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EGM - Blacklisted?

SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
edited February 2008 in Games and Technology
Didn't see a discussion on this in the past few pages. Lock if old.

Surprised there hasn't been much discussion over it, especially after the heated debates that flared up after the Gerstmann situation.

http://www.joystiq.com/2008/01/09/publishers-allegedly-blackball-egm-for-negative-coverage/

Here's a link for further information, and here's my current thoughts on it.

A> I support EGM calling them out on this practice. It lets EGM readers know exactly why the mag would be behind the competition, and it gives the industry the heads up on the bullying that's going on.

B> I'm disappointed to see UbiSoft on the list. I don't care about Mortal Kombat, and Sony being a prick isn't anything new. But Ubi? Everyone was behind them when they tried to fight off EA... I feel like I've been stabbed in the back almost. They had several upcoming games that I was interested in as well, and have always thought highly of them and their product.

It's not like EGM/1UP has been particularly harsh on Ubi. The only game in recent memory that was panned was BeoWolf, and it's not like EGM/1UP were the only ones with the negative opinion.

It just seems like EGM and 1UP are being specifically targeted. But then again, no one else has made a similar comment.

Thoughts?

I'm a bit bummed.

EDIT
In his latest editorial, Electronic Gaming Monthly Editor-in-chief Dan "Shoe" Hsu publicly calls out three companies that are allegedly refusing to work with the magazine due to negative reviews of their games. According to Hsu, the members of Midway's Mortal Kombat team, Sony's sports division and Ubisoft as a whole are refusing to give EGM access to early preview or review builds of their games (in the case of Ubisoft, Hsu specifically says "it seems our coverage of Assassin's Creed was the last straw").

As a result, Hsu says EGM readers will get "little, late, or no coverage" of these companies' games. "We won't treat these products or companies any differently, and we'll just cover them to the best of our own abilities, with or without their support," Hsu writes. "Because, after all, we're writing for you, the reader -- not them."

These types of allegations aren't anything new around the game industry water cooler, and stories of publisher reprisals in the form of pulled advertising or blackballed journalists occasionally bubble up in the game press. But editors are usually reluctant to publicly name names in these situations, for fear of pissing off publishers further. Are we seeing the beginning of a new age in game journalism, where journalists aren't afraid of standing up to publishers that try to push them around?

We'll be following up with Hsu and the companies involved and let you know what we hear.

Sheep on
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    Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Well, they did give AC a 4.5 (Or one of them did).
    I get this magizine for free, but it's not that great. I prefer Game Informer by alot.
    It sucks this happened to them, but honestly it's not that surprsing.

    I hear that Shoe is a dick though.

    Local H Jay on
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    bloodyroarxxbloodyroarxx Casa GrandeRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I'm assuming it stems more from the 4.5 Crispin gave Assassins Creed in EGM and not Beowulf.

    But I don't see how blacklisting EGM does anything except hurt Ubisoft. its not like EGM's review hurt Assassins Creed or anything the game did sell 2.5 million copies.

    bloodyroarxx on
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    LotharsLothars Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Sleep wrote: »
    Didn't see a discussion on this in the past few pages. Lock if old.

    Surprised there hasn't been much discussion over it, especially after the heated debates that flared up after the Gerstmann situation.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2008/01/09/publishers-allegedly-blackball-egm-for-negative-coverage/

    Here's a link for further information, and here's my current thoughts on it.

    A> I support EGM calling them out on this practice. It lets EGM readers know exactly why the mag would be behind the competition, and it gives the industry the heads up on the bullying that's going on.

    B> I'm disappointed to see UbiSoft on the list. I don't care about Mortal Kombat, and Sony being a prick isn't anything new. But Ubi? Everyone was behind them when they tried to fight off EA... I feel like I've been stabbed in the back almost. They had several upcoming games that I was interested in as well, and have always thought highly of them and their product.

    It's not like EGM/1UP has been particularly harsh on Ubi. The only game in recent memory that was panned was BeoWolf, and it's not like EGM/1UP were the only ones with the negative opinion.

    It just seems like EGM and 1UP are being specifically targeted. But then again, no one else has made a similar comment.

    Thoughts?

    I'm a bit bummed.

    Well considering that EGM is pretty bad magazine at the best of times, It's not that big of a deal but Review Scores are overrated anyway

    So I don't like companies Blacklisting Magazines because of reviews, it's not a good precident anyway.

    Lothars on
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    Kemal86Kemal86 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I'm assuming it stems more from the 4.5 Crispin gave Assassins Creed in EGM and not Beowulf.

