Jimquisition: Review Embargoes And Why They're Okay Sometimes

Jimothy Sterling

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Review Embargoes And Why They're Okay Sometimes

: It's review season, which means I'm thinking a lot about the process of saying words about videogames. This week, why review embargoes aren't terrible ... most of the time.

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Fappy

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Did you just imply you've been playing a review copy of Hyrule Warriors? I am totes jelly XD
 

hentropy

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Somewhat offtopic Jim, but Destiny has been using a quote from The Escapist in their TV commercial- I read your review and I didn't see that quote from your review at least, was there another article or review that came from? I'm sorry if this has already been answered, but I just thought about asking about it now.

When it comes to embargoes, I can totally understand it being part of a marketing strategy, but I do wonder what the ratio of "this is part of a marketing strategy" and "this game is crap."
 

Gizmo1990

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This is a bit off topic but it is something I have wanted to know for a while now. What the hell happened between Jim and Konami?
 

Something Amyss

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I wouldn't really mind review embargoes at all, except there's a lot of emphasis on pre-order culture and more big games seem to be pushing the embargoes towards launch day. Publishers need to pick one: big pre-order events, or reviews that come out at or near launch. And regardless of their intents, if they have both, I will probably feel like someone's pulling a fast one.
 

Darth_Payn

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The footage from that Aliens game looks to clean and competently made to be from Colonial Marines; I guess it's from the new one.
At the end there, with Jim looking around for the fly he thought he saw, that may have been an excuse for Jim to show off his good side.
 

Ragsnstitches

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hentropy said:
Somewhat offtopic Jim, but Destiny has been using a quote from The Escapist in their TV commercial- I read your review and I didn't see that quote from your review at least, was there another article or review that came from? I'm sorry if this has already been answered, but I just thought about asking about it now.
Can't say if the issue was answered, but the line is:

"Masterful Game-Making - The Escapist"

And no, it isn't in the review at all. It's in a preview by Greg Tito... specifically the title:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/previews/10409-Destiny-Is-Masterful-Game-Making-from-Bungie

Note that the Article was published in JUNE 2013.

For those wondering, here's the Trailer, note that it's a pre-order trailer from 2014:


The guilty quote is literally the first thing that appears.
 

Alex Baas

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I would like to ask in what state the review copy tends to be in when you play it and whether or not bugs and patches are taken into consideration when writing the review. How complete is the game when you play it? Are there just a few last minute bugs you have learned to ignore and how do you distinguish a bug from on that will be fixed with a last minute touch-up and what is a bug that will be a real problem at launch?
 

Wisq

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So do (moderately) crappy games ever try lifting the embargo super early so everyone will forget about the bad reviews by launch? Or is lifting early generally still a sign of confidence?

Would be interesting to look at games history and try to come up with a formula to describe game scores as a function of the time between review copies received, embargo lifted, and game released.
 

flying_whimsy

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I was wondering why Jim was hired as the Escapist reviews editor (especially since he is blacklisted by a publisher), but now I understand why. I was really skeptical coming into this video about review embargoes (like many I thought it was simply a way to stifle bad reviews), but now I see how they can fit into a bigger picture and work just as well for consumers as they do for publishers when used properly. Still makes me wish more people would break the silence when it's a really bad game like Resident Evil 6, though; otherwise the reviewers end up culpable in pushing false marketing.

Really loved that bit with the fly at the end.
 

J.McMillen

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I have to agree with Jim about embargo's on smaller titles, early reviews (even good ones) will be forgotten if players have to wait to long. But absolutely no review embargo should extend past the day before a game is released. If I was a reviewer, I wouldn't even touch the game and would tell my audience why I wasn't reviewing a per-release copy of the game.
 

RandV80

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Embargo's are one of those things that are just part of a professional contract, very standard in many industries so perfectly normal in the video game industry. It's one thing if publishers are yanking reviewers around by forcing to come to 'launch events' or offering exclusive 'first reviews', but if as the consumer you're getting hurt because of the review embargo you should probably just learn to be a better consumer in my opinion.
 

LeQuack_Is_Back

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The whole system still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. And it bugs me that publishers essentially have reviewers by the balls, as Jim explained with the "can only do it once" bit.
 

Kuro Serpentina

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And the advert for this video was the Giver...
BOB!
YOUR GIVING SHIT NO ONE CARES ABOUT COVERAGE AGAIN! AND THIS TIME, ITS NOT FUNNY!
Stop it... Please... Just let stuff like that die...
Also, the Fly is Real...
The Illumanati is coming for Jim
 

MoltenSilver

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Feb 21, 2013
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While I do understand the points made in the video I think the title could use a bit of tweaking:

"Review Embargoes: Why The Alternative Is (Probably) Even Worse"