I came across this post at No High Scores yesterday. It's about how mega publishers are starting to limit access to the media in terms of review copies, overall access, as well as in potential ad money.
There are a lot of great things about working in the games industry.
You know what the best thing is?
I work in the games industry.
Every day I get to play, talk, and write about games. I get to talk to people who make games. I get to share my opinions with other people who play games and they get to tell me how brilliant or how stupid I am when it comes to games. When people in the sleepy Ohio town in which I live ask me what I do and I tell them they stare at me with both amazement and sometimes derision.
“Yes, Marge, I’m a 39 year old child. Just give me my mail already.”
You know what I don’t like? The other stuff.
Fighting with PR over review copies. Being told that we can’t post a review of game X before the embargo “unless the grade is at least an 85 on Metacritic.” The sites to DO score that high get all the pre-release traffic so we’re forced to ether inflate a grade or lose the hits.
Being told that sites which use letter grades do not get advanced copies. (Because of the way those scores are translated on Metacritic.) Knowing this is untrue because 1Up sure does. Then realizing we aren’t 1Up.
Defending my writers’ competence when they “score” a game lower than the average for a game.
It's a super-interesting post that’s worth reading in its entirety. I don’t even pay attention to game reviews or critic scores any more, because the whole thing just seems like a corrupted process intended to generate positive PR, rather than give actual useful information to gamers.
I’ve pretty much stopped pre-ordering games because of this, which I know the games industry doesn’t like (pre-orders are super important to publishers, because of the GameStop effect), but what choice do I have? When I can’t trust sites like 1Up or Metacritic, I have to wait until people I do trust have actually played a game to tell me about it. And how do game journalists feel about this? If I were a game jouranlist, I would feel pretty gross being part of a system that's similar to the relationship between the right wing and FOX "news."
Gamers: how much influence to game reviews have on your buying choices? Is there a site that you know you can depend upon to give you a completely honest assessment of a game, like Penny Arcade does?
(No High Scores is a fantastic gaming site, by the way. I read it every day.)