Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

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DPrinny
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Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by DPrinny » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:33 am

It was rumored in the past but was it true?

Im reading Sega force and was having these thoughts about certain reviews
Bart vs Space mutants - 92%
Night trap 89%

I know theres opinions, but opinions on s**t?

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GameOver
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by GameOver » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:13 am

I've never come across ones that were paid for, but favours were given and returned by almost all magazines. For one of my games back in the 90's an official magazine offered to give the game a higher score (10-20%) if they were shown a preview of another game in development. If you didn't send free copies to magazines they'd mark your game down. If the publisher held an event for reviewers your scores were higher in those magazines that were invited. That was the culture and magazines and publishers were as bad as each other.

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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by Timothy Redux » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:16 am

this is where named reviews were useful. As soon as reviews became the work of some anonymous journo, there was more room for corporate massaging. (Interesting comment above - seems it was a two way street)
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by NickThorpe » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:54 am

Don't forget that "Night Trap was always universally reviled" is modern revisionism - Mean Machines Sega and Gamesmaster also reviewed it positively.
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by Negative Creep » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:06 pm

Not quite the same but Gamespot fired someone for giving Kane & Lynch 6/10
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by merman » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:07 pm

GameOver wrote:I've never come across ones that were paid for, but favours were given and returned by almost all magazines. For one of my games back in the 90's an official magazine offered to give the game a higher score (10-20%) if they were shown a preview of another game in development. If you didn't send free copies to magazines they'd mark your game down. If the publisher held an event for reviewers your scores were higher in those magazines that were invited. That was the culture and magazines and publishers were as bad as each other.

And on the other side of the coin, publishers THREATENED magazines that they would pull advertising without positive reviews.
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by PAC » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:11 pm

Quite. From the music perspective.. advertising played a huge role. More than enough wonderful, shooting from the hip writers and just enough younger writers for editors to select carefully.

Never mind the come and see the band play in LA line of encouragement for the front cover.

All part of business.

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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by DPrinny » Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:07 pm

Negative Creep wrote:Not quite the same but Gamespot fired someone for giving Kane & Lynch 6/10
And that time Edge magazine gave Gunstar heroes a low score

And that PS3 one

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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by Timothy Redux » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:56 pm

Mayve less so in Games journalism, but in music and other mags, often there were clear agendas as to what was good and bad. Look at NME etc
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by Negative Creep » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:01 pm

Timothy Redux wrote:Mayve less so in Games journalism, but in music and other mags, often there were clear agendas as to what was good and bad. Look at NME etc

I've no doubt that many reviews of games, films, albums, cars, food etc are "influenced". A good thing about the rise of the internet is that you can now have people out there working completely independently, and exposing those that aren't
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by Gigifusc » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:50 am

I've never personally seen of actual money trading hands (as in the fabled brown bag) but there were definitely favours being done all over the shop. That continues today at an even higher rate BTW!

Publishers would raise their advertising spend in a particular mag and coincidentally that mag gave them a higher than average score for GameX. Magazine Y giving GameX a less than favourable review could easily result in a publisher spending less advertising money in that mag - so it worked both ways. Some mags overcame this by simply selling high numbers. If I'm right, I think OPM sold in such high quantity that publishers almost couldn't afford not to advertise in there (just my thoughts might not be 100% correct).

But then favours took on so many different avenues. Publishers would give exclusives or invite members of the press down to see sneak previews of big games etc. Once a journo has met the team and been wined and dined it can be difficult to then censored off their game.

One thing I saw first hand was a PS1 game that was based in a major European city. The game itself was ok - technically very good actually, but design wise was a bit bland and it had a pretty decent IP attached. The publisher I worked for sent some journo's on an all expenses paid trip to that city to show them the sites in real life and then show them those same sites in the game.

Now, I'm not saying the game was terrible, but it was no way a 90+ %er. So again. Journo's wined, dine, taken on an all expenses paid weekend away.... Made it hard to be too critical of the game right? I've just had a look at Metacritic and one magazine gave it 100. Another gave it 89. I think Edge gave it 50. LOL.

That to me is an example of how these things worked and how they continue to work and why I rarely give credence to review scores. I still read them and take an interest but I never use them as leverage in whether or not I buy a game.

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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by psj3809 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:03 am

Gigifusc wrote:That to me is an example of how these things worked and how they continue to work and why I rarely give credence to review scores. I still read them and take an interest but I never use them as leverage in whether or not I buy a game.
I'm the same, do enjoy reading about the game but i tend to use youtube videos/reviews for games now. Dont really believe scores on certain websites. As a kid i was so naive to stuff like this but looking back 'company a who spends a lot of money advertising every month' would expect a decent score or they'll simply remove all the adverts and the mag would lose a lot of money. I look back to Zoids which somehow got a great review, that was a terrible game.

But yeah looking back its difficult for the magazine, if they're too honest and slate a game why would 'company a' spend a lot of money every month in advertising if the magazine slates their latest games ?

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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by goldenone » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:27 am

Up until a couple of years ago I was reviewing for a website that shall remain nameless (Not UK based) and had been revewing for quite a few years for them.
One of my early reviews I scored a game rather low as it was pretty poor in my opinion and I received an email from the guy who looked after the website saying along the lines of "You have scored this rather low. The developers of this game are really good with us so could you look at putting more positives about the game in your review and upping the score"?

Often I also submitted reviews to the same site and found that my overall score had been increased from say 45 to 55 just to keep the developers onside.

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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by pratty » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:46 am

It seems like an industry norm. I used to review films/dvds, and most of the time it was fine. But one time i was offered the opportunity to review a DVD for a small magazine and it had to be a positive review as a favour owed to the DVD's distributer's publicist. I turned it down but somebody else did it. It was the one and only time I wa exposed to anything like that, I was kind of shocked but the way it was casually brought up to me and then just done by someone else happy to do it, made me think it was just a normal part of the reviewing biz.
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Re: Magazines that where paid for positive reviews

Post by Matt_B » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:37 am

I've taken a dim view of games journalism ever since Crash gave Blue Thunder game of the month. :wink:

Seriously, anyone who doesn't think that the publishers don't have their arms firmly up the backsides of the journalists could do worse than read the following couple of articles:

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Future ... 47988.html
http://wosland.podgamer.com/the-wainwright-profile/

And remember, just because a game has 90+ reviews across the board doesn't mean that it won't turn out to be utter arse, e.g. the recent PC port of Arkham Knight. Ah well, at least Steam do refunds these days.

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