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No it's not ok to manipulate review scores

So it has recently come to our attention that EA Norway has tried to manipulate review score's for Battlefield 3. As you might expect i was outraged by this, but what upset me more was the fact that there are people actually defending EA.The first claim that people mad is that "everyone does it so it's ok". Firstly everyone doing it is baseless speculation and unless someone can provide evidence of "everyone" doing it i'll disregard this. Don't get me wrong i've realized publishers have done this in the past Ubisoft(Assassins creed) and Rockstar(Red Dead Redemption) come to mind.

Secondly even if other people do it that doesn't make it "ok". If we really want gaming to be taken seriously as a medium of entertainment, this attitude of it being ok needs to change. Or do we wan't to be stuck in an era where manipulating reviews and having no credibility becomes the norm, therefor discrediting all of "gaming journalism". Gaming journalism has garnered a lot of criticism as it is, some rightly so with it's flaimbait headlines designed to incite flame wars, even when the content is entirely unrelated. And some unfairly, with fans getting upset because a game they love doesn't get a 10/10 which immediately follows a temper tantrum and them discrediting the reviewer. Maybe it's the infantile nature of gaming that's holding us back from being taken seriously, but that's another topic for another time.

Lastly people have been saying it's ok because EA put a lot of money into Battlefield 3. Ok, firstly shouldn't the game be able to stand for itself, if Battlefield 3 is as good as these same people that are hyping it think it's going to be then shouldn't it sell it's self and garner the positive reviews it deserves because it's a GOOD GAME! Putting a lot of money into a game does not mean you have the right to tell other people that your game is good. Nor does a high development budget make a game good.

Nate-Dog4651d ago

I didn't even delve into that article about the score manipulation by EA because, well I couldn't be arsed but aswell a lot of people are just acting hypocrites over BF3 anyway (like saying "lolol MW3's gonna have a 6 hour campaign" *DICE say BF3 campaign 6-7 hours* "I'm cool with this it's the perfect length). I thought it was funny at first when EA put it up to Activision and started poking fun at them because they deserved it but when they just kept going on and on with it after Activision stopped returning fire it got boring and just made them look idiotic. Not that I like Activision or what they've been doing either over the years but they knew when to stop.

But this is nonsense, talking up BF3 like there's no tomorrow and then trying to manipulate review scores? I guess that's EA for you, (one of) the lowest of the low.

iamnsuperman4651d ago (Edited 4651d ago )

"hypocrites over BF3 anyway (like saying "lolol MW3's gonna have a 6 hour campaign" *DICE say BF3 campaign 6-7 hours* "I'm cool with this it's the perfect length)"

I agree with you. It just shows the biased nature against COD and for BF. A lot on this website seem to defend a game to death. Its quite sad. Activision have done very well not to retaliate. EA have basically looked idiotic. The mixed messages when it came to single player length (first 12 now 6-7) is one amongst other things EA have said which have been wrong. EA have done a lot of pumping up for BF3 but some of their methods have been wrong. On another note I remember EA saying they were not going to rely on celebrity endorsement for their sport games but the E3 came along and look who came out on stage. EA seems a company is disarray with different information coming out in all directions. EA need to sough it out.

OT: Where did you get this information from about manipulating reviews.

Nate-Dog4651d ago

The news piece about the review manipulation was on the front page for most of the day yesterday, here's the link: http://n4g.com/news/868168/...

Sillyace924650d ago

Nice Blog post

Yeah I thought the same exact thing in regards to the campaign.

Here's a statement by the person reviewing Battlefield 3 for GAMETRAILERS.com (Marcus Beer).
And his initial impressions of this whole debacle.

Wh15ky4650d ago (Edited 4650d ago )

Since when were CODs campaigns 6 hours long? They are 4 1/2 hours tops, at least that was roughly how long COD4, WaW and MW2 took me, never played BLOPs though.

C_Menz4651d ago

A lot of publishers do this. Sure it may not be right in a way, but as a business you try to protect your products.

