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Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated]

A post on The RAM Raider alleges more review score shenanigans from Eidos, already notorious for the GameSpot/Kane & Lynch Fiasco and attemting to delay negative Tomb Raider reviews. According to their report, Eidos UK has embargoed reviews of Batman: Arkham Asylum until the end of the month, and while there is nothing unusual about that, the problem comes in their offer of how to get around this, as they have allegedly offered to allow magazines to print their reviews early, provided they feature the game on their cover and guarantee a review score of at least 90%. The site concludes with a guide to spotting questionable (they use a stronger term) reviews: "This means that if you see a mag turn up within the next few weeks (ding!) that features Arkham Asylum on its cover (ding!) and gives it at least 90% (ding ding ding!), you have a winner." Update: Kotaku has comment from Jon Brooke, Head of UK Marketing, Eidos, denying any wrongdoing: "With regards an article posted on RamRaider alleging that Eidos has fixed review scores for Batman: Arkham Asylum, we want to state that no discussions have been held about review scores with any magazines. In short there is simply not one shred of truth in this article, except for the title of the game."

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37. Re: Arkham Asylum Revs. Jul 17, 2009, 18:13 Jerykk
 
No it wasn't. Fallout was a well known property for quite some time.

To veteran PC gamers, yes. To console gamers (the majority of people who bought FO3), no. It was an obscure CRPG series. Fallout 1 and 2 combined sold less than Fallout 3. You honestly think that the majority of FO3's customers actually heard of Fallout before FO3?

Who said DRM was a sales feature in the first place?

The purpose of DRM, as with all copy-protection, is to increase sales by decreasing piracy. If publishers didn't believe that piracy had any effect on sales, they wouldn't bother with DRM.

You might not need DRM to sell a game but Fallout 3 is about the worst example I can think of.

Not at all. It goes to show that copy-protection is a total non-factor when it comes to sales. Hype and marketing are the biggest factors and Fallout 3 had plenty of both.
 
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36. Re: Arkham Asylum Revs. Jul 17, 2009, 09:36 Verno
 
Actually, Fallout was a completely obscure franchise until Bethesda announced Fallout 3

No it wasn't. Fallout was a well known property for quite some time.

The point is that you don't need DRM (activations and install limits) to sell your game. Hype, marketing, pretty graphics, reviews, etc, sell games, not DRM.

Who said DRM was a sales feature in the first place? It's not, it's a failed preventative method. You might not need DRM to sell a game but Fallout 3 is about the worst example I can think of.

This comment was edited on Jul 17, 2009, 09:38.
 
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35. Re: Arkham Asylum Revs. Jul 16, 2009, 22:44 Jerykk
 
Fallout 3 had a dvd check you douche, lol. It's also FALLOUT 3, not exactly an unknown or obscure franchise.

Actually, Fallout was a completely obscure franchise until Bethesda announced Fallout 3. And yes, it had a disc check, the most basic form of protection yet it sold millions of copies. The point is that you don't need DRM (activations and install limits) to sell your game. Hype, marketing, pretty graphics, reviews, etc, sell games, not DRM.

This comment was edited on Jul 16, 2009, 22:44.
 
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34. Re: Arkham Asylum Revs. Jul 16, 2009, 08:52 Verno
 
Conversely, games like FO3 have been cracked on day one and still been topsellers

Fallout 3 had a dvd check you douche, lol. It's also FALLOUT 3, not exactly an unknown or obscure franchise.
 
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33. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 12, 2009, 00:34 Jerykk
 
No marketing people at Eidos will risk that after seeing their own kind get fired for it. None. If you see someone touch an iron and get a fatal burn you keep yourself as far away as possible.

Maybe. Except I don't have as much faith in their common sense as you do.

No, they do this because the numbers still show that even the small titles sell better at this time.

And that's why so many publishers were disappointed with their sales during the last holiday season... hell, even EA admitted that releasing Dead Space and Mirror's Edge during the saturated holiday season was a mistake.

It hasn't been proven worthless. Mostly worthless, but with enough for them to justify it. Even that is changing.

No, it's pretty much been consistently worthless. The new Riddick game took 2 or 3 weeks to crack, I think. Did it top any sales charts? Nope. Conversely, games like FO3 have been cracked on day one and still been topsellers. If publishers have as much common sense as you give them, they'd certainly realize that DRM doesn't guarantee sales but does guarantee that potential customers will be less likely to buy.

It isn't about making sure you sell the most copies of each version, it's about making sure you bring in the most profit. The only reasons a delayed port will sell significantly worse than a prompt port is if the buyers find out from the other version that the game is terrible or if they just, you know, play the other version.

