Bethesda Says ‘No More’ To Advance Game Reviews

Victory Point will no longer cover Bethesda Games going forward.

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Bethesda has announced today that they will no longer provide advance review copies to review outlets prior to release. Bethesda library includes The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, Fallout, Doom, Prey, Wolfenstein and etc.

“Earlier this year we released Doom,” Gary Steinman, Bethesda’s global content lead wrote in a company blog post. “We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then Doom has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.”

While Doom is one of your surprises of 2016 that’s mostly because it surpassed low expectations and released at the right time. It released the week after Uncharted 4 and afterwards there was nothing until E3 2016 rolled around. Bethesda’s number one goal is to sell as many games as possible on the open market – especially with Call of Duty releasing a week before – this action prevents game reviews from being published in a reasonable time.

“We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts,” Steinman said. 

 

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This decision effect smaller outlets the most, in particular ours.

One of the biggest myths in Video Game Journalism is that small websites don’t generate traffic, which isn’t the case. Some PR agencies have shifted towards Youtubers and Twitch users because they rely on a niche audience. So if you see a Dishonored review on release date, it’s going to be hard to take that seriously.

Publishers are also finding ways to lock in players’ dollars allowing beta access doled out as a pre-order reward. Bethesda will let you play Dishonored 2 a day before launch, as long as you pre-order it. You could play Battlefield One three days early if you paid $20 for the “early enlister edition. ”


Our Response 

So where do we go from here? Currently right now at Victory Point, we’re holding cover plans on Dishonored 2 and future Bethesda titles (that includes Elder Scrolls 6 when it releases). We believe Bethesda’s new review policy isn’t the right direction the industry should go. Consumers should have multiple opinions available to them day one when the game is available at midnight.

This rush to get into the black when a game first hits store shelves is a rush to madness that benefits nobody in the long run. It has become apparent that Bethesda wants your money more than making sure you enjoyed the products they’re selling. Vote with your wallet.

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Editor-in-Chief at Victory Point. When I am not talking about video games, I am regrettably cheering for the San Jose Sharks, San Diego Chargers, and Phoenix Suns on Twitter.
  • J.j. Barrington

    So instead of doing like the Bethesda guy himself says and encouraging people to actually wait for reviews before buying, you’re just gonna throw a tantrum?

    With everybody and their mother trying to be video game journalists, why should Bethesda come out of pocket to provide more and more people with free product? You can claim publicity, but it’s not like a commercial, where they pay money and get good pub.

    If you don’t like their game, they are essentially paying you to trash them.

    Does that make sense? (Please don’t say yes.)

  • K.T. Mackson

    Oooo! I can see Bethesda pissing their pants because “Victory Point” will no longer cover their games.

    Might want to get your head out of your ass. No one gives a shit about your site.

    By the way, IGN or Gamespot is the online destination for the latest Video Game reviews, and news.

    • “IGN or Gamespot is the online destination for the latest Video Game reviews, and news.”

    • DarthDiggler

      @K.T. Mackson

      By the way, IGN or Gamespot is the online destination for the latest Video Game reviews, and news.

      LOL Dude there are TONS of websites out there now. IGN, GameSpot no longer have a lock on it and quite honestly they are usually reporting on other website’s scoops or scooping on NeoGAF.

  • Barry Harden

    Bethesda has always been that shithole of a company. They always had a better relationship with Micro$oft and it showed by the many multiplatform console releases they’ve put out going back to the days of the PS3. Most of the titles ran better on Xbox to the point where many gamers wondered if this was intentional. Even the Bethesda games on the more powerful PS4 seemed to be plagued with issues compared to the XBone version.
    I’ve boycotted buying any of Bethesda games even the ones published by them.

    Remember folks, the parent company of Bethesda is ZeniMax Media. These are the same assholes who are trying to sue Oculus VR and claiming ZeniMax had involvement in the development of the Rift.

