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Release Day Embargoes Are Anti-Consumer — Why Defend Them?

An opinion piece via EGMR in which the author looks at Assassin's Creed: Unity's post-release embargo and discusses why it's a bad practice that needs to be looked at.

Quote: "Remember that erring on the side of caution is not being negative, it’s being smart. You only lie to yourself when you defend bad business practices, and it’s not as if publishers are looking out for you or something. So please, do yourself a favour and stop that. And let’s pressure publishers into stopping this anti-consumer practice in its steps before it gets wholly out of line. Because I for one am tired of seeing this, and sure we get our Sunset Overdrives and our Call of Duty: Advanced Warfares but it’s just not enough to excuse nor justify all the other underwhelming games that gamers could, at the very least, have known about before committing to their purchases. "

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Mikelarry1104d ago

"I mean really now, if the likes of Kotaku and Polygon can actually agree on something then maybe there’s a real and sincere problem here. This isn’t helped at all by reviews for the game being quite underwhelming."

Yup that exactly what i thought polygon and kotaku are always getting dogged but this time they stood up and called out ubisoft BS, i had to commend them

3-4-51104d ago

I still check review scores just to see what others think, but if I want to play a game and it gets a 6/10.....I'm still most likely going to give it a try unless the bugs are literally game breaking.

I played Dozens of NES/SNES/Sega/N64 games without ever checking a score or review.

Back then you would see a game that looked interesting and you took a chance on it.

Because of that, Developers really had to make sure there game was fun and worked well.

Word of mouth was bigger than with no internet.

ArchangelMike1104d ago

There a two things that have to be considered, and which I think affect this whole issue.

1) Do we need (scored) reviews at all?
2) Do we need to buy games on Day1 ?!

Developers, Publishers and gamers alike, all put too much emphasis on scored reviews, and because of that everyone and the market is easily manipulated . A game get a 7/10 and OMG it must be rubbish!!!!! Give a game 10/10 and watch the advertising dollars roll in.

On the gamers end, there's really no need at all for the Day 1 madness. As a consumer it pays to take your time when purchasing goods. I know the publisjers will bribe you with pre-order incentinves, but usually these become available later anyway, and by then the game is patched and has a price drop.

Mikelarry1104d ago (Edited 1104d ago )

You are right but as consumers some feel the need to have an item before everyone else, case in point cod day zero edition really... I mean like really but I digress as I am about to go into a rant.

the hardcore cod fans with that 24 hour window can rank up and prestige 10 times before other gamers get access this is the kind of thinking that has led us to where we are now and why publishers are able to get away with some of these rubbish.

I think we need reviews especially now because of some of the BS these publishers try to pull " please don't believe all the reviews destiny opens up after level 20" or the recent release of ACU. also I believe we need reviews more than ever since these publishers want to be releasing the same crappy title every year, day light robbing us with eye watering prices on DLC for their trash.

for this gen what I am having to do now is wait months to get game of the year editions to even get the complete package of games

Godmars2901104d ago

"1) Do we need (scored) reviews at all?"

Given that more than a few sites have given what appears to be a very broken game passing reviews, I say that being concerned about scores is redundant. A lot of people seem to have been asleep at the wheel.

"2) Do we need to buy games on Day1 ?!"

This is what the industry is pushing. Regardless of obvious consequence like bad/broken games. It needs to stop period but likely wont.

die_fiend1104d ago

Do we need reviews at all?

Would you prefer to be buying games completely blind? You don't have to purely base your purchasing decision on someone else, but without stating the obvious, there's a reason that games like The Last of Us get rated so highly - because they're great.

Do we need review embargos?

Not from the consumer's perspective. There is no benefit to us in this practice, it's to ensure sales. Ubisoft embargoing a game until late in the day of release is taking the biscuit, and the scores reflect this. Far Cry 4 reviews (same publisher) however, go up a few days ahead. Just watch how much better they will be.

Do we need to buy games on Day 1?