    But I don't see how blacklisting EGM does anything except hurt Ubisoft. its not like EGM's review hurt Assassins Creed or anything the game did sell 2.5 million copies.

    This partly stems from how EGM, 1UP, and GFW use the full scale when reviewing - 5.0 is average, not 7.0. A 4.5 means the game is slightly below average - personally, I agree.

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    NexusSixNexusSix Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I can't get to the article from work. Is it too long to C&P?

    Any who, I'm still miffed at EGM's Assassin's Creed reviews. I'm not sure where those came from, but I think EGM was harsh with AC, particularly Boyer's out-of-left-field 4.5 score.

    I used to really enjoy EGM and thought they consistently had very tough but fair reviews. But over the last couple of years or so... It seems like the longer a reviewer is with that mag, the more fucking snarky and holier-than-thou they get.

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    SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Updated OP with article.

    Sheep on
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    vsovevsove ....also yes. Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Any company that blacklists a gaming magazine over poor review scores needs to man the fuck up. It's a business, not high school. They shouldn't be expected to hold your hand and give you a gold star for trying. It's also an opinion piece; so if someone doesn't like the score, well, that's just someone's opinion.

    Now if an article is full of factual errors (see: Mercury News' review of Mass Effect), then that's just lazy journalism and deserves to be called out. However if everything in the piece is accurate and just the opinion of the writer, sorry, your complaints are meaningless.

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    NexusSixNexusSix Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    vsove wrote: »
    They shouldn't be expected to hold your hand and give you a gold star for trying.

    True. And EGM should not expect publishers or developers to supply them with early builds, screens or any information whatsoever if said publisher or developer believes it is not in their products' best interests. EGM is still able to review and (as they're so fond of doing) pontificate from on high once the product is commercially available. I don't blame gaming companies one bit if they go this route.

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    Kris_xKKris_xK Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The only review site I put any amount of trust in is Worthplaying. I love those guys, the rest of the sites are just meaningless numbers.

    Kris_xK on
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    wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ya, that's pretty much why I don't look at the scores anymore, I only read the actual review. I'll look athe the little summary blurb along with the score, but don't pay attention to the score.

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    themocawthemocaw Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Feels more like Shoe is saying, "Guys, in case you're wondering why games from these three companies don't get previews and stuff, and the reviews are late, here's why: they hate our guts and they won't give us review copies and stuff. We'll do the best we can, just wanted to let you know why we're late. It's not because we're lazy or nothin'."

    themocaw on
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    vsovevsove ....also yes. Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    NexusSix wrote: »
    vsove wrote: »
    They shouldn't be expected to hold your hand and give you a gold star for trying.

    True. And EGM should not expect publishers or developers to supply them with early builds, screens or any information whatsoever if said publisher or developer believes it is not in their products' best interests. EGM is still able to review and (as they're so fond of doing) pontificate from on high once the product is commercially available. I don't blame gaming companies one bit if they go this route.

    I have to disagree. This seems extremely childish to me. Fine, don't give them preview copies, but hey surprise; this makes you seem like a much larger bunch of douchebags than a poor review score would. It's not hurting the game magazine in any way, and in fact casts them in a better light for not pulling a Gamespot. They stuck to their guns.

    vsove on
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    FaceballMcDougalFaceballMcDougal Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Crispin's score was retarded and it did indeed prompt a bunch of "YEA!" group-think for people who enjoy hating on shit. It seems EGM/1up has a similar group-think going on in regards to the game as well. Even the people who like it can't bring themselves to go against the Ziff grain... they just let Garnet go on a rant for like 10 mins on the last podcast and that dude should really never be allowed to express opinions on games because he rarely has any sort of rationale to back any of it up.

    They are still my favorite publication and I respect them for having balls at times but the amount of people playing and talking about AC in a positive way right now clearly demonstrates a misstep on EGM's part.

    IMO... if you played the game the way Crispin/others played it... you are missing 50% of the experience right there.

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    ApostateApostate Prince SpaceRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    To be fair I can understand Ubi's reaction to this. Maybe it's not a great idea to blacklist them but EGM really was incredibly unfair to Assassin's Creed. I don't care what problems people may have with that game, in an even remotely objective review scale, it in no way deserves a 4.5. They give shovelware higher scores than that. Add to that EGM basically bashed it all the way up until it's release despite Ubi bending over backwards and showing them improved builds each month.

    I see Ubisoft's actions as similiar to a politician who won't give interviews to media they percieve as openly hostile to them.

    Apostate on
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    WrenWren ninja_bird Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    Wren on
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    CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    That's ridiculous. Especially coming from the fucking Mortal Kombat team. Try not making a piece of shit, mayhap.

