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Bethesda's new review policy

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You can read all about it here and here. In short though:

Quote

At Bethesda, we value media reviews.

We read them. We watch them. We try to learn from them when they offer critique. And we understand their value to our players.

Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.

With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.

We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.

Now there is so much contradiction in that statement that I don´t even know where to start. But it´s a sad day when streamers (who are bought) get to play way in advance and critiques, won't get that opportunity. I'm not even mad at Bethesda. It's the consumers who made this possible. Pre-ordering games, buying Season Passes without knowing what's in them and still continuing this practice even though they get burned time and time again with false promises, crappy ports, server issues or a shitload of bugs. 

Don't dismiss this without thinking. This is big and could potentially (if others follow) be even bigger. 

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I haven't looked to media/critic reviews in years for whether or not I should buy a game. I just look at Steam user reviews for if the game in question crashes or is a bad port then make my own decision. Any youtuber or streamer playing the game before release is sponsored and will only say good things about it, so that's easily ignored as well.

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Sorry, but when was it the last time Bethesda published a shit buggy game like No Man's Sky?

The comparison makes no sense.

Yes on paper there's the potential to circumvent gamers, but in reality Bethesda is the company that killed Doom 4 and completely had it redone from scratch.

It seems to me that press is the only audience upset about this right now. And I can understand reviewers' fear for the condition they will be put in… but you are imagining this spreading to every company, which will never happen.

There's talk about  this being unfair for the customer, how? Preorders makes a big chunk of the sales, and they happen way before reviews come out. If anything, reviews coming out before release allow to cancel, but as well place preorders. I've seen that happen for the love of weapon/character skins. "Oh the review is good, I will preorder then, so I get the bonus. (Then I'll sell the game back in the first week.)"
Bottom line is people who preorder will still preorder.
Those who wait, will still wait. Will they get a bad service because reviews will be rushed? I've always heard that the process of reviewing is rushed! That reviewers crunch and have to even do relays to be able to finish a long game in time for review.

If there's an argument pro-embargo like Totalbiscuit says, I can counter by saying it allows for "laziness". Wanting to come out with reviews all at the same time means playing it safe, allows outlets to rely on their core audience for ad-views and clicks, they think more of retaining their audience, rather than work to get more.
Now is gonna be a race? Ok, if they make mistakes by coming out first, they'll quickly lose the audience that got burned!
And honestly I don't really care of what will happen to outlets. I never buy based on reviews, I don't read reviews. I base my judgments on the walkthroughs and I only buy when games are discounted.

Most of all, I had enough of the power the press has. I distrust big outlets. There have been many many cases of "sellout" reviews. And circling back to No Man's Sky, fucking IGN pumped that game like crazy, they had all the exclusive interviews and previews, then when the game came out they threw the developer under the bus publishing a video "why you lied to us" instead of apologising to their audience for being unprofessional primadonnas fucks for not seeing through what they had been shown for months.

Press should get the game when it's actually out. Enough of this "review code", that still leaves wiggle space to feed hope for bugs to be fixed upon release, or negative judgment on an unfinished product.

Edited by blackdog

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On 26/10/2016 at 4:18 PM, dux said:

When did he say that?

Oh, in his Ronku 'apology' video, where he listed the reasons for having a channel on YouTube, and specifically that he said to his girlfriend he saw the money being kicked about and said 'you know what? I could make money from that'.

Famous line (about making money from being part of the Ronku programme and not listing that he was part of the programme) 'If I cannot make any money from doing this, what is the point?' . That is pretty much when my jaw hit the floor, and I shouted at the screen "Because you are passionate about video games!"

Extrapolating, if YouTube channels about hamburgers were the number one YouTube channels, (at that point in his life), he would have made a hamburger YouTube channel.

After watching 'that video' I realised he was a video game 'tourist', where he will jump up and down about a new EA game (like need for speed, few years ago) claiming he is going to be 'super' into it, with 'lots of content planned' and is 'really looking forward to it'. What actually happens is once the marketing 'push' ran out and EA were no longer giving $ for content as part of their affiliate program, his content changes to something else. So, he picks up a few new subs, rides the marketing train for that new game, and then moves on to the next game.

He is not alone, he is just the most prolific example in recent times - and I have no interest in content of that nature. I only watch YouTube channels either from official sources, like from the actual developer, or from people not in any affiliated channel/partner programs, because there are always daggers behind those smiles.

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On 10/27/2016 at 8:27 PM, blackdog said:

Sorry, but when was it the last time Bethesda published a shit buggy game like No Man's Sky?

I didn't watch the video but regarding that quoted issue in isolation :

Their last game Fallout4 had a ton of problems. Pretty much all their fallout games did. I remember stories like a guy getting stuck in an elevator permanently and the solution ended up being having to start again from scratch. This was the PS4 version IIRC. Didn't Skyrim have a memory accumulation issue on ps3 that caused the games performance to degrade the longer your game ran on consoles? I've also always found the scrolls games to be buggy. Honestly after 20+ years of playing their games I just expect a certain level of jank when I buy a bethseda game. 

Doom was a pleasant surprise though. The game ran perfect for me. 

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I can finally buy games again based on the box art alone!

In all seriousness though, the habitual release of Day 1 patches just to make games playable after they have gone gold is a significant issue for many players. Compound that with otherwise game-breaking bugs that continue to show up during the early lifecycle of the game product and it becomes easier to reflect on the reputation of a company, as opposed to the reputation of a reviewer, getting it "right" the first time or not. Overall, I think this may be a good thing for game studios as it could make them more responsive to consumer issues as well as encourage consumers to be more conscious purchasers. The long-term reputation increases in value over the short-term brand. Increasing the knowledge of purchasers, and reducing review times, could in effect rid Bethesda of the issue of first week sales followed by a plummet in sales the second week that plagues many publishers/studios (e.g., Call of Duty: Infinite Warefare had around a 56% decrease of sales the second week following release), and instead ease sales over a longer period of time. Then again, I could be full of it. Who knows? 

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7 hours ago, (HP) said:

Both Dishonored 1 and 2 are fairly bug free as well. 

Unless you want to play Dishonored 2 on the pc, which many people are complaining about. Skyrim: Special Edition still has a lot of the same issues and a serious new one (which has been patched already). I'm curious to see the sales numbers of Dishonored 2 in comparison to the first.

It doesn't help this policy that both Skyrim and Dishonored have issues.

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I guess that if you were to plot on a graph the sales, the first game had a long tail, while I'd expect to see a much quicker fall off for the new one.

That's thanks to the good reviews if course but more so for the word getting out of the quality of the game.

I don't think you can associate a drop of sales, week to week, to the reviews, good or bad that they can be, this policy doesn't change much imo, in a time where preorders are pretty much the most important sales. Who reads reviews is already a cautious purchaser… I mean, how many people really cancel their preorders based on reviews. 

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