The veteran reviewing crew at VGRHQ explains the difference between a bribe and promotional material, and why it really doesn't influence review scores.
Earlier today / yesterday I posted that I was worried VGRHQ would be a counter productive site and after reading this article (which I can only assume was written by Fathoms...), I feel like I made the right call... Anyway, I think the article is trying to downplay some aspects and outright overlook other aspects, which leads to people thinking this way. For instance, take this quote from the article "Here’s the thing: It really depends on your definition of “bribe” and furthermore, does it even qualify as a bribe if it doesn’t work?". Now if you ask me, I think it goes without saying that a bribe is a bribe regardless. I mean, there is a reason why we have attempted bribery and completed bribery. In either case, the article mentions that these "bribes" might not have a positive effect, but instead may have a negative effect on scores. Overlooking how heavy-handed this defense is and the fact this site is going to defend critics regardless, this is no better than inflated review scores either. Similar to how consumers don't want to read paid off fluff pieces, they also don't want to see critics take a "morally righteous" stance against these practices by lowering the score either. They just want critics to do their **** job right and stop *****ing about how hard their job is. By this I mean beating the game and not explaining why you don't have to. Furthermore, I disagree with the assertion that you can tell this isn't true by looking at reviews for a number of reasons. These include different scales being used, the authors personal feelings, how they're reviewing it (like objective vs subjective) and more. However, I do think the article fails to understand where a lot of people are coming from. While a lot of people look at the swag items as bribery, I know just as many (arguably more) that believe people getting the games for free is just as bad. Naturally this would make the job considerably more expensive and less practical, but the basic idea is that it's something of a quid pro quo relationship. Like, a bigger game might get inflated scores so the publishers are happy and keep sending games, where as smaller games get more "fair" reviews because the publisher doesn't care as much. I can say I've seen this happen and I can say I've seen sites that fell out of publishers favor give more inflated scores to get back on their good side. Sadly the article doesn't really get into this stuff and thats a shame. Especially since this is probably more of what people care about...
How the hell did I write it? I've got nothing to do with that site. Being a critic, I know what they're talking about. You, on the other hand, demand that they all finish every game they complete, and NOW you're saying they shouldn't get the product for free to review. Awful lot of lecturing from someone - like most other egotistical, self-righteous gamers - who has never actually worked in the field. Yeah, that's right: Make the VOLUNTEER and BARELY PART-TIME PAID critics (the vast majority of them) PAY for the product they're supposed to review for a gaming public - YOU - who never gives a crap about the work involved, and only questions motives and work ethics because they have the luxury of doing so. Forget the fact that publishers in all realms give critics (books, music, movies) product to review because the critic is doing the publisher a favor by producing that review. This is how it works. But of course, you're too busy explaining why a simple discussion of bribery vs. promotional material is just stupid because...well, as far as I can tell, you're always right.
I could write a long winded post attacking each of your points or I could question how you have the time to tell some "nobody" on N4G off, but not to finish the games you're reviewing, though I am going to simply tell you I won't be dragged into a straw man argument. If you want to attack something I actually said*, then I'll be more than happy to debate you, but I won't defend a point I never made. * My statement about the free review copies was based off observations and doesn't contain much of my own opinion beyond my understanding of their beliefs on the matter and what I've seen first hand.
You can try to hide all you want, and act like the persecuted put-upon individual. You know absolutely nothing about critics, you know nothing about how to review a game, and yet, you seem to have a lot of self-righteous assertions about what they should and shouldn't do. You're the only one who has attacked anybody; I'm merely defending myself (and defending those who work so hard to serve YOU) from rampant, insulting ignorance.
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