Shadow of Mordor’s shady, controversial brand deal: A closer look

With the immensely successful release of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor early last week, the game has been widely well-received by gamers and critic around the world. However, the Lord of the Rings-inspired open-world action-RPG has not been absent of controversy including, but not limited to, the game's PC review code brand deal.

Take a closer look at the content within Shadow of Mordor's brand deal contract.

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Ashlen1259d ago (Edited 1259d ago )

I knew this kind of stuff was going on but after seeing the letter itself and how it was worded and what they wanted I'm just shocked how blatant it all was.

I mean just imagine the kind of deals the larger websites are being pressured into/agreeing willingly to when big cash deals are going on for advertising.

It seems there is pretty much zero integrity in gaming media/journalism these days.

Anyways, great catch, interesting read.

DesertFoxJr1259d ago

I know. It's interesting for sure. Like you said, I'm wondering how often this goes on behind the scenes. I'm afraid we'll never truly know the full extent.

xxchicago33xx1259d ago

Well...this happens to be my area of expertise, so I feel obligated to comment. This is an advertising RFP. These types of content deals are completely separate from the editorial staff and are typically brokered by the sales staff at say an IGN and are never seen by someone doing the review.

This happens for every single game that runs advertising on every single gaming site...end of story. Jim Sterling is not unearthing some untold story or darkside of gaming. If anything this proves how disconnected the edit staff is from these deals.

xxchicago33xx1259d ago

To add, it does not mean they think the game is in trouble...if you are putting adevertising dollars behind your game you are clearly going ot put stipulations in the contract to show the game in it's best light...advertisers don't pay to show consumers shitty parts of their products...that is commonsense.

Ashlen1259d ago (Edited 1259d ago )

I appreciate your reply, but given that you work in advertising doesn't that kind of bias you to present a positive image of the situation?

There have been many cases several related to IGN where former editors and reviewers have admitted they were pressured by those above them to give good reviews for certain games in which the company had received money for advertising.

And there have been other publications that have been blacklisted from receiving pre-release game copies from certain game companies for giving poor reviews.

I'd say it's pretty well known and has been for years that these things are going on.

In reply to your add:

Yea, that's exactly it though, as a consumer I find paying someone to say something is good when it isn't to be dishonest. Especially in the case when it's not disclosed that said person was paid to say what ever they said.

And in sitting here thinking about this before I click send.

I'm a little dis-heartened that your so accepting of all this.

"So what if someone lies to your face as long as they sell a product..."

xxchicago33xx1259d ago (Edited 1259d ago )


I completely understand your sentiment...I truly do and I am accepting of advertising because it does keep me employed and with a in short I am a bit biased. Although, I can write a laundry list of things i hate about advertising.

I don't want to get into a debate of whether advertising is ethical or not...I get that enough. However, I can say there are a lot more checks and balances in place than appears to the consumer . I will not begin to attempt to refute what you are saying about 'certain' sites...but you need to keep in mind it goes the other way as well. Those 'certain' sites that don't get money coming out of those RFPs also have a tendency to give good games bad reviews for no reason...which is why they get blacklisted. 9/10 they are not being noble and sticking up for gamers...they are being dicks.

At the end of the day reviews and advertising are a lot more similar than different...and it really is up to the consumer to make their own informed decision.

Ashlen1259d ago

You'd have a hard time convincing me there are any serious checks and balances given all the things that have come to light over the years especially with as much (secret from the public) money as is going around in this industry.

But we both definitely agree "it's is up to the consumer to make their own informed decision."

Which is why I honestly stopped reading reviews years ago.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1259d ago
KiwiViper851259d ago (Edited 1259d ago )

Don't understand why they felt the need to do this, Shadow of Mordor is a great game and well deserving of the 9's its been receiving from various websites.

DesertFoxJr1259d ago

Exactly. It's as if PR thought SoM would do badly. A bit odd considering.

mafiahajeri1259d ago

Don't care, great game devs probably had nothing to do with this idiot pr people.

Roccetarius1259d ago

I think it shows that they had little confidence in the game, which is sad.