Fear and loathing at E3: the lie of the game preview

When is the last time you read a preview for a game that was negative? It's a common complaint in the world of game writing: preview coverage is hilariously one-sided, and serves only to get people excited about games that could be years away from completion. Is it a matter of corruption? Bribery? Something even more insidious?

While conspiracy theories are fun, the truth is that the press is only presented information about games after that information has been heavily polished and prepared. Preview events—including demos at shows such as E3—are highly orchestrated, controlled affairs. Interviews take place with PR representatives in the room, with skittish developers looking at their handlers when asked a tough question. The real problem is that there is simply too much at stake to present anything but a perfect experience.

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Webs9613256d ago

As sad as this is, it's all completely true, especially among the smaller gaming news outlets who still have access to the various development houses' PR departments.

Back when I was a Managing Editor with the site I used to work for, getting the preview (and early at that) was the most important thing on the agenda; forget the importance of bias-checking. Just get it out the door so we can put more eyeballs on the page. And often times, going back and looking at the previews after the final game is released, we discover how woefully inadequate our preview coverage was, either good or bad (although rarely good).

But, I suspect we won't see any improvements in this system any time soon, especially with the focus turning more toward PR blitzes, promotions, and giveaways as time goes on.