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