Author Topic: Bethesda controlling the field?  (Read 706 times)

Offline Starfox

  • Master Keeper
  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2467
  • Did anybody see my lenses?
    • The Foxhole
Bethesda controlling the field?
« on: November 03, 2016, 06:20:46 PM »
Caught this interesting tidbit from Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

Basically for those who don't want to read the long post, Bethesda issued new review guidelines following which they will send their game review copy to most reviewers just one day before the game release ensuring according to them that "everyone will experience the game at the same time". Of course it may also be viewed the other way: "to not let reviewers having the time to write anything bad before release".

What I know for a fact via Youtube, is that Bethesda infringed their own new rules by distributing early copies of Skyrim SE two weeks before release to a select category of people who are generally known to have positive views of Bethesda games and own Youtube channels or other social way to influence people. Professional reviewers got their copy on day -1 and users actively involved in Bethesda games but owning for example a Youtube channel where they have been known to criticize some aspects of Bethesda games received... nothing. So that just seems a marketing plot to me no matter how Bethesda is trying to sugar coat it. Let's keep the "bad" people at bay, to prevent them from saying "bad" things before others buy the game (and especially to prevent pre-order cancels).

Like the guys at Rock, Paper... I think however that the solution for users (us) is quite simple: stop pre-ordering games. Let a game be released, the opinions form, the reviews come and make an informed decision if the game is worth your time and money. The worst that can happen is that you'll get to play the game a month after release... If that can save your money I'd say it's worth it.

With that being said, denying early copies to some users while sending them to others is a move that may reflect Bethesda understanding that right now, official review channels count for less than users reviews like Youtube or even Metacritic. Take Fallout 4 on metacritic for example. 84/100 official score, 5.3/10 users' score. This kind of discrepancy is seen with many games and rare are the games that manage to achieve a similar score on the reviewers and the users side (the most recent was The Witcher 3 that put everyone in agreement with as of today and amusing 93/100 official score and 9.3/10 by users). Unlike official reviewers, users are generally harder (because their money, time and fun is directly involved) and kick where it hurts the most. Sure Metacritic has its share of "fanboys" and "haters" who always try to skew things their way, but when you reach totals of more than 2,000 people giving score to a game those biased views are largely mitigated.

Bethesda should watch out for Steam users too... lately they've not been very nice with Fallout 4... bad bad users. But why do you think Bethesda.net and Origin exist? It's to offer to their respective publishers a way to control the field. Electronic Arts already do it with Origin and its Origin exclusive games (just about 100% of the games released by EA since Mass Effect 3), Bethesda is testing the waters and has yet to make the final move with Bethesda.net... but that will come... sadly and unfortunately; and it will be labeled: "the day the modding died" for reasons beyond the scope of this post.

Somehow it's appalling because when you're confident in the quality of your games, you don't need to control the field... You just have to let users talk. Since about the release of Fallout 4 however it seems that Bethesda is facing a confidence crisis, trying as a result to control in ways not really subtle what is said about their games, not only those they develop but also those they just publish...
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 10:25:05 PM by Starfox »


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline bobdog

  • Totally Awesome Member - Won A Cookie!
  • ******
  • Posts: 3427
  • Avatar of Curiousness
Re: Bethesda controlling the field?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 11:50:47 AM »
That's a shame, because overall, Bethesda really does put out some good games. Possibly a little buggy, but that's honestly to be expected with the scope and complexity of these open-world RPGs. If they could work more closely with the modding community to help fix all their various bugs, that would be the smartest thing they could do.