For example I am a chef. If I was opening a restaurant and wanted good reviews from critics I wouldn't invite a critic that dislikes seafood if I was a seafood restaurant. I would make sure to invite those who would give the best reviews. So in a way what they are doing is not wrong.

caseh4651d ago

C_Menz has a point, not sure why he has a disagree.

The music industry is a good example in the UK at least, when a single is released rather than counting on just the public sales the publisher or whoever will actually BUY a set amount of singles themselves to give it a high entry in the charts.

You're probably sat there thinking 'as if!' but the majority of their sales come from the album that follows, its a small investment that makes people far more aware of their product by the time it comes around.

Its all about advertising at the end of the day, if you were competing against a well known franchise and there was a chance that biased or crap reviews might surface you would most likely do the same.

I don't condone it nor do I give a toss that it happens. Thats just the way it is!

SilentNegotiator4651d ago

"C_Menz has a point, not sure why he has a disagree"

Maybe it has something to do with what he said being the exact thing this blog negates, and doesn't really add anything to the argument that the author already mentions. MAYBE.

caseh4650d ago (Edited 4650d ago )

'Maybe it has something to do with what he said being the exact thing this blog negates,'

What I just took from your failing statement - Maybe it has something to do with what he said being the exact thing this blog prevents/avoids/denies.

Try again in English. For those people agreeing to the above comment, you clearly don't have a clue.

Tuxedo_Mask4651d ago (Edited 4651d ago )

There are plenty of games that are rated 9 and above that I don't own and plenty of games that are rated 8 and below that I do and enjoy. While it is dishonest for a company, EA or anyone else, to manipulate review scores, why do people treat them as the be all end all in the first place?

Everyone has different tastes and different expectations from games. Despite their chosen profession and any amount of money they receive, reviewers do not have a better understanding of what makes a good game for everyone any more than anyone else does.

Are some games absolutely terrible? Yes, ET for the Atari comes to mind, but there's probably still someone out there who thinks it's a fun game. Rather than place so much emphasis on how a game scores from a reviewer or reviewers why don't you play the game for ourselves to see if YOU like it or not.

Can't play every game that gets released? Me neither, so if a game appeals to you try it, if it doesn't leave it on the shelf. That makes more sense than trusting strangers to tell you if it's good or not.

Christopher4651d ago (Edited 4651d ago )

***EA has been caught allegedly attempting to manipulate Battlefield 3's review scores by denying journalists who might treat the game unfavorably access to early copies.***

That doesn't prevent bad scores. It just delays them.

This is no different than putting an embargo on reviews to be posted the day the game is released, IMHO. This is done to help keep up pre-order numbers.

So, my position is if you're just now thinking this is an issue, you've been extremely ignorant on the situation as a whole.

theEx1Le4651d ago

Is it not the fact that they are picking and chosing reviewers thats the problem? There is a difference between placing an embargo on all reviews and purposefully not allowing certain reviewers to publish what they might consider an "unfavorable" review.

TopDudeMan4651d ago

They're not telling them that "if you write a bad review, we're not gonna let you publish it". They're saying, "you're not getting an early copy, buy it yourself when it comes out if you want to review it".

This has all been misinterpreted badly by the community.

TopDudeMan4651d ago

I agree, I don't think a lot of people understand how a video game website works. Basically if the company doesn't want to send you a free review copy, then that's it.

If their website has been writing slur about your game, you're not gonna send them a review copy.
Now, I don't know what sort of content the website has on there, but there must've been something there that led dice to believe they were an anti-battlefield website.

Developers have done it before, so it's nothing new, it's just how the business works. I'm positive activision would be just as likely to do the same thing.

Rage_S904650d ago

I do Know what you mean, the first time i noticed it was during assassins creed. Before all the reviews were aloud out it had a metacritic of 90+. But then the real reviews started to come out and i was at 80.

For a new ip especially i'm sure that manipulation helped it garner some sales, but it's a sad state that we live in when publisher can blatantly cloud the public's perception with propaganda. Maybe it's because we rely on review scores so much but it's still disappointing to me.

redDevil874650d ago

Congrats on first blog matey! Twas a good read.

