros. U, Animal Crossing, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Persona 4 Arena, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus, and many many many more games.

"I mean the expected result is that because they paid for the game, they'd be more critical? I sometimes feel that reviewers give games too easy a ride just because they got the game for free, so they excuse problems that anybody who paid for the game would not."

Sadly, it doesn't work that way. What typically happens is one of two things. Either the game gets more "genuine" praise, because the person reviewing it had to buy it out of pocket. At the same time, it's also possible it will get more hate because they had to pay for it. So while it might not have been a 2 - 4 out of 10, the simple act of buying it left such a bitter taste in their mouth that they had to take it out on the game and the score is so much lower. In the end, you will never find a fair line, nor will you find people (consumers or reviewers) willing to overlook massive problems because they like one or more aspects of the game.
admiralvic  +   776d ago
"Besides, it would also put reviewers in the position of then having to deal with whatever launch day problems the game has, rather than playing games in a closed environment where the multiplayer works flawlessly because it's via LAN rather than online servers. "

Most reviewers, at least the people below the "professional" IGN level, play largely the same game as everyone else. I reviewed for a site and got many review copies and I can tell you I rarely saw a game before release and if I did, it was extremely rare to see it more than 5 days before release. All of these games were retail games (more or less) and played no different than a copy I could buy in stores.

"I think it's far too common these days that because of my above points, games get scores that are far too generous."

The issue is how the community acts towards people that think contrary to them. Case in point, I thought Tearaway was way too short, needed more levels / content and probably should have been a $15 - $20 digital title. However, there are many people that agree with the 8+ review scores being accurate, even though they paid $40 dollars for it, versus the reviewer probably paying nothing. I am also sure there will be people who disagree with this comment simply because I didn't praise Tearaway, which many Vita gamers consider to be the Vita GOTY and some consider it the best title on the actual platform. I mean, the game is about 2 - 3 hours long with almost no replay value with a $40 dollar MSRP, yet it is averaging an 87 on Meta with a 9 average across 162 user reviews.

We're getting to a point where smaller websites don't want to step on toes (because that cost them views, money, status, and perks), which is enough to kill the site. The average site, not places like IGN, but a place like NowGamer (they're on Metacritic) don't offer writers a lot of perks. I've been doing this for 3+ years and outside of free review copies here and there, I've easily lost $1,100+ dollars writing for a gaming news site. There isn't a lot of money to be made and it's something people typically do because they enjoy doing it. This is why you see a lot of garbage editorials about top 10 this or flame bate articles, because these sites need to turn some sort of profit.

Even when I was working for my last site, you had to be the top contributor of the month to make a cent. Even then, which on average was 60 - 80 articles, the reward was a mere $60 dollars. This is roughly 1 day of work at minimum wage and it was entirely possible I could be 2 articles short of the minimum and end up with nothing.
SilentNegotiator  +   776d ago
Jim Sterling made an episode on why that is a completely ridiculous suggestion:
Reviewers could never afford that.

It would be great to see less reviewers give every game an 8+ because they paid for it themself and have realistic expectations, but then reviews would be infrequent from the same great reviewers, day one and beyond only, and less frequent.
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PockyKing  +   776d ago
As a reviewer myself, I can't say I agree with you. When you look at it from our perspective, readers want reviews of a lot of games ha, and with the amount of games some sites review, that'd be a ridiculous amount of money to spend and in the end, it wouldn't work and there'd be a lot less reviews and games being missed because of money issues.

I do see your point in thinking that way, but I'd be careful to generalize all reviewers in the same boat. Personally when I get a review copy I look at my readers as customers and want to be as honest about a product as I can be and want them to take our opinions credibly. That way they come back to read our other reviews and know we provide honest feedback, and more often than not, the developers really appreciate the feedback on their games so they can improve next time. Although, that's normally the way smaller developers look at it.

And as other comments said, we normally get the same game the consumers get, with the same bugs and patches you have to install.

So, all in all, it's really based on which reviewers you trust and opinions matches up with yours I guess. Obviously there's always different opinions, but as I've said numerous times, reviews should be about the quality of a game over whether you liked it or not.
Feldman9000  +   776d ago
not me. i started out reviewing by paying for the games. i don't give good scores for the simple fact i received the game. Credibility is important to me.
Prime157  +   775d ago
I agree. If they get a game for free they go easy on it. If they have to pay they feel the pain of all of us, but they are jaded because it wasn't free.

Median income in America (#1 @ $14bill market) is ~36,000 a year... if you had to buy a game on that income you'd appreciate it more...

I don't know, I think part of it is that people need to learn to "shop" reviews to find their own interests...