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    LotharsLothars Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Wren wrote: »
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    4.5 out of 10

    Lothars on
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    EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 2008
    Lothars wrote: »
    Wren wrote: »
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    4.5 out of 10

    Huh. I'd hardly call that a levelheaded rating. Sure, I don't call AC 9.8 material, but seriously, 4.5?

    Echo on
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    NexusSixNexusSix Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    vsove wrote: »
    They stuck to their guns.

    That's cool and I do respect that, but in general--not just talking about EGM in particular here--but in general, sticking to your guns can mean dealing with backlash because you might not have been on the money in the first place with your feelings.

    If that's the route EGM wants to go, fine, but they're going to have to deal with the repercussions, including other publications possibly getting a leg up on them with exclusives, early review copies, etc.

    Looking at it from EGM's point of view: great, they're sticking to their guns. I respect that. I don't respect poor reviews/scores because a journalist or team of journalists feel the game wasn't specifically designed to fit into their busy review schedule. If they're writing "for us gamers" then the reviews should be approached from a gamer's perspective rather than somebody worried about dealing with a press deadline (you wanted the job, you deal with it).

    Looking at it from Ubi's point of view: great, they're protecting their products and their teams. I respect that. I don't respect a gaming company blacklisting a publication for a poor review of a completely shitty game, and I don't think that was the case with Ubi's decision on this particular matter.

    Just my perspective, but it seemed like this whole outfit (EGM, et al.) had it out for Assassin's Creed before the game even realeased. Their previews for the title were just as bad as the final reviews. I have to go with Ubi on this. If it were my product and I knew people had worked hard and put out a quality title, I'd have done the same thing.

    NexusSix on
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    MHYoshimitzuMHYoshimitzu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    It really has been a back and forth lately with the publishers the the reviewers, hasn't it?

    I think that by making the issue public, Shoe has basically highlighted the companies that already do it and is attempting to prevent any other companies from doing the same, because they would also be in a bad public light.

    MHYoshimitzu on
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    SpikedFreakSpikedFreak Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Echo wrote: »
    Lothars wrote: »
    Wren wrote: »
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    4.5 out of 10

    Huh. I'd hardly call that a levelheaded rating. Sure, I don't call AC 9.8 material, but seriously, 4.5?

    When you run on a 5.0 = average scale, and that's a pretty spot on score in IMO.

    SpikedFreak on
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    FaceballMcDougalFaceballMcDougal Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Echo wrote: »
    Lothars wrote: »
    Wren wrote: »
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    4.5 out of 10

    Huh. I'd hardly call that a levelheaded rating. Sure, I don't call AC 9.8 material, but seriously, 4.5?

    When you run on a 5.0 = average scale, and that's a pretty spot on score in IMO.

    So you've played the game? Not on the gamercard in your sig though?

    FaceballMcDougal on
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    NorayNoray Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Echo wrote: »
    Lothars wrote: »
    Wren wrote: »
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    4.5 out of 10

    Huh. I'd hardly call that a levelheaded rating. Sure, I don't call AC 9.8 material, but seriously, 4.5?

    When you run on a 5.0 = average scale, and that's a pretty spot on score in IMO.


    Really? AC is worse than the average game? Really? With all the crap out there, AC isn't as good as the average game?

    Sorry, but fuck right off. That just blatantly isn't true. If only because of AC's production values, which are WAY above average.

    Noray on
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    Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    But, this is where number rating systems get stupid.
    A lot of average games with get a 7. I can deal with that.
    But what is this grey area of 7 to 5? Is one average or the other? Because that mean 7 is above average, but not so much as a 10?

    When I see a 1-10 scale, I tend to read it like a test score: out of 10-100. So, if we were 'grading' the games, AC would've gotten a 45%, or a big ol' F. That game is way better than that score says it is. I can deal with a 70%, that's a low C. IMO, this game is in my top 20 for the year. I mean, the dude gave Lair a higher score, and it's Lair. I played that game. Totally garbage. Assassin's Creed is at least FUN.

    I think they should do away with these scores, it's just obnoxious.

    Local H Jay on
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    LotharsLothars Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Echo wrote: »
    Lothars wrote: »
    Wren wrote: »
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    4.5 out of 10

    Huh. I'd hardly call that a levelheaded rating. Sure, I don't call AC 9.8 material, but seriously, 4.5?

    When you run on a 5.0 = average scale, and that's a pretty spot on score in IMO.

    Well your completely wrong, plus from what it looks like from your gamertag profile, you never played AC

    AC definitely wasn't a 10 but it's way better than an 4.5, i think it should get around an 8 mainly because it was a fantastic game that had way to much repetition.