If you've been waiting for ages for a game to come out and you've got the money to spare, why would you wait around? The best developers don't ship things that are broken. I hardly cracked open Uncharted 2 on launch day and though 'gee whiz, wish I wasn't playing this right now' That's just not the nature of the industry - games take a long time to make, the only people I know that really want a game and wouldn't get it don't have the spare cash.

sigfredod1104d ago

To have embargoes for release day kills the purpose of sending a copy to a reviewer before everybody else, if he is unable to write his thoughts about the game, it doesn´t make any sense at all, gamers and journalists should unite and kill this practice

MasterCornholio1104d ago

The problem here is that some journalists like getting invited to a fancy hotel to play a game so they can write a review on it. Plus the ones that dont get the game early so it allows them plenty of time to write the review beforehand. This is the main reason why some journalists will never go against the practice.

jeeves861104d ago

The article is talking about embargoes that lift on the release day, not embargoes entirely.

"getting invited to fancy hotel to play a game."

Hahahahahaha! About 90% of the time they're given a review copy of the game.

Death1104d ago

The fancy hotels being used for review purposes are used so reviewers can review the completed game. The same thing could be done in an abandoned warehouse with no heat. It would have the same but opposite affect of the nice hotel. The environment the game is played in shouldn't have any impact on a "professional" reviewer. The same holds true with freebies offered by companies to reviewers. If you can be bribed with swag, you have no right reviewing games in the first place.

Dudebro901104d ago

Anti consumer? Are you kidding? People really should get a grasp of what that actually means, because considering the fact reviews are completely not necessary to make a purchase of a product, and in no way can ever negate you from purchasing a product, its impossible to say its anti consumerist.

Good grief.

Death1104d ago

Reviews are not necessary to make a purchase, but they do help people make an informed decision. By making it more difficult to make an informed decision, that is anti-consumer. The same holds true for the people making fake reviews or letting their bias impact their review. That is just as anti-consumer as blocking reviews from being done in a timely matter.

Dudebro901104d ago

Again maybe you should talk to someone in the sales industry because your view of anti consumerist is flat out wrong.

Reviews are not necessary in the act of making a purchase. A review does not condone or block the sale of a video game. Therefore it is impossible to say its anti consumerist.

Since reviews can be posted by literally anyone is many different forms, it cant be considered a way to block consumers, so once again, it cant be called anti consumerist.

Thats like saying if Ubisoft gave a game a month early to reviews because they knew it was so bad, and wanted to get the bad word of mouth out of the way, so that becomes anti consumerist, which again doesnt stop or somehow harm the consumerist from purchasing the game. Their rights have not been violated in any way.

Its a fact, not an opinion.

Spotie1104d ago

Point is: it's not anti-consumer. It's not as if you have to wait a week before you can read reviews. It's day 1; hell, you could wait a few freakin hours. If you're that freakin impulsive, you've only got yourself to blame.

I don't even like review embargoes, though I could understand for story-heavy games. But to say they're anti-consumer is going too far.

jeeves861104d ago

Like it or not, there are people who rely on reviews to help them decide whether or not to pick up a game. And there are also people who want to get the game first, either via a midnight launch or a going to the store first thing in the morning to buy it, or pre-loading it through Steam.

A review embargo prevents any sort of criticism from someone who's actually played the finished game, because before that review everything that you've heard about the game has been finely curated press material designed to sell you the game. It could be a broken piece of horse shit, and you wouldn't know until you read a text review or watched a video.

Would you still buy a game if you read in a review that it was glitchy and broken?

LightofDarkness1104d ago (Edited 1104d ago )

It's a high-level bait and switch, in many ways. Paying for positive press and advertising, to make an unfinished or less than desirable product seem far greater than it is, and then not allowing anyone to rate or speak to that product's quality in an environment where a large number of a game's customers are encouraged to pre-order is a toxic, anti-consumer practice.

There are plenty of practices that are forbidden in consumer laws and sale of goods acts that do not fit your narrow view of what is anti-consumer.

1104d ago
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