Sillyace924650d ago

"That doesn't prevent bad scores. It just delays them. "

eh, yes and no. Accredited sites such as IGN, Gamespy, etc. will not affect their scores, which you're right, BUT other lesser know sites would potentially alter their score to be more favorable of BF3 to get on EA's good side and thus they would be able to publish their reviews early to garner hit's and recognition. But that's the problem, because these favorable (possibly false) reviews pour in it gives a false perception of the game that the public will see and take as fact.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 4650d ago
Kaizin5144651d ago (Edited 4651d ago )

Maybe publishers wouldn't have to manipulate scores if reviewers would simply review the games from a factual standpoint, rather than a biased opinion. I understand opinion has a lot to do with reviews, but there are ways to get around it in such a way to get rid of at least 90% of the bias.

In EA's case, they tried to root out the bias by asking whether or not the reviewer(s) is a fan of Call of Duty. If he is a true journalist, he would speak the truth regarding the game, and say whether or not is is worth purchasing. In turn, he could add a specific paragraph stating his opinion, and why people should/should not shy away from it. Do I think it is morally wrong to manipulate scores? Yes, I think so. But from a business standpoint, is it wrong? Not exactly. You spent a lot of money on this game, why would you want to give a free copy of the game to someone who will bash it to hell? Again, wrong in the moral sense, but not so wrong in the business sense.

EDIT: I fully support putting an embargo on reviews up to, if not a few days past, release so people will buy based on what they currently understand, not what other people say.

I think it comes down to exactly what Tuxedo_Mask said, if it appeals to you, buy it. If you are not interested, then leave it alone. I think that is the purest form of sales, did that 200 million you put into marketing pay off? I don't like the fact that the majority of people will base their purchases off of a review, which for the most part, is highly opinionated and generally quite biased. I think that is what is one of the things wrong with the gaming industry today, people won't make their own decisions.

As for the Call of Duty vs. Battlefield arguments, I wish everyone would shut the hell up (producers and fanboys alike). Both games have their strengths and weaknesses, and both games are worth picking up in some sense. If you enjoy it, then buy it, I think that is fair. Unfortunately in my case, due to lack of money and all the of the great games this fall, I dropped Call of Duty in favor of a game I feel will be more superior, in this case, Battlefield 3. Now, will I grab MW3 eventually? Yes. Does it make it better/worse than BF3? No. Two entirely different games.

Kaizin5144650d ago

Based on my two dislikes and the fact nobody will speak up as to why I am being disliked, let me clarify. I should have put this in my EDIT, but I feel a new comment will be better. After reviewing what I said, it is wrong for a business to pre-screen the review process, yes. When I said "But from a business standpoint, is it wrong? Not exactly," I really meant it along the lines of yes, it is wrong, but it is UNDERSTANDABLE why they do it. I used the wrong wording, I know. How about calling me out on it instead of simply disliking it?

Anyways, in regards to my EDIT, I think an embargo is the best way to keep reviews silent until after the game comes out. I think previews should be the difference maker on a purchase, not the fact that people went based on a review of an unreleased product. I understand that people are upset with EA regarding this little incident, but please realize they are NOT the only company that does this, the only difference is this time, they got caught.

Then again... maybe I am entirely wrong and those dislikes are deserved... I will never know if people don't tell me why I am "wrong." Everyone is entitled to their opinion, sorry if mine doesn't match yours.

bozebo4648d ago (Edited 4648d ago )

People need to learn to read reviews properly.

I've read plenty of reviews that have not been particularly flattering about a game, movie or product but known from the reviews that the product is right for me (because I am aware that most game reviewers don't understand what they are talking about - especially when they try to talk tech).

Also, I would say that a review is a much safer way to judge a game than 200mil of aggressive marketing :/
Obviously they aren't going to spend 200mil saying their game is only OK. They are always going to want people to think it's the best thing ever (which it never is, for a heavily marketed game).