    • DarthDiggler

      @barryharden:disqus

      Sounds a little salty as if you were butthurt.

  • BillyHoWCR

    Sorry but early reviews really don’t push sales. Simply not proven. So the idea this is hurting those that review and not the company really says little other than to the small sights that think they are relative to the situation. They are not.

    Never heard of vpdaily… and only clicked because it is on N4G which is having a slow day I am assuming?

    You can always work at Walmart.

  • Whatever. I don’t think that any company should send out review copies of games. I remember a stereo magazine being pissed that a manufacturer wouldn’t send them amplifiers to review. THEN GO BUY ONE. Same thing applies here. If everyone goes out and buys a game to review it, after release, the reviews will be less biased, and there’s less chance of the system being gamed for profit. The idea that gamers are entitled to day one reviews is hogwash. Where’s that in the constitution?

    • bruce livingston

      I’m sure sites would be happy to “buy” early review copies, but Bethesda won’t let that happen either. This isn’t about getting free stuff, it’s about keeping first impressions away from gamers until they can actually buy the game.

      • J.j. Barrington

        Seems more about preventing people from rushing out reviews to be first.

        First impressions would be made LONG before the game released. Those impressions would be the reason gamers would take note of the reviews in the first place.

        In all honesty- and this is an opinion I apparently share with a decent number of gamers- reviewers have gotten full of themselves. In general, the gaming media seems to think they have some level of importance beyond what they should have. Their role is to report on the industry: new games and hardware, hirings and firings, and consumer reactions to it all. Somehow, though, it’s become the thing to believe they should have weight and influence on the industry.

        To borrow a phrase I’m not particularly fond of, “Where they do that at?”

        In what other field do journalists believe they should be influential on the subject upon which they report? Politics is the only thing I can think of, and that’s not a good thing at all.

        You got an opinion about something? Fine, share it. But you’re not entitled to swag or invites(Adam Sessler, for a rather famous example) or early review copies.

      • I’m not sympathetic. First day impressions are not as important as journalists say they are. There’s no big deal to waiting a week or two for a review.

  • DarthDiggler

    @Alex Maritinet

    This decision effect smaller outlets the most, in particular ours.

    Pure nonsense my friend.

    If they are not doing ANY advanced reviews everyone is on the same playing field. This is a benefit to you. If your review staff is more dedicated than your competition you can get game reviews up quicker.

    Also you are likely going to get better reviews out of this, not kind reviews because the entity got the exclusive early review.

    Bethesda will let you play Dishonored 2 a day before launch, as long as you pre-order it. You could play Battlefield One three days early if you paid $20 for the “early enlister edition. ”

    I say SO WHAT?

    We are talking about video games here. Not life saving medical equipment. If people are so passionate about a product they want to buy it before a review is out MORE POWER TO THEM. I really think websites that review games think their job of reviewing games is a great deal more serious than it is. Sure you may help save someone $60, but if someone is investing non-disposable income into their gaming habit they have their priorities wrong. Generally speaking when I buy a game I am willing to assume the risk of my decision making and not blame it on PR, Hype or Marketing.

    I bought the BF1 Early Edition — I will admit it wasn’t worth the month in retrospect, but I am not going to be salty about it. I likely won’t buy an early edition again. :) Guess what — I didn’t need a website review to suggest to me this course of action. I am a savvy consumer (like many games) who can make up their own minds.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Gaming journalists think they’re too important. That’s the bottom line. They think they DESERVE these things.

  • bruce livingston

    Kudos to you guys. I’ve never heard of you until today, but I will be checking out your site and telling my friends. It boggles my mind that so many people are taking the pro-corporate, anti-consumer position on this. I hope you are starting a trend, it will be up to small guys like you and Youtubers to get the ball rolling.

    • It’s not pro-corporate OR anti-consumer. It’s just common sense.

      • J.j. Barrington

        Common sense isn’t all that common, I’ve learned.