At the same time, you get well received games like journey that cause a studio to falter...

Edit: I'm talking to myself.. I screwed up as I contradict myself... I guess this is complicated...
Anon1974  +   775d ago
I'm not sure this is necessarily the answer, but it certainly beats the trend of reviewers demanding free copies and money for their review "services". Paid reviews are the norm for mobile game sites (trust me on that one).

Personally, I think if your review site is worth anything you don't need to charge for reviews.
Runa216  +   775d ago
Clearly you've never, ever been a game reviewer.
yeahokchief  +   775d ago
Well said indeed
Athonline  +   775d ago
If they start paying for their games, be more transparent what they bought, what they got for free it would be great for me.

Reviewers should get a couple of days for single-player in advance and only review multiplayer games post-launch.

Over the last years I kept coming across more and more "professional" webpages, biased, exploiting console wars and trends, misinforming people. Such sites in my opinion just hurt the communities, as they split gamers and report news/ review based on personal believes.

Even this article is extremely biased. Journalism should be neutral, stating facts and not personal opinions. For personal opinions, there are blogs, Facebook, Twitter and your good-old grandma, who will agree with you whatever you say.
snipermk0  +   776d ago
@AdmiralVic: Excellent post. I totally agree with you. I used to work for a gaming publication too and more often than not, we had to pay for games out of our pockets. I don't know why everyone of the common folk think that game reviewers are just sitting on a bed of free games.
Eonjay  +   776d ago
Thank God for PS4 streaming. Now I can get reviews from actual people and not just a select group of people who decide what to hype.
MidnytRain  +   776d ago
You could do that before PS4 streaming...
Eonjay  +   776d ago
admiralvic  +   776d ago
"not just a select group of people who decide what to hype."

Indeed, the select group of people with $100 or so dollars to spend to buy a HDPVR.
Eonjay  +   776d ago
Point taken
Prime157  +   775d ago
I noticed you got more disagrees. I really don't think those people understand what $100 means to the median (edit: 50% Mark, yes, I do think i have to explain median to a "large" minority of people) household income.

I've lived on both sides of that line... the <40k line sucks, especially when supporting another human. You have to decide if you want that hdpvr or that $800 tv, or that game, or that sofa, or those phone accessories, or that phone plan, cable plan, which console you want, which graphics card (all similar to your monthly rent and expenses, and equal to 2% of your yearly income).
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TheGamingHeretic  +   776d ago
Unfortunately, This fight is as old as time. It also is amazing to me how developers can be so short sighted to think that reviewers are out to get them. I understand the emotion that is tied to putting your heart and soul into something. However, if it's bad - it's bad. That's just the way it is. Even reviewers like 'Angry Joe' (from The Angry Joe Show) aren't out to destroy games. You can truly tell he loves it when a game is awesome.

Also, speaking on behalf of a brand new Game Review Website - we have to buy the majority of the games we review. Only the really really big ones get it free, especially from AAA titles.
Hicken  +   776d ago
Well, if you're already paying, it's nothing different, right? What would be your complaint, since it would put bigger sites in the same boat as you?

Some reviewers aren't out to destroy games... but some are. Tom Chick is one, William Usher is another(though I think he's just a massive troll), so's Arthur Gies over at Polygon, and I'm sure there are plenty of others that could be named.

To me, too many reviewers have become opinionated and full of themselves. They think they're more important than they are, and it's led to a rather crappy reviewing ecosystem(which is pretty in-line with gaming journalism, in general). Sessler's ranting prior to the PS4 release is indicative of that attitude.

Let em pay for the games. What's it gonna hurt them? Maybe, as someone else said, they'll be more critical- and thus, more fair- since they have to invest in these games just like us normal people.
TheGamingHeretic  +   776d ago
I would counter that the reasoning is that by allowing free games, then critics are able to do more reviews and give more press to both good and bad games. It doesn't limit their ability to expand.

The only people that requiring full payment of games would hurt are the smaller critics that most people consider to be 'honest'. IGN would not be to badly impacted by this, nor would any other major outlet. However smaller outlets (such as The Gaming Heretic) most assuredly would and you would just have even less 'true journalism'.

It decreases the ability of smaller organizations to do reviews and thus hurts gaming overall as only bigger outlets can afford to give their reviews because they can afford it.
Prime157  +   775d ago
I think there is an issue we aren't seeing. Very, very few critics get THE MAJORITY free.

In that being said, wouldn't you go into a game with a bias because said publisher or studio made you buy to review?