    Lothars on
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    SlagmireSlagmire Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Heh... this reminds me of the time eToychest and Activision weren't the bestest of friends thanks to a review of Tony Hawk Underground 2. Fun times. Fun times.

    Slagmire on
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    MHYoshimitzuMHYoshimitzu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    But, this is where number rating systems get stupid.
    A lot of average games with get a 7. I can deal with that.
    But what is this grey area of 7 to 5? Is one average or the other? Because that mean 7 is above average, but not so much as a 10?

    When I see a 1-10 scale, I tend to read it like a test score: out of 10-100. So, if we were 'grading' the games, AC would've gotten a 45%, or a big ol' F. That game is way better than that score says it is. I can deal with a 70%, that's a low C. IMO, this game is in my top 20 for the year. I mean, the dude gave Lair a higher score, and it's Lair. I played that game. Totally garbage. Assassin's Creed is at least FUN.

    I think they should do away with these scores, it's just obnoxious.

    That's how most everyone reads it, and unfortunately, that's how the companies see it, too, if this event is any indication.

    They're not really worried about the score so much as perception. The way EGM grades their games is fine, but if you compare the game scores on other sites like GameRankings, you see that other magazines and review sites are giving it higher scores than 4.5, and then you begin to wonder about EGM's rating policy.

    It's not that EGM is doing it wrong, it's that, compared to others, EGM looks like a largely negative magazine because of its comparatively low scores.

    MHYoshimitzu on
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    TheMorningStarTheMorningStar Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    it's just, like, his opinion man.

    Maybe AC just wasn't his cup of tea? If we really want to consider video games as art then we should expect some people to love it while others hate it. I think it's bullshit to say 5= average game. I think you should play the game, and think "how did I like this", not think "how does this compare the the thousands of other games that are currently on the market". If you think like that you're just rating a product, not an experience, or a piece of art.

    If this practice ever became the standard (which I'd like to think egm is trying to do) then we would just start to have to look at reviews from reviewers with common mindsets as ourselves, like what people do with movie reviews.


    These reviewers aren't machines, we can't expect them to be fed a game and all shit out the same score. And I think it shows immaturity on the part of these companies for "blacklisting" egm. Do movie studios stop sending screeners to critics after a bad review?

    TheMorningStar on
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    Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    But the other two dudes reviewing it gave it 7's, I believe.
    Crispin HATED the game for some reason.

    Local H Jay on
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    Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Honestly, since I've never been sold a piece of art, I do consider games a product.
    So, it's the same as reading reviews for albums or movies.
    And the dude gave a good movie (Not a classic, but still good) 1 star. Which is pretty bullshit.

    Local H Jay on
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    FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    But the other two dudes reviewing it gave it 7's, I believe.
    Crispin HATED the game for some reason.

    See, this is what I was going to ask, and if that's the case, there's no justification for black listing them. EGMs system offers three different perspectives to offer more than one view point on a game, to make sure the sports guy isn't the only one reviewing an RPG for example, but can still provide "ye average gamer's" perspective on the RPG.

    Two 7s and a 4.5 is not unfair to Assassin's Creed, I enjoyed it myself but I can definitely...DEFINITELY see how some people would see it as below average. The game is tedious as fuck, production values don't cure that when we're talking about a game. A game that you play. P-l-a-y. Production values only go so far.

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    TheMorningStarTheMorningStar Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    You don't consider movies and music art? You clearly haven't heard Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

    I'm just saying, games are too complex and varied to be reviewed like they're a fucking toaster or some shit. They all do not aim to provide the same experience. Take for example a game like Final Fantasy Tactics. This game is a critical hit. When I played it, I FUCKING FELL ASLEEP. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I would give it a low score, because when I play games I don't play them to fall asleep.

    TheMorningStar on
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    ThetherooThetheroo Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Lothars wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Lothars wrote: »
    Wren wrote: »
    4.5 out of 5? or 10?

    4.5 out of 10

    Huh. I'd hardly call that a levelheaded rating. Sure, I don't call AC 9.8 material, but seriously, 4.5?

    When you run on a 5.0 = average scale, and that's a pretty spot on score in IMO.

    Well your completely wrong, plus from what it looks like from your gamertag profile, you never played AC

    AC definitely wasn't a 10 but it's way better than an 4.5, i think it should get around an 8 mainly because it was a fantastic game that had way to much repetition.

    I don't agree with his score, perhaps, but don't jump on the guy because his Gamertag profile says he never played it. Maybe he played it on PS3.

    Thetheroo on
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    MHYoshimitzuMHYoshimitzu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Fiaryn wrote: »
    But the other two dudes reviewing it gave it 7's, I believe.
    Crispin HATED the game for some reason.