If you're releasing a multiplatform game, you want every SKU to sell as much as possible. Releasing a delayed port introduces many factors that detract from sales. For one, lack of hype. All the reviews are already in, marketing has ended and people just don't really care about the game anymore. Assassin's Creed, for example. It didn't take long for the PC version to hit the bargain bin because everybody had already seen all the poor reviews of the console versions. Bionic Commando is going to sell really, really badly on the PC because everybody has already seen all the poor reviews of that. Hell, look at Mass Effect. If Microsoft wasn't such a piece of shit and released the game on PC and 360 at the same time, the PC version would have sold a lot more than it did and 360 sales would have remained the same. Hype is everything and hype decreases over time, thereby decreasing the potential sales for delayed ports.

 
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32. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 11, 2009, 17:49 Beamer
 
If that's the case, why only allow good reviews to be break embargo?

It's not allowing only good reviews to break the embargo. An 87% is good, it doesn't break the embargo. A 99% is great, but without a cover it doesn't break the embargo.

It's some idiot afraid the embargo, in the most extreme situation, will hurt them, so they try to structure the embargo around it.

It's someone naive, not someone manipulative.

As a general rule, publishers are completely retarded

Though true to an extent, it's really discrediting a great deal of very, very intelligent people working at publishers. Plus my scenario involves them being retarded. Yours involves them being retarded, damn near criminal, and with no regard for their own jobs. No marketing people at Eidos will risk that after seeing their own kind get fired for it. None. If you see someone touch an iron and get a fatal burn you keep yourself as far away as possible.

That's why they release all their games during the holiday season when the market is completely saturated and only the really big titles get any attention.

No, they do this because the numbers still show that even the small titles sell better at this time.

That's why they continue to use DRM when it's been proven to be worthless.

It hasn't been proven worthless. Mostly worthless, but with enough for them to justify it. Even that is changing.

That's why they continue to delay PC ports when it's an established fact that delayed ports don't sell well.

See, but here you're being retarded. It isn't about making sure you sell the most copies of each version, it's about making sure you bring in the most profit. The only reasons a delayed port will sell significantly worse than a prompt port is if the buyers find out from the other version that the game is terrible or if they just, you know, play the other version. In either case the publisher didn't really lose anything. And if they play the console version instead, well, good for the publisher. Contrary to the belief around here the console market is far more influential. Having good word of mouth there is more important. More websites are dedicated to console gaming. More magainzes. More space in other media. More players, period.
 
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31. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 11, 2009, 14:39 Jerykk
 
I think it's them being stupid. They know the game will get mostly solid reviews and some people will probably go 90%+. They know there's a small chance it might get a magazine cover, even if the chance is slim. They don't want the embargo stopping it.

If that's the case, why only allow good reviews to be break embargo? If they're so confident in their game, they'd simply remove the embargo altogether and let the hype start generating early. No, the only reason to let good reviews break embargo is to help tip them in their favor. They know that everyone wants to have a world exclusive first review and some outlets are willing to bend the truth to get it. And I think you underestimate this game. I'm sure it'll get magazine covers. This is the first Batman game in a long, long time with the potential to be good, after all.

I think you have far too much faith in Eidos. As a general rule, publishers are completely retarded. That's why they release all their games during the holiday season when the market is completely saturated and only the really big titles get any attention. That's why they continue to use DRM when it's been proven to be worthless. That's why they continue to delay PC ports when it's an established fact that delayed ports don't sell well. Publishers are dumb.

This comment was edited on Jul 11, 2009, 14:42.
 
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30. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 11, 2009, 11:00 Beamer
 
I don't believe their denial, and as a result, if their own confidence in their game is so shitty that they have to resort to bullshit like this in an effort to make it appear good, I have better games to spend my money on.

I'm telling you - this is due to HIGH confidence, not LOW confidence.
 
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29. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updat Jul 11, 2009, 10:59 Beamer
 
Nonsense. Having a clause that allows reviews to be released early but only if they get 90%+ and feature on the front cover is nothing but contemptible. It's shady, underhanded and manipulative. I have no problem with them blocking reviews coming out before a certain date - that's standard practice, hence why reviews for processors and graphics cards all appear on the same day - but to allow early reviews is completely different.

That's the part I'm saying ISN'T standard and stupid. Did you read any thing I typed in here other than that one quote? I already menationed GPUs on the other page. You're getting angry then parroting my prior posts.

I really don't think Eidos meant harm by this. I don't think Eidos is dumb enough to do that again. But I think they were naive enough to not notice how stupid this is.

Their past history is WHY I don't think it's meant to be shady. They took such a black eye, basically ruined an entire corporation, took out an entire editorial staff... there's no way they're rushing to do that. Odds are they laid off part of their own marketing staff due to that. Jobs were lost. They're not rushing to do it again.

This comment was edited on Jul 11, 2009, 10:59.
 
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28. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 11, 2009, 10:25 Creston
 
Fuck Eidos. I don't believe their denial, and as a result, if their own confidence in their game is so shitty that they have to resort to bullshit like this in an effort to make it appear good, I have better games to spend my money on.