@thegamingheretic, "The only people that requiring full payment of games would hurt are the smaller critics that most people consider to be 'honest'. "

I disagree simply because those smaller critics already pay for most of their games. Time, money, and notoriety...
XiSasukeUchiha  +   776d ago
WTF damn what wrong with this world , it's going upside, 180 , and over the top hopefully if this true make it good pay.
B1663r  +   776d ago
Reviewers should disclose if they got their game and hardware for free in addition to how they get paid.

In addition to that, PS4 game reviewers should indicate if they went to the PS4 press only launch event, and received a 3 night vacation in a 5 star hotel, and the monogrammed PS4, basically if they took part in the extravagant gifting that Sony engaged in right before the launch of the new consoles.
Crazay  +   776d ago
forgive my ignorance but can someone tell me who this mook is?
Sly-Lupin  +   776d ago
No idea. But -some- context might help you.

He works for Creative Assembly.
The developers of the Total War games.
They recently released "Rome 2: Total War." With lots of expensive day 1 DLC. And lots of pre-release footage filled with lies. And the game itself was garbage at EVERY level.

So, naturally, he's angry that the journalists who got review copies then reviewed CA's shitty game poorly.


...Ha, ha, ha. I'm just kidding with you. In reality, virtually all of the big gaming media sites masturbated furiously to Rome 2 Total War, essentially giving the game a free pass. The only legitimate "pro" review is Angry Joe's.

Maybe he's angry that those reviewers sprayed their metaphoric ejaculate all over Rome 2 without actually playing the game? Steam statistics prior to release show some interesting stats fro the review copies, for example:

-Only 31% of reviewers played the game for more than 1 hours.
-Only 25% fought a battle without auto-resolving.
-Only 18$ played the campaign for 20 turns (which is like 1 hour of play time).
-Only 2% completed a campaign objective (which can usually be done in 2 or 3 turns).

In other words: this guy is as full of hot air and shit as CA's latest game. (New DLC on sale on steam right now! Only $14.99!)
Knightshade  +   776d ago
We gave it a 66% under our old review metrics. We've recently went back to the board and made sure that we are fully using the scale, meaning it'd likely get a lower score now.
Crazay  +   776d ago
A fair and well rounded explanation. thank you
Xof  +   775d ago
@Knightshade: Please. Your review begins with "At its core, Rome II is not a bad game."

Which is patently false. There is literally nothing about Rome 2 that is well-done. It's a massive step backward from Shogun 2 in every respect.

You also published that review nearly three weeks after the game launched, so you're not really relevant to this problem, are you?
Sly-Lupin  +   767d ago
Major agree w/ Xof here. Rome 2 is an unmitigated disaster. Anyone who thinks the "core" of Rome 2 is good has absolutely zero standards and/or understanding of the strategy genre.
Rhaigun  +   776d ago
I actually agree with him. I pay for my games. So should they. They certainly make enough money from advertisers and subscriptions.
Crazay  +   776d ago
I get free review copies of games. I certainly am not rolling in the dough. We barely make enough to pay for annual hosting and domain renewals. But it's not about making money for us, it's about the love of the hobby.
Rhaigun  +   776d ago
Then get a day job. I have no sympathy for people with this "job". I review games for the fun of it too. I just don't expect to make a living at it. Nor do I expect anything given to me for it either.
Aleithian  +   776d ago
@Rhaigun. You clearly don't understand the notion of an economy of services.

What constitutes a real or day job? Laboring? Producing? Investing capital? Working 9-5? Having a "career"?

Providing a service, of whatever sort, has just as much intrinsic economic value as any other form of laboring. This service can be psychiatry, teaching, customer support...or reviewing, among others. Reviewers provide a service - the activity involves a creation of value where no value existed, and the trading of that value to others. They provide a service both to publishers and to consumers. Their job is just as "real" as that of a lumberjack or coal miner, or any other stereotypical job you want to cite. The terms of that service are agreed upon by all involved: the publishers, the reviewers, and the consumers.
Crazay  +   776d ago
I have a day job thanks. Don't recall actually bitching about anything. Just stating that we don't make all kinds of money off it. We started it as a fun little side thing, then some companies reached out to us asking if we wanted some free things. Who are we to turn down what's offered.
admiralvic  +   776d ago
@ Crazay

I've also been doing this for years and I know the site I worked at before use to make roughly $12 dollars profit a month.

@ Rhaigun

"Then get a day job. I have no sympathy for people with this "job"."

Most people do and several people buy games out of pocket. Though we can get on an endless debate of who deserves what and what is and is not fair.
Rhaigun  +   776d ago
I'm more inclined to agree with your sentiment than Crazay's. I'm just tired of all the whining coming from reviewers lately. Like Sessler, for example. Now, everyone can easily post reviews (of games they bought without expecting anything) which he obviously has problems with. Why? Because the money train will dry up. And, with good reason. Most of us (gamers) are tired of the "paid for" reviews.