    See, this is what I was going to ask, and if that's the case, there's no justification for black listing them. EGMs system offers three different perspectives to offer more than one view point on a game, to make sure the sports guy isn't the only one reviewing an RPG for example, but can still provide "ye average gamer's" perspective on the RPG.

    Two 7s and a 4.5 is not unfair to Assassin's Creed, I enjoyed it myself but I can definitely...DEFINITELY see how some people would see it as below average. The game is tedious as fuck, production values don't cure that when we're talking about a game. A game that you play. P-l-a-y. Production values only go so far.

    Hating the game is one thing. When I go to a review, I go for information on a game, and then use that information to justify whether I should buy it or not. Opinions are great, but when the entire review is "I hate the game, and you shouldn't buy it because of such and such," I tend to look for more informative reviews.

    Opinions are very important, because you use your opinion to judge whether or not you like something. But a review isn't very useful to me if the only thing a review tells me is that "EGM guy thinks it sucks, so I guess I won't buy it." The multi-perspective review thing is great, too, because you can tell whether one guy is very slanted or not.

    Keep in mind I haven't read the review in question and am basing this on my own opinion. ;-)

    MHYoshimitzu on
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    Shady3011Shady3011 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I've read Crispin's 4.5 review, and I have to say it was very poor. He based his score mainly on the story. At least the other two gave other reasons for liking/disliking the game. Keep in mind that I think AC is a good game at best.

    Shady3011 on
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    AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I hate EGM and everything but this is still a bunch of shit. Instead of bullying editors around, why don't you make a good game?

    AbsoluteZero on
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    AcidSerraAcidSerra Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Personally I think the whole debacle shows a great deal of short sightedness on the part of publishers, and to a certain extent the mags.

    The publishers CAN shove a game down a mags throat and throw money at them until they make the reviews better, and conversely stop paying/supporting them to try and make the reviews go away, but that is rather comparable to shoving things up your nose to make you breathe better. The more reviewers pad their scores the less their opinion actually matters, the more people go online to find many different view points and therefore wait until some time after it's release. Some people simply stop buying as many games, after all how many times can a publisher burn you out of $60 before you realize it's just cheaper to pick it up six months later off the used shelf?

    If the publishers and mags had open communication, and the publishers devoted serious time to addressing where they were previewing badly, it would be a different matter entirely. Instead the publishers do their damnedest to pay boats of cash to the yes men and freeze out the naysayers so that they can burn the players that much harder.

    I honestly believe that the majority of people's "lack of good games" burn-out these days is more simply a weariness with being burned by the hype, not the game itself.

    Closing thought, I don't think the publishers are alone at fault here, nor do I think EGM is in someway a spotless hero in this twisted tale. It's just bringing to the fore how fatally flawed the current approach to the system is.

    AcidSerra on
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    elizabexelizabex Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I haven't read the 4.5 review yet, but defintiely want to now. I'm currently going through AC ---- and would definitely rate it average, at best. I'm also working my way through every part I can imagine.. which has, in my opinion, made it seem way more tedious than just blazing through the missions might. It doesn't help that it's insanely easy either (IMO ---- I mean, what? Mr. Assassin can easily, EASILY take on/out an entire city of guards dancing around him in a circle? OK!).

    Anyway, I do think that a 4.5 rating out of 10 is very low for the game, even though I don't particularly love the title (the roof running IS cool). No matter what tags a review site adds to their numbered score (incredible - great - good - average - etc), everyone is going to think of a 1-10 scale as coresponding to the all-too-familiar academic grading scale, in which a C, or average, score is a 7 out of 10. Anything below a 70% is very, very not good. Anything below a 50% is piss-poor --- only good for laughs at its ineptitude.

    I mean, right? Who doesn't look at a 8.5 review and say "Ah! A solid "B" game! It'll be ok!"??

    Anyway --- off to find the review. ;)

    elizabex on
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    Munkus BeaverMunkus Beaver You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to. Philosophy: Stoicism. Politics: Democratic SocialistRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    I love EGM. They give three different reviews of a game, so you can read each one to see what they liked/hated about it and see if you agree.

    Blackballing for giving low scores is retarded.

    Munkus Beaver on
    Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but dies in the process.
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    AcidSerraAcidSerra Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    elizabex wrote: »
    I mean, right? Who doesn't look at a 8.5 review and say "Ah! A solid "B" game! It'll be ok!"??

    Anyway --- off to find the review. ;)

    Ironically, I've had to stop reading a lot of mags specifically because my mind does NOT make that association.

    AcidSerra on
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