Print 27 comment(s) - last by gillt021.. on Jan 12 at 11:50 PM

"Shoe" tells the world which game companies don't like EGM

For much of late November and early December, the online gaming press was focussed on the issues surrounding the firing of former GameSpot editor Jeff Gerstmann and the resulting fallout. Websites covered and discussed the “separation of church-and-state” with regards to sales and editorial, exposing some of the less admirable tactics used by games publishers to promote their products.

With the lead time associated with print, magazines are now joining the fray. In an upcoming issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM), editor-in-chief Dan Hsu reveals in his editorial that his magazine is also a victim of publisher arm-twist tactics.

Hsu reveals that several publishers have reached a point where they are no longer willing to support EGM due to the magazine’s less than favorable review history of certain products. According to Video Game Media Watch, Hsu called out specifically Midway’s Mortal Kombat development team, Sony’s sports game division, and Ubisoft – all which have allegedly banned EGM from further coverage of their products.

Despite the attitude of the named publishers, Hsu said that EGM “won’t treat these products or companies any differently.”

Although the situation that Hsu describes is bad, it’s still not quite as ugly as what may (or conversely, may not) have gone down at GameSpot last year. It’s one thing for a publisher to stop supporting a magazine with information, but it’s an entirely larger problem when a publisher can influence editorial decisions with the lure of advertising dollars.

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Who reads magazines?
By Mitch101 on 1/9/2008 2:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
I stopped doing game magazine reviews when I bought a game or two which simply did not live up to the hype of the review. Or basically when I saw that no games ever really got bad reviews. Doom 3 reviews just re-enforced the idea that most game review sites are bogus. Same for commercials with movie reviews which are usually from newspapers I never heard of. Find someone who liked it and repeat that in the commercials. Lame!

For Movies I use IMDB and the overall reviews from regular people in numbers. No single movie reviewer makes me see a movie any more.

For video games I use Sales numbers, friends, and talk of game of the year or if the game was a hit on say a console. Gamefly is also a fairly accurate measure of a game. I should add G4's X-Play has done a good job of keeping it real and steered me clear of a few dud's.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By TheDiceman on 1/9/2008 3:43:24 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, it is rare to find someone who actaully likes X-play reviews, lol. Honestly I typically find them practical in their own right. If a game is flat out bad they tell you and anything in the 3-4 star range is usually a title worth hwile if ou like that tpe of game. Personally, I look at game reviews to find out features of a game I may not know about. I dont' really care what kind of opinion the writer has towards the features, just what they are. Case in point, I still play and very much enjoy Romance of the Three Kingdoms games, but when was the lsat time anyone gave a high review to one of those titles?

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Etsp on 1/9/2008 5:44:25 PM , Rating: 3
a good job of keeping it real
I think he fits into their target demographic which is why he likes the reviews...

RE: Who reads magazines?
By helios220 on 1/10/2008 11:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
I had a good laugh at that one as well. Unless X-Play has changed a lot since I last viewed it their reviews were kind of a joke.

Sure they will tell you if it's a horrible game and you'll probably get the point if it is fantastic. Aside from that they seem (or at least used) to give the vast majority of games 3's out of 5's. I think perhaps that is a product of their fairly limited discrete rating system, but it still it used to seem to me that a game either had to be remarkably bad or phenomenal to get anything besides a 3/5.

I agree with most others, it takes a composite of good reviews and user opinions to sell me on a game these days, theres just too much crap out there.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Mitch101 on 1/11/2008 1:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
On X-Play I mainly look at the games they give 4-5 then check out what others think of the game. I might miss a few titles in the 3 area initially that are good but if the talk gets big about them and my friends are recommending it then its a go. I only play about 6-8 games a year so I want the best of the year titles.

As with another person on the list I liked TechTv a lot better than G4. Attack of the Show and X-Play are the only shows I watch on there now but not often. Not even sure what else is on the channel any more.

Like someone below said Rotten Tomatoes is also a good review site. I think the demographic for Rotten Tomatoes is a younger crowd than IMDB. I feel kind of in between the two. If they agree then thats for me.

Demographics play a major role as someone stated here and its a good idea to get reviewers with different ages and walks of life to review a movie. Everyone has their own taste but I don't know of any movie critics who I think get my taste which is why I don't watch any of them.