Crazay - You should count your blessings. Because it doesn't sound like your business model is sustainable. My advice, broadcast from a PS4. It's free. The games won't be, but in my opinion, they shouldn't be.
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admiralvic  +   776d ago
@ Rhaigun

I completely understand where you're coming from. I do this "job" because I enjoy doing it and want to make sure I cover things I want to do. This is also why I run a YouTube channel (which I don't make a cent from), just so I can get the things I want to be covered out there. However, thanks to people like Adam Sessler, I always feel bad when I see people make these sweeping generalizations about "journalists" (I never liked this term, we're basically game marketers, but this is another topic for another day). This should be a job you enjoy doing, not one where the perks outweigh the "duty". Would I turn down a free PlayStation 4? Of course not, who would? But I am not going to sit around crying to anyone that I didn't get one for free.I bought my Vita / 3DS / Wii U / PS4 on day 1 for MSRP like everyone else and didn't have a problem doing that. I think a lot of the smaller sites feel the same way, which is one of many reasons people should stop thinking sites like IGN are the end all beat all source of information and instead go with a less established site ran by people "closer" to the average consumer.
Crazay  +   776d ago
What are you on about dude?

"Count my blessing"? For what? "Business Model"? Say again? What business? It's a hobby site that my friends and I do when we have time. We're not trying to make a living of it. We love games and like discussing them and voicing opinions.

We make enough money pay $9 per year for domain registration and $60 for the hosting? We'd likely still be doing it even if we weren't getting that. We literally do it for fun. We do get some freebies but not all of them. In fact, we pay for about 90% of all games we post about and 100% of any hardware.
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Rhaigun  +   776d ago
You should have said all of that in the beginning, and left out the whole "I get free copies of games" statement.

This article and my original comment weren't directed towards little guys like you. I'm talking about the guys (Sessler, IGN, Gamespot) that can afford it.

However, I think it ruins the integrity of the process though. Even for you. You're less likely to review a game as 2/10 if you get it for free. Doing so might mean a publisher withholds the right to give you another game for free. It's just a shady way to earn better scores.
Baccra17  +   776d ago
I don't see why they don;t pay for games as it is. Since they are a business they can write it off, and it would make them kiss developers asses far less. But that's never going to happen, they are going to continue being salesmen and kiss asses instead of actual reviewers till the end.
lizard81288  +   776d ago
lol, no.

I wouldn't mind a small fee, say $5, but paying top price is no. Think of how many games come out a month, then (you can mostly) multiply that by 60 and that is how much money you'd be spending.
STK026  +   776d ago
If you have reviewers pay for their games, I assure you smaller or more niche games will simply not be reviewed by major outlets, limiting their exposure and possibly hurting their sales. Sure, giving reviewers free copies of your game might seem like it can makes them slightly biased, but since most publishers/developers seem to do it, it doesn't seem like a major issue.
inf3cted1  +   776d ago
Reviewers should pay at least 20% of the game. Sometimes I see some games getting reviewed and getting high scores, but many never take into consideration the price point.
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Dirkster_Dude  +   776d ago
This developer sounds like an idiot for most of his comments. However, 1 point I think worth considering is that reviewers should pay full price of the game they review. Whether it is work or fun they are still playing the game and I don't see why they shouldn't have to pay for it. The main reason is this is the STORE BOUGHT VERSION reviewed. For some of the smaller critic sites they are almost definitely buying there own copies if by the simple expedient of going down to the local retail store and picking it up.
Knightshade  +   776d ago
If this happened you'd have IGN and Polygon and very little else. Many games would never get coverage, and you'd never get an independent voice. Is that honestly what you want? Instead of restricting and eroding the industry, reward sites that do reviews properly and leave ones that don't. My writers get games that I send them for the cost of writing the review, but I expect them to fully quantify their piece. It goes through a rigorous editing process before it is released, and we hand out reviews that are appropriate. I handed Fighter Within a 15% out of 100 and wrote a 1500 word review to dig into the 'why'.

If I had to buy every game my guys review (because I'm not passing the cost to them - it's my business that I run out of MY pocket) I'd simply close the doors. Adding that cost on top of tech support, hosting our own servers, bandwidth costs, etc. etc. etc. would obliterate any chance of survival.
Aleithian  +   776d ago
Whether reviewers get free copies of games is a business decision to be made between the publisher and the reviewers. If Creative Assembly doesn't want to distribute free copies, they are merely making a business decision. That the industry has moved toward distributing free copies is a consensus arrived at on the basis of economic calculation. It serves the interest of the companies to distribute free copies, facilitating increased sales and thus a greater overall return, and it serves the interest of reviewers because it provides them with an avenue toward a career (insofar as reviewing is part of the broader career of video games journalism).