*scratches Batman off list.*

Creston
 
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27. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updat Jul 11, 2009, 09:28 theyarecomingforyou
 
Again, for the record, this is standard. It happens with tons of games, tons of movies, books, tv shows, hardware, etc. It's common and not shady.
Nonsense. Having a clause that allows reviews to be released early but only if they get 90%+ and feature on the front cover is nothing but contemptible. It's shady, underhanded and manipulative. I have no problem with them blocking reviews coming out before a certain date - that's standard practice, hence why reviews for processors and graphics cards all appear on the same day - but to allow early reviews is completely different.

Eidos may deny it but this sounds like exactly the sort of thing they'd do, based upon their past history.

This comment was edited on Jul 11, 2009, 09:29.
 
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26. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 20:57 Beamer
 
at least untill the initial sales rush is over

Again, the embargo ends before the game goes on sale. Three and a half weeks before. Therefore this can't be the logic.
 
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25. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 19:57 Cutter
 
It is shady.

Praise our product and you have free reign.

Condemn our product and we don't want to hear from you - at least untill the initial sales rush is over and the consumers have already been ripped off.
 
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24. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 19:09 Beamer
 
So, let's say Eidos says to PC Gamer, "we know you guys like having World Exclusive First review, so if you promise to only give it a 90% or higher, we'll let you have it a month earlier than anyone else." PC Gamer accepts, but then the game is really only worthy of a 75%. What's stopping them from running it?

Conversely, even if the game was worthy of a 90% in the PC Gamer reviewer's opinion, how can that score have any credibility in light of the agreement? It would of course look like the score was simply awarded as part of the agreement and not genuine.

This is why it's stupid.

I doubt Batman would get many covers, I mean, it's not AAA pedigreed and it's a review, not a preview. Plus I think Eidos learned their lesson. They got an entire staff canned and brought down a business. They won't repeat that this soon.

I think it's them being stupid. They know the game will get mostly solid reviews and some people will probably go 90%+. They know there's a small chance it might get a magazine cover, even if the chance is slim. They don't want the embargo stopping it.

This was probably less about trying to force these things and more about trying not to prevent these things.

However, it's stupid because it comes across as completely and utterly shady.

But I strongly, strongly doubt it is actually shady. Eidos was dragged through the mud for being shady. They are not looking to do that again. That hurt them badly.
 
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23. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 19:06 Beamer
 
That's a terrible example. The only time a movie is embargoed until after it comes out is when the studio refuses to pre-screen it for critics, because they know the critics are going to give it amazingly low scores.

1) That's not true. LOTS of movies have embargos, although they're often broken. Haven't you ever noticed that, with many movies, rottentomatoes often gets full all at once? It's not that the reviews get published conveniently then, it's embargos.
2) This ISN'T an embargo until after the game is launched. The game gets launched on 8/25. The embargo is for the end of -this- month. Which means reviews can show up 8/1. That's still three and a half weeks before release!
 
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22. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 18:39 PHJF
 
So, let's say Eidos says to PC Gamer, "we know you guys like having World Exclusive First review, so if you promise to only give it a 90% or higher, we'll let you have it a month earlier than anyone else." PC Gamer accepts, but then the game is really only worthy of a 75%. What's stopping them from running it?

I don't know, the fact that Eidos will never give PC Gamer an exclusive again?
 
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21. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 18:31 ViRGE
 
Look at Hollywood - they embargo reviews all the time
That's a terrible example. The only time a movie is embargoed until after it comes out is when the studio refuses to pre-screen it for critics, because they know the critics are going to give it amazingly low scores.
 
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20. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 18:24 Prez
 
So, let's say Eidos says to PC Gamer, "we know you guys like having World Exclusive First review, so if you promise to only give it a 90% or higher, we'll let you have it a month earlier than anyone else." PC Gamer accepts, but then the game is really only worthy of a 75%. What's stopping them from running it?

Conversely, even if the game was worthy of a 90% in the PC Gamer reviewer's opinion, how can that score have any credibility in light of the agreement? It would of course look like the score was simply awarded as part of the agreement and not genuine.
 
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19. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 18:09 Beamer
 
It's what the magazine agrees to in order to get a review copy.


Again, for the record, this is standard. It happens with tons of games, tons of movies, books, tv shows, hardware, etc. It's common and not shady.

The clause isn't. That's just stupid.
 
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18. Re: Eidos & Arkham Asylum Reviews [Updated] Jul 10, 2009, 18:04 Prez
 
The line that bothers me is "they have allegedly agreed to allow magazines to print their reviews early...".

My question is how can Eidos allow or disallow what a magazine prints and when it prints it? If the review copy is given to an organization, what kind of contact can be drawn up that is binding to a publication in such a manner? If it's just a matter of poor wording on the part of Ram Raider, then that's different.
 
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