If your wearing a leisure jacket or v-neck sweater giving a movie review there is no way I'm watching any movie you recommend.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Bioniccrackmonk on 1/9/2008 3:52:56 PM , Rating: 3 is a good movie review website as well. They let the users rate the movies alongside the websites rating and they are starting to do games now as well. Just throwing another one out there.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Fenixgoon on 1/9/2008 5:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
I find RT to be a bit harsh on movies, but overall they're not a bad gauge by any means.

They gave Transformers a 57%, all said and done, while RT users gave it an 80%. I personally thought the movie was fantastic.

I would say RT user score is more accurate than the summation of the various film critic reviews.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Master Kenobi on 1/9/2008 11:40:03 PM , Rating: 2
I find film critics give top scores to garbage that never sees the light of day outside of an english classroom.

That said, Star Wars, Transformers and others were all given terrible reviews by critics...

RE: Who reads magazines?
By christojojo on 1/10/2008 11:33:33 PM , Rating: 3
My favorite is when media reviews have the wrong demographic reviewer review a movie, show, game etc.

I.e. action shooters reviewed by a feminist who hates the action genre. The lead sentence is almost always predictable; "Yet another senseless testosterone filled blood count with no plot."

Why go to a movie you know you will hate? Totally useless! Its like asking a pacifist which automatic you should buy.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Mitch101 on 1/11/2008 1:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
I thought transformers was good but not a breakthrough. I like a hot looking girl but It didn't add to the story it just made parts of it cheesy.

I couldn't take the FBI guys seriously at all or for that fact at no point did any government official in that movie feel like they had any authority. ET even with the guns dubbed out and replaced with walkie talkies had more authority than the government people in Transformers. The primary FBI agent was like Jar Jar of law enforcement. I also felt they made Bumblebee a bit feminine or a wuss.

All the other scenes with the fights and action were great.

Hopefully the second time around he cuts down on the cheese and makes a real war happen. Michael Bay is a good director but far from excellent.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By SirLucius on 1/9/2008 5:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny, but I used to love EGM. But not only the magazine, but the reviewers themselves, have changed so much over the years that I absolutely can't stand it. When I stopped reading EGM, I stopped reading all video game magazines.

As for reviews in general, I look at the major review sites, compare the reviewer score and user scores, and make a decision based on that. I usually think games lie between the reviewer's score and user's score, sometimes leaning closer towards the overall user sore. I've found Gamefly to be great, too. I don't feel nearly as bad about renting a dud since I can return and it and get something else fairly quickly.

As for X-Play, I can't stand that show. In fact, I really can't stand all of G4. I miss good old TechTV.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Takemaru on 1/10/2008 12:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
I stopped reading magazines when the first MGS came out, the copy of PS-Underground that came with the demo was litterally the last gaming magazine i ever purchased and thats almost a decade ago...

RE: Who reads magazines?
By One43637 on 1/9/2008 7:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I use Metacritic.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By Moishe on 1/10/2008 8:43:25 AM , Rating: 3
IMDB, or RottenTomato (user) reviews are great. They're just a mass of data averaged out. This makes it pretty accurate.

It seems like hollywood overly favors artsy stuff and generally dislikes sci-fi. Like Master Kenobi said, the critics generally thumbs down a lot of really good movies.

Frankly, since we all have different tastes, about the best we can do is get an average rating. If it's 7+ (out of 10) then you're at least safe except for the odd movie that just gets on your nerves.

I've found that magazines and the "big" press are far more likely to be influenced by advertiser money than small guys. This is what makes the internet so amazingly useful. No longer do we have only top 40 radio, NY Times, Ebert & Roker. Now we can see what people on the street think of stuff and we can generally trust that those people have no vested interest in selling the content.

RE: Who reads magazines?
By bohhad on 1/11/2008 7:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
i keep them around because i don't have internet in my bathroom, where my most serious reading occurs

RE: Who reads magazines?
By jonrem on 1/12/2008 1:44:23 AM , Rating: 2
I keep a stash of old PC Gamers at my vacation house in Wisconsin with no internet. It seems like a new magazine when you read it once or twice a year. I still wonder how kickass the GeForce3 Ti500 Platinum is going to be when it's released.

Reviews like political polling
By BiuTech on 1/9/2008 4:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like you can trust a gaming review nowadays just as much as you can polling in politics. Perhaps not the best comparison but both now seem to be influenced by bias more than ever.

I enjoy reading reviews, but with the understanding that it's just the opinion of one or a few individuals who can't but help be subjective. But that's just it, it's all subjective. I may enjoy a game that Joe Schmo hates, or we might both enjoy a certain game, or both hate it. With this said, to be fair, many reviews are generally accurate.
Mass Effect FTW!

