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Critics Should Pay To Review A Game? Guess We Quit

These are the kinds of statements that often get taken out of context or blown way out of proportion.

I haven't dived into the nuts and bolts of the inflammatory situation, but I can certainly address the notion that video game critics should pay the developer to review a game.

I can't possibly imagine anything more backward. In other industries, it is backwards; very often, for example, writers have to pay to have their books reviewed by notable critics and sources. The review is not only a service to the consuming public, it's also a service to the artist. Even bad reviews are essentially an advertisement, simply because it circulates the name of the product; "there's no such thing as bad publicity" in business, remember. And any product that does land a great review is only helping the artists and anyone associted with the product's distribution.

You want me to pay to review your game? You've got to be kidding. I wouldn't give anyone a dime, not even if they were willing to give me some sort of exclusive. No, that's not how it works. We provide a service; you're not providing anything but the product to be reviewed. Hence, you should be paying us. Don't forget, in the game industry, entire studios can sink or float depending on critical reception. Remember Haze? What happened to Free Radical after that? If Crytek hadn't come along and bailed them out, they'd be done. What scores did that game get...?

And that's hardly the only example. In so many ways, an industry professional's career is made and broken due to reviews. You rely on us, not the other way around, my friend. Granted, if there were no games, we wouldn't be able to review anything, but what exactly are the chances of that happening? There's a far greater chance that your team shuts down because you put out trash and the critics acknowledged it as such. There's another chance that you put out a great product and those same critics told everyone to run out and buy it. We're holding the cards in this business scenario. We tell consumers to buy your stuff.

Unless you've got the advertising pull to override a poor critical reception (and let's face it, you'd have to be Activision to do that), you are, for all intents and purposes, at our mercy. Therefore, I find this entire issue utterly, completely, shockingly absurd.

Tags: video game critics, game reviews, video game reviewers

12/26/2013 9:45:27 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (18 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 10:33:16 PM
Reply

I wonder what their reasoning is. I could try to read about it, but such nonsense isn't worth my time. It doesn't make sense, and furthermore most games would probably get much lower scores if it were so.

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Bonampak
Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 10:46:30 PM

It mostly comes from a comment made by Renaud Charpentier from The Creative Assembly.

He argued that Youtubers who made money from copyrighted material, needed to pay money back to the owners of said material. He not only included LP'ers but also critics who review their games and who also make a profit from posting review videos.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 10:51:51 PM

Silliness anyway.

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Bonampak
Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 11:07:28 PM

I should add that Renaud was really driving the point home about asking money from reviewers who "ruined the reputation" of their games.

Crazy talk.

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Temjin001
Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 10:44:30 PM
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reminds me of those occasional game demos locked behind membership services.
i suppose there comes a time when a game's name and appeal elicits such anticipation that just having a chance to play some incarnation of a prospective title early is of monetary value.

but that's still different.
i didn't take the time to read all of the source because it seems to me pretty clear, this guy is way out in left field.

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Ather
Thursday, December 26, 2013 @ 10:51:54 PM
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So, if reviewers and critics have to pay, then logically, the developers must pay these people back if their review boosts sales. Just have the buyer send an e-mail. Facebook post, tweet, etc to the developer, saying which person convinced them to buy which game. Then the developer pays a percentage per game to said reviewer. Only fair, since said reviewer helped generate sales. A Finders Fee, really.

Last edited by Ather on 12/26/2013 10:52:28 PM

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dumbnut
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 1:46:49 AM
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I think that this guy just wants to have the ability to control the outcome.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 2:23:39 AM
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Just want to say that I really dislike the tone of the writer of the linked article.

Also, Renaud Charpentier's comments have been taken out of context here, as Bonampak mentioned above. Charpentier specifies "critics" who do video reviews, relying on gameplay footage to make their review "fun", while freely attacking the content and nature of the game itself.
He's not really talking about the likes of PSXExtreme where the reviews are based on the content, but doesn't actually incorporate any of it. It's an interesting argument, for sure. I mean, is there a line between what a video reviewer or Let's Play-er is able to use? How much does that rely on the original content and how much is up to the person reviewing it, or whatever. Questions...

