View Full Version : Biased reviews

11-30-2007, 11:34 AM
You have all probably already seen this, but numerous sites like slashdot (http://games.slashdot.org/games/07/11/30/1317259.shtml) have picked up a story about a Gamespot reviewer getting fired because Eidos didn't like how he reviewed one of their games (i.e. he gave them a bad review). This particular story looks like it is still in the anonymous tip/rumor phase so who knows if it is correct or not.

Whether it is true or not is mostly irrelevant though (except to the reviewer that might have been unjustly fired), because we all know this really does happen. I know that most review sites probably aren't in bed with the large publishers, but the question is how many of them are? And for those that are, how many free points do they get in their reviews? Now this is kind of annoying that some sites will artificially boost review scores from some publishers The part that really sucks though is that sites like metacritic that gather many reviews and takes the average will also get boosted, but now all of the games from smaller publishers or indies look bad in comparison.

Of course, the main problem is that the system is inherently biased. Most websites make their money from advertising and this advertising comes from the people that get their products reviewed. So it's obvious that the more advertising money you throw at a review site the better your chances of getting a good review. Also, if you don't get your good review you can pull or threaten to pull all of your advertising money. You can also punished the site, by no longer giving them interviews or previews of future games. The bigger the publisher/developer the more of a threat this is. Another potential problem with advertising and reviews from the same game on the same site is that if the advertising only pays when clicked then the better the review, the more likely readers will click on the ads, and thus the more money the site makes.

Anyways, to boil it all down, a person or company essentially works for the people that pay their bills. In the case of most review sites the big publishers pay their bills, so they are basically working for them. Now the good review sites constantly fight against this natural bias and work for the people that the should, the gamer.