RE: Reviews like political polling
By darkpaw on 1/9/2008 5:12:33 PM , Rating: 3
Pretty much sums it up I think. Personally, I like gamespy's reviews, but I never just run out and buy a game because it got one good review either. They are usually just good for giving you a general idea about the game (and point out any significant flaws).

RE: Reviews like political polling
By Moishe on 1/10/2008 8:46:30 AM , Rating: 2
They are usually just good for giving you a general idea about the game (and point out any significant flaws).

They're like a thumbs up with a little more detail. Still not the deciding factor about whether or not to buy.

The problem with most reviews
By noirsoft on 1/9/2008 7:24:29 PM , Rating: 3
I don't care how objectively good the next Starcraft game is going to be, it's one star to me since I don't like RTS games. Similarly, giving an indy adventure game to an FPS fan won't be an accurate review for me either. Reviews should be written by people who enjoy that type of game in general (which is true for the most part in professional reviews) but anonymous one-number ratings from the masses are worse than useless.

Reviews are only useful if they actually spell out the good and bad points of a game and give the reader a sense of whether or not they personally would enjoy the game. I'd be happy if a review site did away with the numerical overview entirely and went with a purely narrative approach.

By Christopher1 on 1/11/2008 12:40:17 AM , Rating: 1
Usually, that is what most reviewers, even non-paid ones do. They point out what they liked and disliked about a game, and then give you an honest opinion on whether they think that the game is worth your time or not.

I think the problem with the guy at Gamespot was that he didn't like FPS games or the kind of game he panned, when he should have put it off on someone else who liked those games to do the review.... he didn't and got in trouble for it.

By roadrun777 on 1/10/2008 6:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
Unless they change the way the reviewers get money for doing the reviews, I don't see the "influence" they unfairly exert ending anytime soon.

Review sites are "required" to give glowing reviews of everything, even if its complete crap. It's how they make their money. The whole industry is generally full of SH**. I still rely heavily on downloading demo versions of games, and if a company refuses to make a demo version of it, then I can sometimes borrow the game from someone else who has purchased it. Otherwise I may never play it, or know what it is. Plus I have other issues regarding PC hardware performance and support; as it stands, it's just below adequate, which isn't acceptable. So I have abandoned PC games until the hardware and power requirements improve.

By mmntech on 1/11/2008 11:37:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's not just gaming. Pick up any auto magazine and check their reviews. They'll give a raving review to a rusted out Chevy. Magazines make most of their revenue through advertising, just like other media. For gaming, they rely on developers for that money. Bad reviews get pulled ads, equals lost revenue. There's nothing that really can be done to change it unless you just focus on independent user reviews. Sometimes it can go the other way though, such as with Gamespot and their review of Ratchet & Clank Future which was rated much lower than it should have been based on user reviews and compiled reviews from Mobygames.

I definitely think there needs to be more demo versions out there. I think that's the only real way to tell how good or bad a game is going to be before you buy it. As for the PC performance issues, I think that's a quality control issue. One of the reasons I didn't buy Bioshock (which got raving reviews) was that the demo was causing BSODs at the loading screen after I docked with the city.

The only good review is from word of mouth
By Hakuryu on 1/9/2008 6:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
I never trust any website or magazine that reviews games. They depend on advertisers to survive, so of course they will pander to advertisers wishes. This isn't some rare occurence either, but of course I can't back that up with hard facts.

However, using common sense, look over the list of reviews at any site or mag, and when 90% of all games receive 4-5 stars, it means something is fishy. I've been playing games since before the first Atari and I can tell you that only a few games deserve 4-5 stars.

If Consumer Reports ever starts game reviews, then perhaps I may believe a game journalist, but I'm certainly not trusting any today.

By Christopher1 on 1/11/2008 12:42:36 AM , Rating: 1
You hit on the one big reason why I don't trust game magazines: they rely on advertisers.

Websites..... them I trust a little more because the ads on them are usually from game sellers, who have no financial motive in having this game or that game sell.

What about GI?
By gillt021 on 1/12/2008 11:50:37 PM , Rating: 2
I really dont depend on the review scores for my next purchase but I do like to read GI for the previews. I'm not naive enough to believe they are without fault, but I remember a few times that they have done a cover feature on an upcoming game, and then when it comes out they give it a bad score.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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