There is NO moral component to this question, and any attempt to render this a moral issue, either by the publisher ("the reviewer enjoys our product and therefore ought to pay for it") or the reviewer ("I'm providing a service and therefore deserve a free copy") is misguided. Reviewers have no right to a free copy: to receive a copy at all they must undertake a voluntary transaction with the distributor/publisher. This involves either paying for the product or, as is typically done, exchanging a service for the copy by agreeing to review it. The distributor/publisher has a right to demand payment for the product, because it is their product. They may, of course, distribute the product free-of-charge, if they so choose, or in exchange for a service - or, if they wish, for cash, for specie, for bitcoins, or for whatever.

As usual, what is a very simple situation is blown way out of proportion. There is no SHOULD here - only a business transaction. A transaction, incidentally, that has been working perfectly well for a long time.
JohnS1313  +   776d ago
Why did Nintendo have to create this big mess? Everything was fine until they started their nonsense a few months ago.
Gamer666  +   776d ago
I agree that reviewers should pay for the games... It would get rid of the pathetic amateurs that call themselves "reviewers" and "journalists" and it would add the kind of objectivity to reviews you can't get with the current free copy system...
azshorty2003  +   776d ago
I think they should pay. It would make them more inclined to be critical of things and would actually get them to play more of the game instead of many that only play a level or two and slap out a review.
Kenshin_BATT0USAI  +   776d ago
Reviewers do usually pay for games. Their review copies aren't theirs to keep. That's just stupid.
xPhearR3dx  +   775d ago
lol yes they are. Every game I've reviewed I got to keep. Some hardware companies may require you to return the hardware, but games? Nope. They send you a free copy, a reviewers "guide" with all the info you need about the game, and sometimes a little swag.
Kenshin_BATT0USAI  +   775d ago
Do tell which review site you work for. I'm genuinely curious.
dragon82  +   775d ago
It doesn't matter what site he worked for. That is standard practice for reviewers. They get games shipped to them with instruction on what they are allowed to review and what assets are allowed to be used in the review. The copy of the game is then theirs to keep after the review is posted. Some sites may require the individual reviewer to give the game back to them for whatever reason but not the publishers.
lodossrage  +   775d ago
They SHOULD pay
There is no reason that they shouldn't. It's like when sessler and a few other reviewers cried because Sony didn't give them free PS4 systems.

Game companies aren't obligated to provide systems and games to them free because they aren't employed by said companies. Whoever these reviewers work for should be the ones to find a way to provide these things for them.
ELpork  +   775d ago
Uhhh they do? I had guys from GI come into both game stores I worked for (Both Gamestop and a mom and pop). As well as a guy from destructoid. This dudes high as hell...
il-JumperMT  +   775d ago
I agree they should pay for the games and not get freebies to sway the review in their favour.
GraczWatch  +   775d ago
Reviewer should never pay for reviewed content. Why? Because of small psychological mechanism called Post-Decision Dissonance.
Just google it.
Of Course not every reviewer has this luxury...
Tzuno  +   775d ago
Hey Mr. Stupid, reviews are made to make yourself a idea about the game letting you decide if its worth a buy. If the game is trash you want money? :))))) think it the other way, if the game proves to be really good that guy that reviews it is making you a favor for free letting everyone to know that your game is worth a buy and that brings money to your pockets. you know how much advertising cost these days...
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wannabe gamer  +   775d ago
I agree only cause there are way too many people doin reviews that have no business doing them.
LAWSON72  +   775d ago
A lot of reviewers get payed to review games so they would have to buy something to keep doing their job. Sounds stupid if you ask me even though some people probably has a job that works that way

Imagine going to work and being given 5 games to review and you have to buy all of them or you ain't getting paid
dragon82  +   775d ago
Reviewers getting free games to review does not bother me nearly as much as a reviewer who half asses his/her play time and then reviews a game. This happens with games all the time. An example is Gran Turismo 5. I know of a certain review that gave the game a 10/10 after playing two hours of A-Spec and an hour of B-Spec. How on earth can you give an accurate review of a game as deep as Gran Turismo after a grand total of three hours of gameplay?? This happens with other games all the time.

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1h ago - NCSoft's MMORPG Blade and Soul was only released a few weeks ago, but has reached over two millio... | PC