But if it's a "pure" review, I do agree that a reviewer shouldn't necessarily have to pay for the "privilege" of reviewing it. They act as a service to the community and advertising for the publisher/developer so... yeah.

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Beamboom
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 2:43:17 AM
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Some inconsistency in your arguments there, young man.

First you claim "there's no such thing as bad publicity" and then you tell what bad publicity did with a game like Haze.

A pedantic mind just had to point that out. :)

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Underdog15
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 10:06:52 AM

Tough to know for sure. If it wasn't for reviews I would never have tried Haze.

Of course, also because of the reviews, I didn't buy it new by a long shot.

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Beamboom
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 11:00:43 AM

Haze, now that's a game that I always thought look totally awesome on the cover. Had it not been that I am a metascore wh*re I'd buy that game for sure.

But since I always - without reservation - check metascore on what I buy (that goes for movies too) they lost one sale on me there due to the reviews.

But obviously it depends on the customer. I'm just pointing out the inconsistency, not the validity. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 12/27/2013 11:02:14 AM

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bigrailer19
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 8:34:24 PM

I actually enjoyed Haze. It wasn't terrible. I don't put much weight in reviews. Typically if I feel like I'll enjoy it I play it. However I'm not saying Haze was great. Just decent.

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Gabriel013
Monday, December 30, 2013 @ 2:09:03 AM

I never picked up Haze but I recall playing, and enjoying, the demo on the PSN.

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JackC8
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 8:14:42 AM
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The guy's French, that pretty much explains it.

As far as copyright issues on Youtube, which is also discussed in the linked article, I pretty much always check out some gameplay videos on Youtube before deciding if I want to buy a game or not. There aren't too many games I'd be willing to pay $60 for if all I knew about them was what I saw in the launch trailer.

I don't know who exactly is responsible for all these Youtube copyright claims, but if it's the publishers / developers, it really reflects a lot of ignorance as well as arrogance on their part. If their products are so poor that they think nobody would buy them if they're able to see what they're getting before they've paid their money, maybe I should find a different hobby.

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PC_Max
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 9:13:38 AM
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Pay to be allowed to review? Uh wah?

Well if the charge reviewers/critics then I think with those profits they should bring the price of the game down or some substantial free DLC.

Although the notion of the former is idiotic.

All I ask from reviewers/critics is they actually play the game... to the end before reviewing. Don't care if there are 10 games on the list. Either finish all the games to the end to give a more informative review. If the cannot do that then... delegate to another or don't bother at all. I hate reviews based on partial gameplay. I get it the reasons, but it does not benefit the gamer in the end with the purchase.

Anyway, I guess that is one way to control what reviews get out.

Keep playing and reviewing. You pay to play, but reviews are free news. I know, but its early.

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wackazoa
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 10:42:43 AM
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Or they could you know.... go back to making demos. I dont know the rules of the arangement, but never say never Ben.




"I dont care what they say in the papers... I only care that they spell my name right."


Edit:Oh and why does it coming back to money with these guys. It seems that too many people in the industry are only about money.

Last edited by wackazoa on 12/27/2013 10:45:36 AM

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Gordo
Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 3:21:38 PM
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There is something to be said however for the investment you get when you have paid for a full priced game. You can sometimes emotionally make yourself enjoy it more than if you picked it up cheap or borrowed it from a friend.
If reviewers had to pay full price for games then they might come to the review in a slightly altered frame of mind. Not advocating that this happens but just stating that it can have an influence on the whole gaming experience.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Sunday, December 29, 2013 @ 5:04:00 AM
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yeah i do find that nation a bit strange.

happy gaming =)

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